Monday, October 7, 2013

Africa is Blessed

The gang's not all here, but this is most of the group.
On Thursday, the first session of the Training of Trainers was completed.  It was a great class with many debates, discussions, a few good-natured arguments, a lot of laughter, and new friendships formed.  The class concluded with an exam and the turning in of a daily journal in which the students recorded their thoughts and what the Holy Spirit was saying to them during the class.

It's always a joy for me to read these journals and I would like to share excerpts from two of those journal entries with you (with permission from the authors). 

The first except was taken from the day when we focused on Reconciliation and the Marketplace.  One of the things that has gone so wrong with Africa is that the media continues to tell one story: a story of corruption, war, hunger, and poverty.  And Africa is so much more than one story.  What is disturbing is that it is not only those in the West who have chosen to believe the negative only about Africa, but Africans themselves often see their continent in such a dark way.  So as we work toward the ICM goals of "Africans solving African problems with God's solutions" this mindset needs to change.  We spend time looking at facts about Africa.  This is what Pastor Andrew wrote in response to that challenge.

Africa is Blessed – Pastor Andrew Madara Neondo

I’ve been thinking about the statistics we received touching Africa as a continent:  that Africa is the world’s richest continent in terms of natural resources; that Zambia, Zimbabwe and DRC [Democratic Republic of Congo] have enough agricultural potential to feed the whole continent; and that the richest black person in the world is a man from Nigeria (Aliko Dangote).  These statistics among many should help us as Africans to change our perspective about our continent.  These should help us realize that Africa is blessed! 

We will only come to the full realization of the riches and potential that God deposited in Africa by way of changing our worldview about Africa.  We cannot realize this potential if we continue to look to the West for aid and handouts.  We have to radically change our perspectives and begin seeing Africa the way God sees it.

This is one of the great tasks we have as men of God and Church leaders in Africa.  I pray that God will help me to help the believers in my church as well as the community members at large begin realizing that God can help us tap into the resources He deposited in Africa thus utilizing them for His glory to better Africa!

Recently new aquifers were discovered in the arid region of Turkana, in northern Kenya.  To read about that you can go here.  How cool is that - that the creation God made so long again, can now support 7 billion people and we continue to find new resources!  Talk about a model of sustainability!

The second excerpt was written by a business man who also serves as a youth leader at his church.  It was great to have a mix of business persons and pastors in this class, as they shed light on the realities on the ground from both contexts.  Here is what he had to say in his journal on the day when we discussed the broken relationships between Man and Man, and Man and Creation in the business world:

Marketplace Reconciliation - Graham Alivitsa

Most of us, I personally included, the better part of our life we have learned most of the time about reconciliation between man and man and reconciliation between man and his Creator (God).  I am prompted to say that business people ought to reconcile with themselves before they reconcile the market place.  We have done it so wrong in many instances - in many instances in our business.  We have created using the wrong scales; we have stolen in order to increase on our profits.  And in the process we have hurt and even killed our business competitors, our customers, our friends and relatives because of the ill motives we used in carrying out our business.  We need to ask for forgiveness and forgive those who led us and those we led into debts; forgive and be forgiven over bad business competition that break other peoples businesses so that we can an reconcile with each other and our businesses to be reclaimed by Christ and move ahead into reclaiming the marketplace for Christ Jesus.  Forgiveness and reconciliation are very much needed in our businesses and at the marketplace for Christ to reclaim with is rightfully His - the marketplace.  May God lead us into this. 

We found that football (read soccer if you are in North America) analogies worked well.  The analogy of playing football without any rules is how it is for the poor to work within the rule of law in some developing countries (i.e. it's all about networks and who you know instead of legal institutions functioning with their laws).  Another pastor wrote this analogy:
Like a football team which has eleven payers, the Church has been using only one player (the pulpit preacher), while the devil is using all of his eleven players to attack the church.  God has been reminding me that I have not been a good coach.  The business people have been spectators in the stadium, keeping the bench warm, instead of being out on the field.  Our God is a God who loves variety and needs people of all types, talents, and skills to do His work and His ministry.  We should train and allow business people to serve God and be affirmed in their ministry in the Marketplace.
 Can I get an "Amen"?
Harvesting of maize has begun, however more than usual rains for this year has hampered the drying process and has created some loss of crops due to rot.