This illustration is told to emphasize what often happens to humans when small events, thoughts, beliefs from the past hold us in the same place when they certainly do not need to! “Be transformed by the renewing of your minds” says Paul in the book of Romans. Change the way you believe and think and you change the outcome of life!
As we met with our 35 leaders/monitors who have been selected from the same number of communities to come and receive intensive training so they can return and train the leaders (now over 600) who selected them, we spent time talking about the challenge of our thinking and how if change is to happen in our homes, churches and communities, it has gotta happen inside us first!
As this week progressed I had a great stimulus to contemplate how awesome my wife is! She introduced a new manual to the leaders this week entitled “Building Healthy Communities” which she has worked on for a number of years now and which has finally gone to print and been included in our training program. Keren, an LPN who has spent ten months with us jumped into the project with Lynn and was a big part of writing some of it, illustrating it and getting it done. Together they introduced the manual and a practical guide which WILL help to build healthier communities. When one studies the dramatic difference in health and life expectancy from the first world to ours, you only get a glimpse into how important this teaching is for families here.
As we talked about the critical importance of transforming our thinking to effect lasting change, I challenged the leaders with something Tommy Newberry writes to husbands… Your wife has 10 awesome qualities and 10 not so awesome qualities…just like you! Your happiness in life and the success of your marriage is going to depend on which 10 qualities you spend time thinking about!
I internalized this thought this past week and realized that I imagine my wife may have a bigger challenge with this than I do. Finding at least 10 awesome qualities in my wife is pretty easy, but letting her know that I see them is the bigger challenge for me. I am very proud of Lynn and her achievement in getting this book done, but also because she has consistently been willing to do the hard things in life even though they stretch her hugely!
The problem is that elephant though! Someone forgot to tell me to chain your projects to a stake in the ground when they are small. Because the fact of life is things grow and that growth poses huge challenges. We have had 7 requests brought in this week to start new extension schools which would almost add an additional 200 leaders to our program within this next six months! The little elephant has grown into a really BIG one and it just simply has not been trained to stay in one place. It wants to wander about! And that wide-eyed little human hanging onto the tail and being flung around… well that’s me trying to keep focused on the 10 awesome qualities of this awesome program and the awesome people that are bringing change in many lives.
Pastor Ricardo and I with the orphan kids in Nyangoma
P.S. One of the 10 awesome qualities is that there are actually quite a few of us hanging onto that tail…although I do think we all feel the wide-eyed fear/thrill/exhaustion of the ride some days.