It's been faced paced here on the ground. Working on new projects and continuing the development of projects already established. We have recently read a book called When Helping Hurts. it gives such a valuable perspective on the work mission team's engage in.
The key message is one of Relief, Rehabilitation/Restoration and Development. Although there may well be a need for relief, staying focused only on that leads to a bottomless pit. Relief in and of itself has a tendency to create dependency. Something we commonly refer to as a "cash cow" mentality. The strengthening of individuals and groups through training, coaching, mentoring and teaching is the essential piece in the process of Restoration and Development. Bringing hope in tangible ways that allow participants to develop skills and abilities as well as self esteem. We call it sustainable growth.
We have had many such examples. Teaching the men at Iskra English. Having them plant their own large garden. Note that the relief piece was simply the purchase of seeds and plants. How excited they are to particpate in a new venture that promotes sustainability.
From a western point of view, we might slide into the thinking that throwing money at a problem and leaving what we think is a workable plan, is the answer. The reality is that seldom, if ever, that works. Yes, it takes some money, but moreso it takes on the ground, day to day, shoulder to shoulder, teaching and loving to bring a change. It takes time and commitment. One shot wonders simply create dependency.
We have been privileged to have many on our on the ground LAMb team. That way, when short term missions teams come, they fit right into the umbrella of ongoing projects. Their contributions are extremely valuable in strengthening the ongoing programs and projects.
At first we were asked, will you be back? We came back. Then they asked, when will you be back? No longer will, but when. Children and adults alike know we will be back. But who is "we". The answer to that is "we" are "you". All of you who have come, who have prayed, who have supported with resources, Our presence here continues even when we are physically absent.
That is only made possible by those who have caught the vision. Those who can see hope in the future. Those who know "we" are making a difference.
The weather the last week has been what we look forward to in Canada for mid July. Sunny and very warm. What a treat for mid April.
I have attached a few pictures. One of the men's English class and another of a mountain stream. The landscape with all the snow covered mountains is simply a fabulous work of art. Another class for young people is held at the gym every Sunday afternoon. No, I don't teach it. You can see from the one photo some skilled breakdancing.
If you are being nudged, now is the time to put it into action. Your support is essential.