Monday, August 5, 2013

Africa Rising: Getting Beyond the Single Story

Dr. Walker presenting.
Last night, Dr. Phillip Walker, Rev. Stephen Mairori, and I had the opportunity to share about the work of ICM in Kenya.  Dr. Walker began his presentation with asking the question, "What word comes to mind when you think about politicians?"  After a few...ummm...interesting responses, he followed with this question, "What word comes to mind when you think of Africa?"  For many it was, animals, poverty, war, corruption, and sickness.  Dr. Walker's message to us last night is that for so long, Africa has had a single story, as told to us by the media: a story of darkness and sadness; a story that evokes pity.

But a new day is coming and in many ways has already come in Africa.  It is a story of Africa Rising!  Africa is not a single story continent.  As Dr. Walker shares it, he said, "Africans are writing their own story now.  It is a story of people, not projects.  A story of potential, not poverty."  He adds, "The story that Africa has poverty is not wrong, but it is an incomplete story."  He went on to say that the mistake that we have made is in having the focus being poverty alleviation versus wealth creation; once you alleviate poverty, then what?  What fills the vacuum?  The mistake we have made is in fixing problems, rather than empowering people. 

ICM's tag line is "African people solving African problems with God's solutions."  That is the focus of ICM and that is why it is run by nationals in all the countries where they work. ICM is about leadership transformation and they do not measure success by the number of graduates from their seminaries, but rather from the Churches and communities who are transformed by the pastors as they continue in their work.  That is why ICM is passionate about the work that I am doing with Marketplace Ministry.  Education doesn't stop with their pastors once they have their BA in Theology, but rather they continue to pour into their pastors so that transformation can happen in their churches, in their communities, in the Marketplace, and in the nations.  It is an exciting time to be part of the work in Africa and it is a blessing to be part of the ICM team who is intent on telling the new story of Africa.

The Body of Christ, listening intently.
Thanks to all of you who came out last night and continue to support this work with your prayers, words of encouragement, and financial support! 

At the event last night I gave an update on the fundraising challenge that I have found myself in:  out of the twenty donors that I needed to commit to $100/month, I have already received 12 commitments.  By the end of the evening, two more donors stepped up!  Praise God for that!  I still need six more persons before I am able to book my tickets back to Kenya and I am still hoping to go back in early September.  Please continue to pray if God is calling you to support this work. 

Here is a brief video that I put together of the work that I am doing in Kenya.  If you weren't able to attend last night, I hope you get a sense of the work here!