NEWS FOR MID MARCH 2007
My time at the US Centre for World Mission finished well with a farewell meal. I am now a member of the adjunct (part-time and voluntary) faculty of William Carey International University (that is on the same site). My main responsibility will be in assisting them in the occasional grading of papers written by people engaged in mission and development doing post-graduate study who are working around the world.
Please pray for the EMS (Evangelical Missiological Society) conference at the US Centre on 16th March, at which one of my papers on 'short-term mission' will be presented. EMS SITE.
I am writing from Colorado Springs, overlooking the snowclad Rocky Mountains, at the start of a great plain that they tell me stretches East for 1000 miles. I am to be here till 20th March, and am then moving on to Chicago. While here I am primarily engaged in meetings with mission agency leaders.
It has been a privilege to engage with many serious scholars and practitioners concerning mission and development issues. It has been a learning experience for me - helping me to better understand American thinking and the American way of life. It was good to have been able to stay with a cousin called Inga and her husband David during my time in Los Angeles.
It has struck me that very few people 'in the West' realise how their donor activities put people into 'traps'. Once in such a trap, neither the donor nor local people can again distinguish clearly between good and bad actions. For example, imagine that there are two courses of action, A and B. A is a good action, and B is a bad action. The problem is that a donor only has to get the idea once that B may be 'good', then once the donor funds B, the money coming in to fund it can itself make it 'good'! (The goodness of the money outweighs the badness of the action.) The donor can be trapped into funding B which is not actually 'good', and the recipients are trapped into doing B and saying that it is 'good' so as not to lose the funding even though B is not good.
Here in the US I am attempting to explain clearly the vital importance of having missionaries who do not base their ministries on foreign money, and who use languages indigenous to the people they are reaching. Please pray that this will be understood, so that mission work around the world can be more effective.
For details on Africa-forum in Doncaster, UK, on 23rd April 2007.
Details on the consultation in London on 14th April not yet available.