Monday, June 17, 2013

Day 6: What's true compassion?

Dr. JoAnn Butrin leads International Ministries. Her teams emphasize compassion ministry, helping people get clean water (wells and filters), eat healthy foods (agriculture), and dealing with illnesses (medical teams). She gives us a case study and divides us into three groups. We're to evaluate how helpful various AG organizations (showcased at booths in the foyer) could be for the case study.

I'm appointed team leader so I assign team members to find out what the various ministries offer. The rest of us roam around evaluating our options. Meanwhile, Al - a pragmatic thinker - talks to a missionary already headed to the case study area to find out their plans. I whistle to assemble our team and we gather to listen to whether or not a ministry would be a good resource.

The group reaches an easy consensus about who might be the most helpful partners. Al acts as our spokesman; he does a good job of presenting our case to the general session.

When we resume, Dr. B emphasizes the importance of building relationships and asking what locals want and need - within or beyond their existing structures. Missionaries are connected to many resources in AGWM. However, we must build a vision locally and work together with nationals.

"Don't impose something from the outside that is not helpful or sustainable," she warns. "It's hard not to show up to FIX things. Most interventions are very temporary solutions."

"Times have changed," Dr. B continues, "and we can't come in to provide easy answers. We have to be careful with interventions. Restraint is vital. The local church has to be proud of saving the children, be in control of the well, solve their problems ... and get the credit. The church's presence must be given respect and influence in the community."

How? Butrin says that we show dignity and restraint. We do an assessment. Then we listen. Evaluate. We never create dependency, but plan for sustainability. "If you are partners with the local church, American giving can help. But we plan for one-time and limited financing. We engage with an exit strategy in place, so that locals own their ministry and helps."

During the lunch break, W and I zip to the seminary. It's about 10 minutes away and I want to say hello to my former professors. We catch up with a few and I slip my card under the doors of those who are away. Then we head back to the CBC campus for lunch.

After noon, we talk about spiritual warfare. "It's as real as this table," says one speaker. "You must be prepared and prayed up at all times. This is no game. This is war. We are not fighting people but spiritual battles."

The missionaries give us examples that raise the hair on my neck. "This is no picnic! Get prayer teams. You will need many intercessors, not just casual prayer partners."

Fabriano dot pages
My notebook has been filling up. I love the lime green cover on my A4 Fabriano dot-book. I can draw or write and the paper quality is good enough to fill both sides. W laughs when I pull out gel pens to color the diagrams and notes I'm making. But the little bursts of color highlighting the pages help me remember the info. This wee bit of art, especially in my sixth week of sitting in classes, cheers me up.

We're at Jason and Mary's place for supper. They're NU alums involved in Convoy of Hope. We're so proud of them! It's fun to catch up on their news and ours.

We get home to Taylors' place and tidy up, pack, and do laundry. I call my sweet Uncle E to wish him a late Father's Day. He's been a faithful "second dad" all my life. I'm blessed to have someone besides my folks who has loved me since I was a little girl.

Tomorrow we'll be on a flight home. We'll get in before midnight and leave the next day for Singapore. This is some summer! Used to be summer meant vacation. Now it's an adventure.

Read more:
*But as for me, God will redeem my life. He will snatch me from the power of the grave." Psalm 49:15 NLT

*The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. Habakkuk 3:19 NLT

*Amos said, “I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees, and the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’" Amos 7:14-15 NLT

*Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” Luke 5:10 NLT

Moravian Prayer: Dearest Lord Jesus, there’s a lot of risk involved in leaving our boats by the lakeshore. Help us to know your strength as we share your love with others. Amen.

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