“What if we all got along & people loved each other & sang songs about peace? he said. Would that be a good world? & I said I didn’t know about that, but it would be a good summer camp & he looked at me & shook his head & said, It’s no wonder you’re leaving us with such a mess.”
Week 3: Project Planning
My cousins and I formed a club over a decade ago; we call ourselves the GEMS, which is an acronym for Girls Experiencing Magnificent Stuff! We were rather eloquent.) = ) The concept of club-forming is nothing new, but we really didn’t have the slightest clue of how to begin such a task, which, as I learned this week, isn’t a good way to start a project. We were quite ambitious and therefore our club did have goals: to be great friends and to help our community! We continue to succeed at being marvelous friends, but because of a lack of good planning we only ever did one thing together to help our community, which we were very proud of! After spending many weeks preparing for and having a fundraiser rummage sale, we were able to raise seventy dollars! The money was placed inside our top secret funds guarder (an emerald green, faux-leather, vintage purse) and entrusted to our math-whiz treasurer, Kali. That purse stayed in her closet for years (earning interest, of course) before we were finally able to agree upon a worthy cause: the Beltrami County Humane Society, our local no kill animal shelter! Anyway, all of this to say: planning is essential!
It’s an obvious concept, really, but the very brilliant Dave Swann is the first to convince me of it. I think sometimes as Christians it’s implied that the “holiest” thing to do is let God guide you step-by-step, but actually… the good LORD has given us a vast wealth of ability and resources to create things efficiently and effectively, which includes creating a plan! We spent the last half of our week planning a hypothetical project, which has enabled me to feel not only capable, but also ABLE! We brought to mind an actual neighborhood in Tijuana that the base visits and developed a project to address an issue in that neighborhood. The four other ladies on my team and I decided to create a drop-in center ministry for children and their mums, to help them learn new skills in a safe, relational environment. We used principles Dave had taught us to develop our ministry plan, so we researched, prayed, established goals & objectives, decided upon activities, and talked about how we would monitor our progress in order that we would know if we were succeeding or not. Because really, how will you know if you’re making any progress if you hadn’t decided how to monitor it? Planning=brilliant!
I thoroughly enjoyed the project planning process because I realized how possible it would be for me to actually do such a thing in real life. Yes it was challenging, and I still have much to learn, but I would feel comfortable sitting down with a vision, drawing out a plan of how to get from A to B, and trying to accomplish it. The most important truth that Dave Spoke to us, however, came on day number one. “It’s all about other people, empowering other people to become successful.” The theme thus far in this school has been that the simplest of concepts are the most profound truths we’ve uncovered. This concept is actually one that my heart has been pondering for most of the past year, when I realized that this desire of mine to “help people” was maybe not as beneficial to others as I thought. I started this pondering process when my best friend Claire shared a quote with me that has now been in my mind for months:
“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time; but if you are here because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”
Sometimes it’s easy to forget how connected all of humanity is, and it’s easy to forget that the poorest, dirtiest, least-educated person in the world has just as much potential as the wealthiest, cleanest, and smartest. It’s easy to forget that we need to come alongside others in their efforts to give themselves a better life, that our role is to empower them to help themselves, and not just “help them.” Janna talked about this during our first week of classes as well, and I felt the same familiar shiver of conviction that I felt when Dave spoke this truth to us again. Convictions aren’t always pleasant to face, but this is why I’m here, to fill myself with truth, and get rid of all the rest.
Dave truly talked about so much that was good, another favorite truth that is transcribed into my notes is,
“The fact that men & women are both created in God’s image could totally revolutionize the world, if we all really believed it.”
I have been learning about a whole lot of injustices against women lately, and it’s beginning to absolutely break my heart. Worldview is another topic we covered this week, which is so vitally important because a person’s view of how they perceive God and themselves and each other affects every part of their life. We need to teach people WHO God is, because when people have an understanding of WHY Christ taught us to live how He did, they will be truly changed. If the whole world were to understand the worth and the value and the dignity that God has given to them and to everyone else, we would be radically transformed.
“We’re never the same, we’re never the same after we encounter the Love of God! We’re never the same.” Kim Walker