Well this is my first blog post written on my iPhone. A historic moment. What I want to do in my blog is to try and help you to understand what it means to be in Africa and to innovate work within the Church. That is after all what I do.
Those that are called overseas are often classed as going on a bit of a jolly, a holiday if you like. Yes there are some nice places that you end up. Believe me I’ve been to many. However the truth couldn’t be further from the image.
In the last 9 days Jude and I have packed up and moved to Zambia for a while. Having a temporary existence means that we don’t have a place to live. For me that causes me quite a bit of stress. I guess I’m just wired that way. Jude isn’t so bothered. Shes much better at having no space to call her own Last wednesday ethan had what could be called some mild culture shock. It’s a hard thing to hold your sobbing child knowing that your decision has meant they are here. It’s hard when the questions they have you are wrestling with too. We do have friends here and hey have been tremendous but this isn’t going and getting a bit of sun on Africa.
What we are called to is hardcore pioneering. Making new things happen in a difficult terrain of culture, suspicion and church politics. Believe me this is not easy. The problem in Africa is that the strongholds of dependency and poverty can mean that a lot of people are out for something. It also means that you are trying to cause transformation in areas where people do not necessarily see themselves as being part of that change. There isn’t really any hope. THe only way to penetrate such an area is to take hold of maybe the one lead God gives you and to follow it. You don’t often know the answers. Everything is in a constant state of change. I like to think it is like juggling with invisible balls.
The church provides a way for most people to plant initiatives. However it quickly degenerates into a partisan sitiation. If you ally yourselves with a denomination you are cutting yourself off from everyone else. Even worse is that often powerful church people will use an outside agency as a source of income. Again, the results don’t happen whilst on paper things look good the reality is very different. I’ve seen this so many times I have lost count.
Personally these are still skills that I am learning. Maybe it’s like that scene in Star Wars where a young Luke Skywalker is tryin to a hit a drone whilst blindfolded. He needs to use instinct to be successful.
We have the Spirit and a lot of it is instinct. The english side of me brings some planning but the way forward is to juggle with invisible balls.
Keep Reading and I’ll keep you posted about what is going on.