Monday, August 1, 2011

Principles in Practice

A warm visit with Kefa Sempangi, as usual, results in learning so much from his vast array of stories. This man has had so many life experiences – living through Idi Amin, living in exile in the U.S. for several years, serving as a member of Parliament during the post Amin reformation, operating the children’s home where Gabriel grew up, and so much more.

As he talked about the many development plans he’s been a part of he repeated two things several times. First, people don’t want to actually implement what you teach them to do. He described several scenarios where less than 20% of those being taught actually put into practice the principles they learned. Those that did apply the teachings were quite successful.

Second, Kefa responded to this lack of application by describing the people as having lost hope. I hadn’t intended the get-together to be a pitch for Surprised by Hope, but after he used the term hope several times I thought I might be missing a prompting by the Holy Spirit. I showed him my business card and described a little about Surprised by Hope: An East African Community Development Ministry. He suddenly got so animated and excited. He studied each word on the card and seemed to process them and then he said that this is exactly what the people need (among many other things, I’m sure).

We talked more about what hope would look like in the eyes of those being served, what might motivate them to act. Although he is sometimes discouraged by the lack of action on the part of participants, he was also encouraged that at least some would respond. Like the starfish story, the ministry and teaching makes a difference to those who do respond.

Kefa informally invited me to be part of some seminars and workshops he is preparing for next year and this is when I got excited. I pray there is some way we can work together so that I can continue to learn from this influential Ugandan leader.