Tweaking Our Approach: Update 4
Thankful for such a formative opportunity this fall.
Whether its the constant whining of 2-stroke motorcycles, the language, or the unrelenting supply of beans and rice; I have come to really appreciate what at first felt so uncomfortable. I think what often times we label as “cultural differences,” are more often just personal differences, the qualities that make us human and give us an opportunity to always learn something from somebody. I have been doing a lot of learning recently, more than I ever expected. Not just simple things either, like why people here leave rebar sticking out of the top of their houses, but challenging lessons that can sometimes be difficult to work through. Often times these are the experiences that have taught me the most about myself, my weaknesses, and in turn what I have to offer.
The reality is that there have been a fair share of challenges these last couple weeks. Some of the participants quit understanding the value of investment in this kind of education and chose to back out.
It has been very humbling for me also, as I have spent many hours hearing advice, reworking the strategy, and tweaking our approach so that ultimately we are contributing something helpful and desirable to this community.
Like with any new project of this sort, its about finding the right people. Things can get messy, languages can be confusing, and miscommunication is unfortunately a part of the game! However, the opportunities continue to rise and I am very excited for the next phase.
God has provided two awesome men of God, Moses and Bladamere, to aid in facilitating our carpentry, masonry, and design-focused training. I am excited to see new faces so enthusiastic about what is going on. I am continuing to seek out work opportunities for these young men from the hotels, businesses, and the public sector. Ideally what we will be practicing will soon see a return on investment for these guys, confirming their willingness to be a part of what God is doing.
I have been especially encouraged by one church pastored by a man named Yoni. Though it is only a couple of years old, the people there are passionate about seeing their community changed. As one of the poorest communities in the area; gangs, drugs, and prostitution are destroying the fabric of life for the rising generation. However, this bold group of believers is passionate about seeing their joy overflow to their neighbors.
I met a prostitute who just this month surrendered to the perfect love of God; since that time they have activated her in teaching English lessons at the church and she is supported enough to keep her safely off the streets at night. They also have a boys’ home there for investing in extremely marginalized young men who don’t have families able to support them. These young men are joining the project on top of various responsibilities in serving their church and community.
There are some great things happening and what an awesome opportunity I have to witness them unfold.