Monday, October 19, 2009

rubber hits the road

Reality set in a lot this week for Rebecca and I. Training was a whirlwind and moving here and getting settled was overwhelming and busy. Then last week we sort of paused and realized how difficult this job is, and how much we have to accomplish in a short period of time. This is not to say that i am not still very excited; I am just realizing the hundreds of steps involved on a daily basis towards making this kind of action happen (never ending meetings, brainstorming, phone calls and emails). And this job is definitely about long term gratification, not short term success. So slogging away every day here does not have a lot of rewards now in the moment, but five years from now if interfaith partnerships are sustainable here and deaths from malaria have decreased, I will get the gratification I am looking for. And it is so cool to know the other Fellows are with us in this all over the world. Technology is so cool for that. Our websites are currently being launched and we had a conference call/website training over skype this week with a bunch of the Fellows where we all logged in to something and were watching the same computer screen while a guy was training us. It was cool. I am glad I live now and not 100 years ago.

We worked our first event this week: a community health fair. In typical non-profit style, 10 expected volunteers didn't show up so several of us were running around like crazy people until a half hour after the event started. It was freezing cold, but that meant the ice for the drinks didnt melt; and it didnt start raining until literally the second we stopped serving food. The event itself didn't fully fit in to our now incredibly defined strategy, but we had committed to it day one of work and we thought it would be a good way to meet the community. We ended up being the only white people we saw the whole day (as usual), but apparently locals around here assume if you are white you are from Minnesota. We got asked multiple times where in Minnesota or Wisconsin we are visiting from. People were pretty surprised when we said we live in the area and work for IMAN. I like surprising people like that.

At a church small group this week I was reflecting on a passage in the Bible from Ephesians that talks about God having prepared good works in advance for us to do. I was thinking hard about this and I am wondering, what if the good works God prepared are other people? There are people who are hurting and suffering unnecessarily around the world and God didn't necessarily cause that, but what if the people are the works? I am not talking about viewing them as projects, but I think I often have sat back and waited for what looked like a good work for me to do that I wanted to do. What if it was simply loving my neighbor? Serving food when it is cold at a health fair? Fighting for malaria eradication in Africa? Getting different religious groups to work together on global poverty issues? Those things were all right in front of me this week, and I think doing them is the right thing.

Food for thought for me at least.

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