30 June 2009

Strengthening YWAM Communication

One of the ways the AfriCom team works to strengthen YWAM communication is through contributing content to websites and blogs that promote YWAM ministries in different parts of Africa and the world. This week, some of our writing has found its way onto the blog for the YWAM center in Arua, northern Uganda. In fact, this was part of the work produced while our School of Field Journalism students were in East Africa.

Take a look - let's be part of increased traffic to another great YWAM Africa site!

24 June 2009

Zambia, Zimbabwe & the UN Millennium Development Goals

I’ve just returned from a 7000km round trip to Lusaka, via Bulawayo and Livingstone. As always it was wonderful to travel in Zimbabwe and Zambia and to be with other YWAM missionaries. This was a mixed trip – teaching on two DTSs, spending time with other team members from the Africa Field Service Team, and travelling with Kobus van Niekerk, our YWAM Africa Director.

The Lusaka YWAM base is running a Community Development focused DTS, and I had the chance to team-teach on the fascinating subject of Worldview. A frequently used analogy compares society to a tree, where the roots determine the fruit. The tree’s hidden root system is the complex belief system and worldview that determines society’s values and behaviour. The tree’s fruit – the natural consequences of behaviour within society – are therefore a product of the ways that society views the world.

We’ve begun a working discussion within the FST about the UN Millennium Development Goals, and it was interesting to spend some time in Zambia considering these from the context of Worldview and belief systems. The MDGs address some of the bad fruits of society. The eight goals are worthy aspirations, aiming by 2015 to:
1) Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2) Achieve universal primary education
3) Promote gender equality and empower women
4) Reduce child mortality
5) Improve maternal health
6) Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
7) Ensure environmental sustainability
8) Develop a global partnership for development

These issues are a result of numerous conflicting causes, including Worldview. It is not enough to simply promote gender equality, the root belief systems that assume male superiority have to be challenged and replaced with a truly biblical perspective on gender. Only when the roots of the tree change will the fruit naturally improve.

I’ve returned from Zambia with a desire to champion YWAM ministries which tackle the needs raised by the MDGs – for example pre-school education and initiatives to provide clean water. But I also see the need to be part of the study and dialogue which questions ‘what are the belief systems in society that lead to these issues?’ The UN goals are excellent, and biblical, but if there is anything to learn from 50 years of international aid, it is that aid does not work. Throwing money at these 8 specific goals will not change Africa, changing the belief systems that cause the problems will.

Tim Heathcote

18 June 2009

Getting Shipshape

What's the first thing you have to do when your entire team has been 'on location' for 2 months? Clean, obviously!

Next you have to follow up all those outstanding emails, put all your notes into some sort of order, list all action points ... and get your head down!

And that's where we're up to right now in the AfriCom South Africa office. But at least we have clean windows ;-)

17 June 2009

Being Team in Uganda

As we sat in the room commonly called the “blue room” here on Hopeland, we laughed at how as a Com Team we don't have a single cent to our name, yet we have so much to do. We began to think of how we could be useful on the base and what we could do to help improve communication here without necessarily needing money for it. We agreed to go and clean up the office and the administrative block on Friday the 12th of June at 5pm.
After all, we thought, when guests come to YWAM Hopeland they make all their enquiries at the office and all sorts of meetings are held there; so the office must always look neat and welcoming, and at the same time represent YWAM properly.
So we began making plans and getting excited about doing that, at least we would be able to do something that didn't require money immediately. We could just clean the windows, sweep and mop the floors for now; then think about re-painting it later.
On June 12th, a text message was sent to all Com Team members here asking them to remember our work duty at the office that evening. Yes we would get things done and assist the base in that way!
I was typing away a formal report that had to be completed within a week, when I decided to take a break and check out my Facebook page :). I saw my friend, Jeanine's, status and it said something like “I am very happy because we members of the Com Team here on Hopeland are going to clean up the office now”. The status had been updated over 45mins ago, then it suddenly hit me “Sarah, you are supposed to be cleaning up the office now!!!” I flew off my bed and ran to the office, by then it was 6pm and they were already done sweeping and mopping! I felt so silly!
“Miss communicator” as they call me, who sends messages reminding others to be punctual and remember that we are working ‘as unto God’ had forgotten to show up for work duty! The others just laughed at me and took it all in good faith but I learnt one thing from that experience; you cannot do it alone, you always need others.
Even though I didn't show up, my team-mates were there and they faithfully did the work we were all supposed to do as a team. That's what it's all about isn't it? Working together as a team and not trying to do it all alone because one person cannot!
T-Together, E-Everyone, A-Achieves, M-More!

By Sarah Adeyinka, YWAM Hopeland, Jinja, Uganda.