Welcome, friends to my old, but newly resurrected blog! I have had this technically for a few years, although I never did anything with it and never really got into the blogging scene. Now I have a good excuse to blog, I’ve got a few more years under my belt, and I’m participating on a very exciting trip this summer.
On May 14th, I will be leaving the States to travel to the Philippines, where I will spend 12 weeks researching the effectiveness of a microenterprise development (MED) program that a Christian non-profit / non-governmental organization, Food for the Hungry, runs. Many of you received support letters asking for your help through prayer and financial help. Thank you so much to those of you who are praying for me and/or helped out financially. I truly appreciate it. Your prayers will go a long ways, and your monetary donations will help cover my travel and living expenses in the Philippines.
I am sitting here writing this after taking my 1st Final of the semester yesterday. 1 down, and only two more to go! This school year has been very difficult for me – college juniors always have it hard. I can now say that I am successfully finished with all of my junior-year classes. By next Wednesday, I will be done with finals too!! And then it is off to home to make last minute preparations for my trip.
I am really, really looking forward to this trip for a number of reasons. As many of you know, I am a Community Development (CDV) major, studying on the International Economics track. This sounds hard, I know – and actually, it is. But it has been a VERY fun major. Basically, CDV teaches students to think and work holistically in ministry to people who are poor – physically, emotionally and spiritually. As I have taken more and more classes for my major, I have fallen more and more interested in the major. I can truly say that this is the direction in my life that I feel God is leading me towards – whether that be a life overseas, or ministry to the poor here in the States.
All CDV students, whether they are studying on the International or Domestic track are required to participate in around a 12-week (or longer) internship. Because I’m an International major, mine is overseas – and thus, as you’ve already figured out by now, I am going to the Philippines to fulfill this requirement.
But really, fulfilling course work is not the most important reason I am going. Food for the Hungry operates a good program in the Philippines. I am excited about learning more about the program, researching it’s effectiveness, and then be able to offer feedback and suggestions on how it could be improved.
I am also VERY excited to learn more about the Filipino culture. Last fall, I took a course (required for my major) entitled “Living and Working in a Multi-Cultural Context.” From day 1, I realized that I LOVE studying and learning about foreign cultures. There are so many customs and different etiquettes across the world, and different patterns of communication. When traveling to a different culture, knowing these things (or at least being aware that there are differences) is vital for success. If we are called to be Christ’s ambassadors, and if I truly want to “help the poor help themselves” as Bryant Myers puts it (who wrote a book called Walking With the Poor – 1999 – World Vision), then I need to love the people I am working with where they are at in their own comfort zone. Duane Elmer, in his book Cross-Cultural Conflict (InterVarsity Press – 1993) puts it nicely: “We are called to love all people. But can I truly love someone I do not, at least in some measure, understand? Love requires some understanding of its object. That means love is culturally define. When we truly love others, we love them in their own context, in keeping with the way they define love. We can’t express love in a vacuum. It can be expressed egocentrically (my way) or sociocentrically (as the other person would define an act of love).”
Thank you, friends, for helping me learn more about International Community Development, and thus by preparing for my possible future in ministry to the poor and suffering across the world.
Sincerely in Christ,