CUDA: Sowing seeds and kneading dough

The Christian Urban Development Association works for justice, joy, and wellbeing in the city of Arequipa. Urban poverty is a different type of poverty. We want to break the cycles of poverty that don’t allow kids to have a chance. We’re training teachers to improve reading comprehension strategies so that the kids they teach will know how to read, and who knows, maybe they’ll grow up to be teachers that already know how to read and can teach reading—and many will experience wellbeing because of it.

Our work doesn’t show immediate results. Development, generally, is slow. But we think about our work in terms of planting seeds. Of the many times Jesus refers to the reign of God, there are two that stick out to me:

One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the Kingdom of God come?” Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs. You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you.
— Luke 17:20-21


Jesus also used this illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”
— Matthew 13:33

We believe the reign of God—which produces justice, joy, and wellbeing wherever it is experienced—we believe it’s already here and working like a leaven. We can’t wait to see and taste the delicious loaf of bread. We’re sowing kingdom seeds, and pray that in one or two teachers, one or two kids, a principal, a mom or a dad, that the kingdom seed will take root and grow and bear fruit and be shared with many more. All it takes is for one or two to catch the vision.

We’re honoring ten years of sowing seeds and are praying for (at least) another ten years—there’s a lot of work left to be done. It’s impossible to measure total impact, but I’ve done my best to work with Lucia and figure out how many people have been impacted by Living Libraries since it took its current shape in 2013:

90 - Teachers trained
11 - Principals trained
2,633 - Elementary school kids directly or indirectly impacted by a Living Library’s presence in their school.

In a city of 1 million people, 2,633 is a small number. But it’s a start. We’re sowing seeds. And like leaven, in their schools, homes, neighborhoods, and community the kingdom is working into every nook and cranny.

Thank you for being a part of that. Praise be to God.