Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Changing a Mindset

The Konoweka ladies have been waiting a long time to receive their sewing machines. Why? These women seemed to have reached a point where they believed all good things should simply be handed to them. I’ve spent the last few months teaching about God’s abundance and that money is not the commodity used in His economy.

We looked at how God wanted them to have these machines, but that he also longed for them to participate in their own success by developing their minds and their hands to be creative just like he is. As evidence of his plan for them we talked about all the good gifts given to these ladies already: Bible study guides, Bibles, scissors, thread, buttons, bias tape, business teaching, Bible teaching, and now sewing machines. All these things came together just for them, just for the purpose of teaching them a new trade. God planned it.

I debated about being the “controller” of those gifts and felt like the Spirit was showing me how to draw out their own initiative and determination before simply handing over this gift. So, the weeks went on and we continued to strive for cooperation rather than one-sided giving. The ladies were charged with finding a teacher – their one and only contribution to the project. At first they poo-pooed and said give us the machines and then we’ll find a teacher. I asked them how long they’ve known me and whether or not they have seen me do what I say I’m going to do. With an affirmative response they reluctantly began the search for a teacher. I hate to say this, but they dragged their feet and whined a little along the way. So much like the rest of humanity.

Eventually we had a frank conversation. Look – God created you in his image. You can learn. You are smart women. You have what it takes to succeed. Ultimately, it’s your choice. You can choose to do nothing and get nothing for your efforts or you can choose to work and search for that teacher and be blessed. But…YOU choose. You cannot say, “That mzungu didn’t help us.” You cannot say, “God has forgotten about us.” Nedda (No). It’s your choice!

Guess what! Annie – the lady who has been working alongside me – and Pastor Jessica interviewed three teachers during the week I was gone and made the first arrangements for lessons. Please pray that this teacher is good – I have not seen her work or her character – and that the ladies would remain committed to this project. Finally, pray that God would open new doors with crazy creative ideas that Uganda has never seen before such that all the existing artisans want to learn from them. Amen!