Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gateway Week Three: World Perspective & Transformational Development

Here comes the sun (do-do-doo-doo), here comes the sun, I say...

Hooray! The snow has melted, the temperatures are slowly climbing (lows in the 20s and 30s at night, highs in the low 60s during the day), and we are enjoying this great season in Texas.

This week our teachings have all been about different world views and what perspective do you see the world through. Why, you might ask? Well, because how we see the world greatly affects the decisions we make and the way we live our lives. If I believe in karma and I'm living the consequences of a past life, I don't have much hope for the future - I'm trapped in this body until I get reincarnated as something better. If I believe that dust exploded and we are a product of chance, then I better solve my own problems, and this life is all I get, so make the most of it.

Or, if we believe that God created the world and we were created in His image, with a mind, body, emotions, will and spirit, then I can live my life to the fullest while also fulfilling my God given destiny and the purposes that He has while here and for all eternity.

We've also been discussing how our underlying assumptions form our value systems, and these become evident in the fruit in our life. For instance, the speaker, Camille Bishop, referenced an experience she had in Albania, where she attended a wedding. In Albania, the brides customarily look sad during their weddings. To an outsider, this appears strange. But, in that culture, there is an extremely high value on family. When an Albanian bride marries, she is essentially saying goodbye to her parents, so the underlying assumption is to show respect to them. Without understanding the root (the assumptions), it becomes easy to misjudge these actions.

So often we look at actions and judge them based on our own underlying assumptions, but if we follow the example that Jesus portrayed, we must look to the root of why people behave or live the way they do, without superimposing our own assumptions on them.

Today we celebrated with an African feast - our speaker, Edward Davies, is from Sierra Leone and helped give us a glimpse into the culture we will be working with over the next ten months. We had delicious chicken, rice, peas, plantains, and mango custard.

Edward told us a great example today- I'll let you formulate your own conclusions of what it pertains to: How the Monkey Saved the Fish. Lots to think about when we consider transformational development. Sometimes our intentions are really not in the best interest of anyone else. Compassion, involvement, and courage aren't enough if you make questionable assumptions. We need good understanding and good information as well as relationship in order to truly be able to know the needs and help those around us, wherever they may be.

What is culture? Edward says that culture is What You Do Without Thinking About It. I liked this definition. It makes me realize that everyone has a culture, even when you don't feel very "cultural."

So, it's been a full week with lots of deep thinking and discussion, and recognizing that without the Lord's guidance and his instruction, there is the potential to create systems of dependency and "help" becomes "hindrance."

Have time for one more link? Here's an amazing video we watched about Garbage City, Cairo, Egypt. This is an example of what transformational development really should (and can) look like. (it's in two parts - follow the link for the first part, second video is on that screen on the right). It's a bit lengthy, but worth the time if you have 15 minutes or so.

Okay, onto some lighter subjects! We celebrated Aussie Day this week -

here's one of our Aussie's (Deb) celebrating, and teaching us the Aussie Cheer!

The girls continue to do well with school and are functioning even with 6:45am wake up time (this is the first time we've ever had to get up this early!!).

Here's an early morning shot of Kylie:

And here's Savannah with her famous (infamous?) bedhead!

Thank goodness for detangler.

Thanks for your diligence in reading- we will update again next week- hopefully with some great pictures as Dan will be going through Basic Safety Training (Fire Fighting Instruction, CPR, First Aid, Personal Survival, Water Survival and Crowd Management). I will be helping out in the warehouse with sorting of medical supplies, and we'll be getting ready for our departure for Sierra Leone! It proves to be a full week!! TTFN (Ta Ta For Now...)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for letting us "go along" on your journey! Nicole says hi :) Can't wait to read the next road...