09 July 2008

Partnership in Mission

I had the opportunity to substitute for Pastor Peter’s class Partnership in Mission a few weeks ago… subbing is great… especially a last minute subbing opportunity… which I usually turn into class discussion to see what they are learning… it’s a nice way to check up on my teachers… although there isn’t need to check-up on my boss…

Partnership in Mission is an extremely practical class… Uganda is a popular destination for western aid since it is relatively peaceful with a few war zones to visit for thrill seekers… most people know English or enough to get by… and you can safari or go white water rafting after a week of work…

Pastor Peter designed this practical class to help the students understand the role of partnership with people of other countries and cultures… along with the basics of going to another country or culture and serving there as a missionary… its one of those classes where I leave the door to my office open so I can catch a few pointers on working with my Ugandan partners… it has helped more than once…

Back to class… we were discussing the 3 essentials of partnership… love, communication and a third point that for the life of me I can’t remember… when we got to communication I had the opportunity to share about New Mission Systems practice of OHV communication… Open, Honest, Vulnerable…

After much discussion and debate about the benefits of OHV communication… of which there was much debate… one of my students gave a great testimony…

Pastor Jeff, for a long time I loved to use the internet to build friendships and convince people to sponsor me… sending gifts and money… and it worked! They sent money, clothes and expensive gifts I didn’t need.

I would make them feel bad by talking about being a orphan, having malaria and lacking school fees… even though that is the testimony of the majority of Ugandans they were amazed by my stories (I think there is some country song about being cool on the internet)

Now I feel guilty… it was so easy for me to take advantage on the internet of other people’s generosity… but one thing I realize is that these “relationships” were not a benefit to me or to them… I don’t want that type of help anymore…


I may never stop every inappropriate gift from coming to Uganda… and I may never convince all Ugandans that OHV is the best way to communicate needs and wants… but I think a few students are getting it… and I can't wait to see them embrace true partnerships where they can give and receive...

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