Recent Posts from the Mumena Team

Friday, October 5, 2007

Davis Missionary Journey: Reality (Team Strategy 2)

In what reality do we find ourselves? What is God doing here? How can I participate? These are all questions that put the missionary in the "seat of learning" prior to "the place of teaching" which is as it should be. One reality that confronts all missionaries today is that the world is different than it used to be. No longer do you find homogenous tribes "untouched" by western influence. I have never been anywhere on earth that I didn't find - at least - a Coca Cola advertisement! Thus, globalization is a new reality for us missionaries.
This often creates a domino effect culturally. Tribes used to economic systems based on "barter" now have to cope with "cash economies". This in turn creates new categories of "poverty" that were never experienced before often producing a cultural distortion not easily understood by the tribe. Old ways of life come to an end and new ways are sought from the global smorgasbord. Sometimes, "new ways" are not sought and a pervading sense of "dissipation" sets in. This is the current experience of the Kaonde tribe.
At the same time, our western home cultures are going through a culture shift the likes we haven't seen since the advent of the Guttenberg press in 1436. We are shifting from "modern" to "post-modern". The leadership of our sending churches are from the modern era and our supporting church memberships are from the post-modern era. One hundred years ago, a missionary might have been put on a ship with his luggage packed in his coffin. Fifty years ago, a missionary might have received one visit per year if he was lucky. Today, the post-modern generation seeks to "experience God". It is rare for us not to have around 100 visitors during the course of a year… even in the remote reaches of the African bush.
Changing realities are only a tragedy if our methodology has been elevated to the level of "doctrine" and is no longer "flexible". In truth, "changing realities" is one of the most dependable constants. For the missionary, changing realities often offer us tremendous opportunity to teach a "new way of understanding reality"!

"… even so we also should walk in newness of life."
Romans 6:4 KJV

Thus our team strategy must reflect methods - derived from theological reflection - which cope with the present reality of the Kaonde tribe while involving - responsibly and productively - our sending churches who seek to participate with God in His mission.
Sound like a tall order? Maybe… but regardless, it portends great opportunity!


Glad we are working WITH God (He is probably big enough to deal with this),
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson

Pictured: where we live in Northwest Zambia (if you look close enough).

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