Cath Taylor, UnitingWorld, shares how gifts from the UnitingWorld Everything in Common catalogue are changing lives.
There are no pigs pictured at the birth of Jesus. Donkeys, yes. Maybe a lamb. Pigs – no. Considered unclean by Jewish people, they’re unlikely to have been among the much romanticised gathering. One fabulous hog, however, has taken centre stage at the birth of a child just to our north, in Bali, Indonesia. The pig is a bit of a symbol for the life changing impact of Jesus’ birth – for everyone.
The hog belongs to Komang Ariadi, a young man from remote north Bali. At 25, Komang worked as a labourer, and was already married with two children. Without land of his own or official training, he picked up jobs wherever he could – on building sites, in a clove plantation. They’re among the hundreds of thousands of people who live in poverty amidst the idyll of tourist life in Bali.
In mid-2015, Komang was spending each day looking for work – life was in a predictable rhythm marked by anxiety and the endless quest to make ends meet. To his surprise, he heard that a new group – Christians – had visited his village and were interested in starting a project to support people through innovative training in livestock breeding and small business skills.
Christians are very much a minority group in Bali, representing less than 2% of the population, and our partner MBM (Maha Bhoga Marga), the development agency of the Protestant Church of Bali, are always greeted with cautious curiosity whenever they make a new contact. Their mandate, though, is clear. Christ is alive in the world, bringing new possibilities for all. And when Komang plucked up the courage to meet with them, the next few months became an absolute revelation.
He learnt about small business and livestock breeding and after completing training, secured the capital to buy two pigs. Feeding and caring for them, he looked forward to the day when they’d give birth and he’d have pigs of his own to rear or sell. The pigs brought a new found security to his family. But that wasn’t all. Komang attended further training about water, sanitation and the rights and obligations of Balinese citizens.
He added a toilet to his house, taught his family about hygiene and – critically – was able to secure the legal rights to his home.
“It was the best thing I could have learned,” Komang said. “Having a safe place to live changes everything.”
The transformation of Komang’s family began with a pig – a pig supplied through the generosity of givers to UnitingWorld’s Everything in Common’s Gift Catalogue at Christmas.
Humble pig. Life changing impact.
That’s worth celebrating!
Buy your life changing gift from UnitingWorld’s Everything in Common Gift Store at everythingincommon.com.au