Posted by: DCox | June 27, 2008

Beyond Projects: Transforming the Mind

Andy thought about things differently. He wondered about many things, but one of them was the mango. [This story was written by Gary Hipp as a case lesson that he shared with indigenous missionaries in Nigeria during a recent trip there.]

 

His thought process exemplifies what we are aiming for as we train trainers in Discipling for Development.  

Appreciating: The mango sure is tasty. We have so many mangos. Everyone loves them.
Understanding: Mangos grow in plenty during their season, but that is only for a couple months. During those months they fall off the trees and are wasted.
Evaluating: Is there some way we can make mangos available more months of the year? How can we put the many wasted mangos to use?
Visioning: Imagine having mangos year around. Whenever you want that great taste, you could have one. 
 
From this process, Andy began to think about extending the availability of mangos and investigated dehydrating them. Soon he found a way to dry them and make them available for many months of the year. He is trying to improve the dehydrating technique to extend the mango eating season.
 
Because we are all set in our worldviews, it is hard to see outside of them. If we only see a problem and apply a solution someone else has suggested, we never develop a new way of looking at problems. Scripture says, “Do not be conformed to the paradigms of this world (your worldview) but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.”  (Rom 12: 2)
 
Over the past 40 years, with the influence of non-governmental organizations and government help, African communities have come to understand “development” largely as projects which are usually initiated and resourced by outsiders. They have seen “evangelism” as crusades or hit and miss presentations about Jesus by people who seldom build caring, authentic relationships with the receiver.
 
Our goal in D for D is to help communities move beyond their traditional thinking about “evangelism” and “development.” We want them to move through a process that radically changes how they look at their resources (to which they have often become blind), their problems, and improving their lives. As they apply this process over time to many different challenges, they will be transformed in their minds and hearts. Hope will become tasty (like sweet mangos) and they will pursue it to its ultimate Source. 

 

 


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