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We are...(3)

We are Investors

investing in PEOPLE as whole beings

because nothing changes until people change

Investing in PEOPLE...

People are eternal beings. In the end, our impact in the lives of people is the legacy we leave behind on earth. whole beings....

The either-or relationship between "spiritual work" and "social work" does not exist for us. It's not that we can't tell the difference. It's not that we don't recognize a danger of focusing on one to the neglect of the other. We fight every day to maintain a healthy tension between the two; to keep our focus on the eternal, while at the same time not denying compassion and the realities of living in this world.

As we see it, both "spiritual work" and "social work"---ie, reaching out to the needs around us, whether they be physical, social, educational,etc--- go hand in hand and are a natural outflow of who we are as followers of Jesus.

Jesus talked to the woman at the well about water, and then offered "living water."

Jesus fed thousands, and then offered them the "bread of life."

Jesus healed the man born blind, and then offered him a relationship with the One who gives sight--both physical and spiritual.

Jesus did not deny people's physical hurts and needs. He felt compassion and reached out in love. And then He told them there were deeper needs---needs they maybe didn't even know they had. After building trust, he invited them into healing and wholeness for their soul---into a relationship with Himself.

We try to follow that example.

Because, investing in people cannot happen in a vacuum.

But, it can happen in a classroom. It can happen in personal relationships. It can happen while bandaging somebody's machete wound. It can happen while working together day after day. It happens when we do life together.

It can happen in any of these situations:

Josiane and Modelene brainstorm with Judy about ways they can reach out to women and girls in the community...

...and then put those plans into action with young women...

...and with little girls. (Do you remember "Where's Waldo?" Well, there is a Waldo in this picture. Can you find him? He is working on an exciting project. More about that in the future!)

Williamso does a short devotion with the young men and boys before the day's activities in his Saturday program.

Manis takes Williamso and Almaïs (the department directors) out to spend time with them and to discuss challenges they are facing.

Josiane shares what she has been taught in Excel with Mèt Ronyl.

Judy does training with the teachers in our school.

Thony and the teachers work through a Bible study.

Djeffson uses soccer to engage young men in the community.

The baptism class shares what they have been learning with our local group of believers.

Teacher Elicia helps a student read.

Crocheting and conversing.

Williamso takes some of his staff to a training on syntropic agriculture.

Dadithe laughs and sews with the ladies in her office.

Mme Celisa teaches new recipes.

This year, it has made our hearts sing to see Josiane, Modelene, Rosemitha, and Génièse reaching out with all their might to women and girls; to see Williamso and Djeffson stepping up to fill a heartbreaking gap in the lives of young men and boys. The chain of investment (see 2 Tim 2:2) is growing longer! These are young people who have been invested in over the years and who are now investing in others.

But again, this hasn't taken place in a vacuum. It has come to fruition as we demonstrate Christ's love (water projects, education, development projects, job creation, etc), share Christ's message in the process (while working together, in Sunday morning chapel, through personal relationships, at community meetings, etc), and then pour more deeply into those who are hungry and thirsty for something more.

It's exciting.

...because nothing changes until people change.

Nations and NGO's have been funneling millions of dollars of aid into Haiti for many years. Not much has changed for the better. Why?

Well, there may be more than one reason. I'm not attempting to propose a simplistic answer to a complex socio-political problem.

But, most of the reasons probably have something to do with people-. Until people change their hearts and their mentality; until they decide to make changes to the way things are; until they are given the hand up and the tools necessary to make those changes...well, things will probably stay the same.

This is true for individuals. It is true for families. It is true for communities. It is true for countries.

Investing in people is a process and a journey with many highs and lows. But, by the grace of God who gives the growth, it is definitely worth it. At the end of the day, it is the calling that keeps us going.

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