27 Nov

Gloabl Leadership Summit 2012 – Every Life

I hadn’t really paid much attention to the flyer with regard to who was going to be speaking. I thought it was cool to find out that Condoleezza Rice was on the agenda. I thought, “YES she has been at the top, working with leaders of countries from around the world!”

To be honest, I didn’t get a whole lot out of what she said.

She is VERY much a born again Christian, with a strong family heritage of faith, growing up in Alabama during the segregated era. Through her time in office, it was Romans 5 that got her through the rough days — and she had a bunch of them: the 9/11 bombings, the 2008 economic crisis, and the Arab Spring Uprising. Many would say this is one of the roughest collections of global events in any period of office.

Condoleezza doesn’t agree. She thinks the 10 years after World War 2 had far harder days than she ever faced: the rise of communism, Russia developing nuclear weapons… and the list seemed to go on! She said that if a leader is to lead people in hard times, they need to remain optimistic. They need to hold onto the truth that every life is worth it, every life is capable of greatness.

I began ponder that even secular humanitarians believe that every life is worth it. So what?  The idea is rooted in the Biblical truth that everyone is made in the image of God. For Christians, being made in the image of God makes every life worth it, and that is so much more than just being ‘worth it’. God loves every person, and doesn’t desire for them to be hungry, but simply feeding them isn’t enough.

Every life is worth it is our rally cry so that none shall perish without knowing God personally.

Every life is worth it is the reasoning behind our vision to see every person have access to God’s “ord in a language and form they can make use of.

Every life is worth it is not simply the nice people but the lowest of the low being worth it. The murderers, the rapists, the prostitutes, the terrorists, the Boko Haram… and it also your neighbour and mine, every other person you pass on the street, the parents you don’t talk to at the school gates, the new person at church no is sure about.

Every life is worth it, and every life is capable of greatness means, we should never give up until we have unlocked the potential of the people we work with, or the kids in the class or youth group. If we are to unlock that potential, they need to know their maker; they need to be able to understand the Bible for themselves.

Every life is worth it, so I must remain optimistic and I must draw my strength from Christ.

22 Nov

Global Leadership summit 2012 – Energize

I had a brilliant opportunity at the end of October to attend the Global Leadership Summit.  No, I didn’t get to fly to Chicago, but they ran 4 summits around Nigeria using the video packs. I understand that they do something similar in 90 or so countries around the world.  I’m writing a series of posts on things that I learnt or observed over those 2 days.

The first session was by Bill Hybels the senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church and creator of the Global Leadership Summit.  He started with talking about the Parable of the Sower, and how 75% of the seed that was thrown didn’t produce fruit.  He had been challenged to consider the rate of seed that he had sown and how high his expectations were.  He had been challenged to so more seed if he wanted more fruit.

I wasn’t sure how it applied to the ministry of Bible Translation but it did occur to me that we reap what we sow – so if I am determined to sow more patience, more gentleness, more of the things I want to be, maybe I will only get 25% of it to stick, but play the %. The more I sow, the more I’ll reap.

He had a whole lot to say, but the other thing that really caught me was about we influence. (Now just to clarify, ‘influence’ is not the same as ‘manipulate’.) If you are leading a team, you can influence them to be a better team, more productive, harder workers etc. Bill was saying that we can influence those under us, alongside us, or above us. In my roles here, I interact with almost all parts of our office and what Bill said next was brilliant.  He took ‘influence’ and said, instead of trying too hard to influence, you need to energize people.

If you energise those below you they will work harder for you.
If you energise those alongside, you will be able to partner with them better and they will be more prepared to partner with you.
If you energise those who lead you they will involve you in more decision making.

So my challenge, as an INTJ aspie who lacks energy a lot of the time – how can I energise people to write good reports? How can I energise people to engage with strategy discussions? How can I energise people to try new file storage access systems?

Fortunately I don’t think it is about the level of energy that I possess. Rather, do I have the skills (for want of a better word) to enthuse others?

Any thoughts, greatly welcomed!

17 Nov

Cost of being a missionary – freedom to drive.

Okay, so maybe this one doesn’t quite fit into the series, but having to get from A to B is part of life.

It is different everywhere you go.  Back home, you hop in a car, and the questions are:

  • Do I take the toll road, or not?
  • Which nice clean service station will I stop at to use the toilet?
  • Will there be traffic on the M25?

(OK, that one is more of an observation than a question!)

So driving here can be… umm… well… not always quiet so straightforward.

Pot holes for starters.  Not only in winter, but all the jolly time.  Some bits of road are better than others. If you drive the bad ones often enough, you can get a sense of where the bad patches are.  Dan isn’t so keen on all the snaking around we have to do when we drive for a few hours – he has been known to throw up 🙁

Other drivers. At home, doing driving lessons, they teach you that you need to be observant and predict what other drives might do.  You driving is fine, it is the other road users you have to worry about.  Well out here, multiply that by 100 and that is driving here! Overtaking on blind corners, blind summits (where there is a truck coming straight at you), taxis pulling over, or just stopping at a moment’s notice if you are lucky!

Around town it is even worse.

Police. Yup, I know at home they pull you over for speeding, for being on drugs, for driving like a lunatic.  Over here they pull you over because they fancy a chat with the white man, or because you drive a slightly flashy car and they want a ‘dash’ from you, or some water, or after they find out you’re a missionary they want a Bible – even if they can’t read.  There are 4 or 5 different groups of people who could stop you, all after something different, and that isn’t even the ones manning the ever increasing number of road blocks.

Next time you are in a bit of traffic, be thankful there isn’t a guy with an AK-47 chatting to you through the window. What I would give for the M25!

07 Nov

Driving – maybe a typical journey?

Over the past few weeks I have been to Abuja and back 3 times. Not such a big deal on the whole, different routes, different passengers. I enjoy driving and talking with people.

One of the challenges here is being stopped by the vehicle inspection officers, or police, or whoever else. One journey I got fined for not having one particular piece of paper that showed the change of ownership of the vehicle I was driving. It not being my car, I hadn’t look through the papers closely enough to check what was there, so he fined me.

It is rubbish, but sometimes it isn’t worth the fight. But sometimes it is.

A different journey, I was stopped but a particular set of people and they were checking that people had a copy of the highway code in the car. It was our understanding that you didn’t’ need to carry a copy of it, but this guy was insistent. I offered to take a test, and the officer’s questions was “ How many corners are there between Kano (north) and Lagos (very south)?” A distance of several hundred miles. I laughed and said I had no idea. The officer responded say there are only 2; Left hand corners and right hand corners.

Needless to say, I laughed! The officer told me that clearly I didn’t know the book and that I needed to buy one from him. I insisted that I didn’t and eventually I had to call a barrister that I know to tell the guy to let us go. But 30 minutes of lost time sat in a hot car is not fun for anyone.

That same journey we were outside Abuja at a petrol station. We had been in line for only a short amount of time, but the van in front of us had got filled up, appeared to have paid for it… but he wasn’t moving. People started shouting, someone started pulling their car out, people started fighting, I was looking around wondering if we could get out of there if things got worse. Eventually, the fight stopped and the guy gets in the car and headed out. While receiving my fuel, I asked the girl at the pump what it was all about. Turns out she didn’t have the exact change – N30 (12p) to be precise – and the guy wasn’t moving his van until he got it.

It is not uncommon for people to have to send for change, and it is not uncommon for you to move away from the pump until they bring the change. No-one knows why the guy in the van was so grumpy, but it was also hilarious to the 5/6 guys hanging around after the occasion do a post-match analysis of the whole situation.

Just another typical day driving!

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