My name is Judith Isabel Dlamini. I was born in Luveve Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. During my father’s days Luveve was one of the locations where black people lived. It was one of the poorest areas.
When I was young, my father became ill. As a result he could no longer work. Therefore, he moved to Lupane where he started farming. During the civil war, dad being a South African Zimbabwean, was tortured, arrested and poisoned. Through all the struggles, he still had time for other people. He was kind and accommodating. Even though our family was poor, almost always, we used to have strangers at our house. We fed the hungry and sheltered them. When the food was not enough to go round, my father gave his own plate. He believed that strangers were God-sent people and that it was our responsibility to take care of them. This is how my siblings and l learnt to love others and also to show kindness to those who are less fortunate. I believe it is what my father taught me that made me help others then and l am still doing it now.
You are hired!
While I was working in Africa, my manager’s sister came to visit her from Cyprus. During her stay, my manager asked me to spend the time with her sister to familiarise her with the place since I am good at communicating and interacting with others. Without hesitation I agreed. To me it was an opportunity to show kindness, just like how my father had taught me. My manager’s sister was amazed by my kindness and offered me a job to work with her in Cyprus. Not only did she offer me the job, she helped me to get a visa and booked my flights to move with her.
I moved to Cyprus in 1991 and after working there for 10 years I moved to Bradford to study at the Leadership Academy of the Abundant Life church. While I was studying, I met many people who were in need. This inspired me to start an outreach ministry known as “International connection” where we invited students, refugees, and people in need in the City of Bradford. The aim of this group is to provide a welcome to people of all nationalities who come to Bradford and Leeds. The Universities of Leeds, Bradford and Leadership Academy each year have students of different nationalities and we have helped them to feel at home in Bradford.
We help plan weddings
Another group of people we have helped out are refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable people in Bradford. We also help older people in the community. Additionally, we help plan weddings for those who have limited funds and resources. When it comes to helping people who are getting married, we find the wedding dresses, decorate the venue and do the cooking for the wedding party. We have a company which supplies us with wedding dresses, as most of these people are not with their families and it is costly for them to bring their families here. We help them to work within a budget when planning their wedding.
Seek the peace and prosperity of the city
The church I attend has a number of conferences throughout the year with many delegates from other nations. We have helped accommodate some of these international delegates. In addition to this, we arrange parties for Christmas and Easter for those who are far from their homes and families so that they feel part of the celebrations. We also look after academy students at church throughout their studies in the UK. Bradford might not be the best place in the UK but we try to make it as comfortable as possible for students during their stay.
Most of the families we help are in need of something. There are single mothers and fathers who escape domestic violence and abuse and they are not given enough finance by the government. We try to help them financially through the funds we receive. The government only provides them with a house but no furniture. We have been able to provide them with basic furniture, clothes, food, white goods and also helped with decorating of the homes. There are also divorced people who have lost jobs and resulting in them being single mothers and fathers.
It is written in Jeremiah 29:5-7 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
We need to seek and pray for the prosperity of the city where we live. For example, some of the people that I have helped during their struggles have now moved around the world. I now get the privilege of travelling around the country to visit those I have helped. They offer to pay for my transportation and accommodation.
Start in Jerusalem
Galatians 6:7 says “A man reaps what he sows”. Instead of focusing on where we come from only, we need to start looking at the present situation and help the people around us. When we look back and focus on the things that happened to us in the past, we lose appreciation for everything in the present. I have also come across many international families who work very hard but they do not live comfortable lives where they are. Instead they focus on building mansions with big swimming pools overseas. When are they going to enjoy the fruit of their labour? The issue with this is, they don’t spend quality time with their kids as they are always working. Jesus said that we have to start in Jerusalem and that is our home, our present place. If we sow kindness to one another especially during difficult times the world will definitely be a better place