Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

2008 Courageous Leadership Award

A few hours ago I received a phone call from Chicago. Our church had been chosen, together with two others (whose names I do not know) as the finalists for the 2008 Courageous Leadership Award presented by Willow Creek Association together with World Vision. Last year, the first time that this award was presented to churches impacting communities suffering from HIV and AIDS, we received an honorary award for the work the people in Swaziland are doing. You can read more about it here. I was invited to send in a report on our work this year and today received the news that we had been chosen as one of three finalists and that I will have to be in Chicago on 6 August in order to receive the presentation.

This award is important for us for three reasons: 

  1. There is quite a substantial amount linked to the award which will do much to help us in the work we do in Swaziland, mostly in buying food and medicine but also in erecting permanent structures from where we can feed orphans daily
  2. The recognition which comes with a prestigious award like this is important, even more so because we are a fairly small church. This recognition has nothing to do with pride, but rather with the fact that we had proved that money and power is not a prerequisite before something can be done to bring change within a community
  3. The plight of Swaziland needs to be made known all over the world. I know that there are voices going up to tell us that the world should stop spending money in combatting AIDS. I maintain that the church needs to do more – much more – to fight this disease and to help those affected by and infected with the disease.
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Friday, June 20, 2008 - Posted by | Bill Hybels, Church, HIV & AIDS, Home-based Caring, Mission, Partnership, Social issues, Support teams, Swaziland, Theology | , , ,

5 Comments »

  1. […] in Chicago for the awards presentation. If you’re interested, read Arnau’s thoughts at: https://missionissues.wordpress.com/2008/06/20/2008-courageous-leadership-award/ 10. One Last Thank You For those of you who have routinely read this far in my emails, I want to […]

    Pingback by 22 June 2008 « The Swaziland Experience | Monday, June 23, 2008 | Reply

  2. Wonderful news, Arnau. Not only because of the reasons you give, although these are very important.

    I sometimes think Christian organisations and churches are too good at “the left hand not knowing what the right is doing”. This means that:
    – The faith based sector is not always the sector that is funded, as the impact of the sector is not known;
    – International organisations and key role players still view the role of the church as negative – adding to stigma – rather than noticing all the wonderful work;
    – Churches or faith entities not yet involved in HIV ministry do not have examples of projects making a difference – and might feel that their efforts are too insignificant to make a difference.

    Ultimately, of course, it means that God is often not “seen” in the pandemic, or only seen in the local or “grassroots” context. If we understand our task in this life as being co-workers in the creation of the Kingdom here on earth, in the midst of the brokeness, surely we should also be more vocal about the wonders God does in the midst of the epidemic.

    I think the example of your work is just that – an example of how God creates miracles of care and compassion in the midst of poverty and disease. Telling these stories motivates others, and exalts the Name of God,

    Congratulations on being a finalist – may our Lord continue to bless the work in Swaziland!

    Comment by Lyn van Rooyen | Monday, June 23, 2008 | Reply

  3. Thanks Lyn. I think you do touch on a number of very relevant issues. The exposure which we will hopefully get through this award, meeting with people on an international level, etc will be important for us. It is a pity that the work of the church or other Christian organisations are frequently regarded as “not so important”.

    Comment by Arnau van Wyngaard | Monday, June 23, 2008 | Reply

  4. […] bookmarks tagged courageous 2008 Courageous Leadership Award saved by 4 others     Light090682 bookmarked on 07/02/08 | […]

    Pingback by Pages tagged "courageous" | Wednesday, July 2, 2008 | Reply

  5. […] of our church’s AIDS ministry in Swaziland on Thursday evening, the occasion which I wrote about here. I had a professor from a college in New York with me at the church today where some of our […]

    Pingback by Listening to the stories of AIDS workers « Mission Issues | Friday, August 1, 2008 | Reply


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