Once more about planning, trusting and commitment
I have a group of people from a church in South Africa helping us at Dwaleni. The group consists mostly of highschool children (two boys and two girls with three more boys joining today) and then my youngest son and my daughter also joined them on this outreach. They are accompanied by their youth pastor (female), her parents who are helping with the cooking as well as coordinating the work that needs to be done and the chairperson of their church’s missions committee and his wife. One of the things happening this week which I’m really glad about, is that our church is being plastered. The building is over a hundred years old (it used to be a store) and does not give a good impression, as you can see on this photo:.
But all of this is just the background for some conversations I had yesterday. With the exception of one of the children, none of them had previously had any contact with anyone who is HIV-positive. Yesterday I arranged that some of our home-based caregivers take these children with them to visit people at their homes. For all of them this was an eye-opener. Even my own son, who hears about this work every single day in our house and who sees photos and videos of our work, was amazed when he saw what the home-based caregivers are doing, mentioning afterwards to the youth pastor that even he had never realised the extent of the work that the home-based caregivers are doing.
Over lunch the chairperson of the mission’s committee made the remark that he would really like to see something similar start in their own church in South Africa but that it would not happen this year. I then asked him what would prevent them from starting with such a project this year and received the answer I expected: It had not been planned and budgeted for! I’m all for planning. I’m all for calculating the costs. But I’m not convinced that God only works from financial year to financial year. And even if there is nothing on the budget for such a project in the current financial year, what would prevent us from at least getting people together and starting discussions on the issue? This can be done at no cost.
Which probably all comes back to the issue of commitment which I mentioned a few days ago: “Not planned for” and “Not on this year’s budget” are legitimate excuses for not getting involved and not committing to projects. But I think this is an easy way out. What about: “Not planned for and not budgeted for, but let’s pray about this and if this is what God wants us to do, then let’s do it!”
Saturday, March 29, 2008 - Posted by Arnau van Wyngaard | Culture Shock, HIV & AIDS, Home-based Caring, Mission, Partnership, Prayer, Short-term outreaches, Social issues, Support teams, Sustainability, Swaziland, Theology
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This is a blog where I would like to share some of my ideas about contemporary mission. I have more than 25 years experience as a full-time missionary in Swaziland, have done a PhD on the theology of mission – specifically on the relationship between mission and eschatology – and am presently specialising in the problem of HIV/AIDS and how the church should approach this problem. You are welcome to respond and share your ideas on this blog.
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