Recent Posts from the Mumena Team

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Davis Missionary Journey: True Hunter/Gatherer Need

So how do I ascertain true needs within a Hunter / Gatherer society who is always asking for something whether they need it or not?  Ah yes, that’s a good question.  Our team tries to approach the matter on two levels:  personal and tribal.  On the tribal level, we coordinate with our volunteer development teams who seek to learn about and address the overall spiritual, educational, health, and agricultural needs of the Kaonde tribe, specifically the Mumena Chieftaincy.  Though these systemic challenges are great, they are often less confusing than how to determine the true needs of an individual person.

On the personal level (just as the tribal level), we are still governed by our values of indigenaity and sustainability.  Thus when asked by an individual for help, we not only have to discover the true need, but also how to apply any help in an indigenous and sustainable way.  There are a least two big steps in this process.  The first is to open one’s self up to reciprocal and transparent relationships with the host people.  In this way, we cease to be perceived as an impersonal object like a “water well”, which for a hunter/gatherer, is something to be used as many times as it gives you something.  Rather, we are part of the community and thus are allowed to be aware of legitimate needs.   The second is to learn to trust the emerging church leadership that God calls for his flock to compassionately administer appropriate times and methods for benevolence within the resource capacity of the local assembly.  Finally, it is crucial not to “short circuit” this indigenous and sustainable benevolence capacity of the local assembly by “doing our own thing” anyway.  If we fall to this temptation, we marginalize the local assembly and breed a congregational welfare mentality that further impoverishes the minds of the people we serve. 

The good thing about these lengthier and deeper processes is that – when respected – I am shielded from the use of benevolence as a quick emotional or guilt fix… which is not spiritually healthy for me.  Rather I am guided into a responsible and productive team effort of compassionate ministry wherein I can maintain an appropriate anonymity and humility.

“But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth”
Matthew 6:3  KJV

God Bless
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson

Pictured:  church leaders at Konkwa, who manage their own benevolence, managing the construction of their own church building without foreign funds as well.

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