Thursday, March 26, 2015

Taking shape

I remember learning about amoeba's in school.  An amoeba is "indefinite in shape and perpetually moving."  They're intriguing to watch as their shape keeps changing and their pseudo arms/legs form and disappear.  Amoeba's are fascinating as a science lesson, not so much when they're multiplying like crazy in your GI tract causing severe cramping and, shall we say, other symptoms!  I've had too much experience with that but hope to mimic the amoeba's flexibility in my role as WGM's Compassionate Ministries Coordinator.  

In my last blog post I told you that I'd answer some of the most asked questions I've been getting but on sitting down to write I realize I have too much to share so I'm going to limit what I'm writing about today to part of the Q: What will you actually be doing?  I've been pondering what to write to you about my new role at WGM for some time.  And I've pondered some more, which is why there has been a bit of a lag in communication.  Although I've been keeping busy I'm still pondering what this role will look like . . . because I think it's going to look like an amoeba.  

The 'arms and legs' of ministry may change but I've come up with a list of 7 activities that I've been involved in or that I hope to get involved with.

Networking:  When it comes to Compassionate Ministry or Transformational Development WGM has aligned itself with other organizations who believe what we believe and who are doing what we are doing.  Getting to know the people in these organizations better is one aspect of networking.  In early March I attended the Disciple Nations Alliance Global Forum in London.   I was one of about 100 people who came together from around the globe to be inspired by testimonies of what God is doing through the DNA.  

Can you see me?  Pink jacket - center/right

The DNA's mission is: To help the Church rise to her full potential as God's principal agent in restoring, healing and blessing broken nations. It is such an encouragement to be a part of this movement.  In future blogs I'll share more of the DNA teaching and what God is doing in some of our  WGM ministries as they embrace this truth.  

This saying was repeated multiple times during the Conference.  "The DNA teaching is like a virus and it's looking for a host!" Let's pray for more hosts who are willing to receive Biblical truth and then watch it multiply.  

I was joined at the conference by Pr. Walter Ruto and Sophie Nykobi from the Kenya Africa Gospel Church.  Walter heads Compassionate Ministries in the Church.   It was good to spend time with fellow WGM missionaries, David and Debbie Hawk, field leaders in Honduras and one of the Honduran Pastors they miniser with, Pr. Luis Garcia.  David has embraced the DNA training and is anxious to see the teaching spread throughout Latin America.  I'm eager to learn from him and his experiences. 

In 1948 Richard Weaver wrote a book called, "Ideas have Consequences." I'm reminded of some Africans I've talked with who believe that malaria is caused by eating too much sugar cane.  The consequence of that idea is fever, really bad sickness and possibly death from malaria.  Mosquito's are feasting on the blood of families who have the wrong idea of what causes malaria.  Instead of protecting themselves from mosquito bites they're taking the path of moderation when it comes to eating sugar cane.  Ideas have consequences!

So in order to help people realize their full God-given potential we believe that helping people see truth instead of lies is foundational.  Training is foundational to transforming individuals, families, communities, Churches and nations. 

Using the model of multiplication I want to continue identifying people with a passion about transforming individuals, families, communities, Churches and nations and help them become trainers who will train others who will train others.  Kind of like the pebble in the pond idea.  This isn't to say that WGM isn't already doing this.  They are!  But there's always room for growth.  

Here's an example of training-of-trainers in action from my ministry experiences in South Sudan. WGM missionaries John and Beth Muehleisen and Billy and Joanna Coppedge, who were all based in Uganda have come alongside Adhanom, our missionary in South Sudan.  They have trained in South Sudan and while training they have mentored Adhanom.  Now Adhanom is holding trainings himself.  And not just that, he's training trainers who are helping him train!

John and Beth are the Africa Regional Transformation Training Coordinators.  I'll be visiting with them next week and am anxious to hear about how they are using CHE in Uganda and what they are learning along the way so that we can share best practices with others.  

Adhanom, kneeling on far right with sunglasses, with the latest class of Community Health Evangelism graduates in Lakes State.

Here is Joseph, 3rd generation WGM South Sudan trainer, teaching a lesson.  Joseph has been mentored closely by Adhanom.  

Sharing Resources: 
If you've known me long at all you will know that I love books.  Kindles and electronic readers are great but I still feel better if I have a few old-fashioned paper books by my bedside.  I love sharing the title of a good read as well as actually handing out a book that has changed my life.  So I feel that part of my new role is to officially share great resources.  

Resources come in all shapes and sizes.  Of course books come to mind first when talking about resources and here are a few of my fav's when it comes to Transformational Development.  

There are also dvd's, websites, and even trainings.  Here's a free online course that will change your world.  Or at least this teaching changed mine! Coram Deo is the material developed by the Disciple Nations Alliance that I talked about under Networking.   This course has been designed for a Western digital audience.  Take a peek here:

Better yet - do the course!  Let me know if you'd like to start a group or individual study.  Two hours a week - 12 weeks.  You can even get a certificate of completion.

In February I attended Orientation Camp at WGM HQ for the newbie missionaries soon headed to their countries of ministry.  I was able to share with them lots of resources including my favorite books, and talk about tools such as Biblical Orality and Community Health Evangelism.

The new WGM missionaries are the 7 younger adults in this picture, 
not to be confused with the 6 kids in front or the 12 WGM leaders fighting for the back row

I know this has gotten long so I'll pause here . . . . to be continued in a week or two.  Some days my activities shape up clearly and quickly.  Other days I feel like an formless amoeba and can't quite find my shape.  Regardless of how I feel on any given day as I send out my pseudopodia and embrace new opportunities I am confident that God has great things in store for WGM as we commit ourselves to wholistic transformation.

If you're interested in learning more about WGM and missions join me and others at WGM's International Celebration of Missions from the evening of June 25th through noon on the 28th at Huntington University, Indiana.  I'll be sharing on Friday morning, June 26th.

If you're interested in Compassionate Ministries / Transformational Development on Thursday, June 25th we will be having a Pre-Conference Compassionate Ministries Workshop.  Come hear WGM missionaries talk about how the tools of DNA and CHE are transforming communities.  Catch a glimpse of how Biblical Storytelling can be used in all types of situations.  Learn a practical skill to help others make their own body lotion and deodorant! And hear the Father of CHE - Stan Rowland talk about Neighborhood Transformation - reaching out to people in the cities.  There will be time for lots of networking over tea time and lunch. Register to attend today at the links above and join me for a great time of learning, fellowship and networking.  I'd love to see you there!

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