Thursday, 21 May 2015

AMEN Conference 2015 Day 4 - Thursday

A lot to pack into today, and there's a sense of buoyancy as we gather at Cornhill.  Mick, Kelly and Iain have joined us again, and Trevor is paying a guest visit so he can talk with Gregory ahead of our trip to Kenya/Uganda in August. 

Mick splits us into pairs to share about our 'rev counter' readings - physical, emotional, relational, intellectual and spiritual well-being.  He asks, "Is anything in the red zone?" and "Where may Satan try to exploit our weaknesses?"  Colney and I have a great catch-up.  He tells me how he stays fresh in his demanding ministry in Odisha by revisiting his home state of Mizoram for a month when needed.  We pray about the evangelist team that operates on the front line in the villages.

Mark's church in Switzerland has produced a film on community 'Living in Community', and Jesus Fellowship has over-dubbed English.  It's the third time that I've watched it, and it gets better with reflection.  We'd like to get this, and the new Multiply DVD - with subtitles - translated for our international partners. 

Claire has done a presentation on the intern and leadership hosting schemes.  We have Home Office certification to have folks over for up to six months to give them experience of community, our business group, Jesus Centres and church ministry.  The international guys will have to find candidates who can successfully apply for visas, and that's increasingly difficult in today's immigration-sensitive environment.  Having leaders over for a couple of weeks will probably prove more viable.  Of course, we have to ask, "Why aren't we doing this the other way round, too?"  Desmond suggests that I teach in his bible school in Sierra Leone for a fortnight!  Simeon invites us to north Nigeria to learn some lessons on winning against or winning over your enemies.  We're enthralled by his account of his challenges, but discrimination laws probably prevent me from relating much more! 
Straight after lunch, our international exec meets.  This is the point where we bring together the UK's desire to help, and the overseas partners assessment of priorities.  It's a great exercise in brotherhood, and ensures Multiply doesn't lapse into 'bible colonialism'.  The proposals are radical.  First they want to push forward income-earning businesses so we (the UK end) don't have to keep pumping in annual funds.  This is very adventurous, but won't be brought about overnight.  Second, they propose that we can save costs by trimming the bigger MILC conference next year so each leader just has two or three travelling key companions.  They also want us to trim the number of team members when we visit.  This will go hand-in-hand with a different approach for our younger contingent to visit (sort of reverse internship), so we don't lose this benefit.

We join the remainder of the group for a general discussion on this feedback.  Can we send someone with the necessary skills overseas to identify viable business opportunities?  Can we see if some existing business activities can transplant overseas?  Can we assemble local folks in the Multiply regions to see what initiatives they can generate?  The options are extensive: Ed feels deluged, because he's seen as the key player.  Mark reminds us that Multiply came together because we were motivated towards this kind of dimension of God's kingdom.  Christiaan agrees that he has learnt a lot.  Huw agrees that next year's MILC will benefit from more focus, and the chance to save some expenses will work well to make the best of our squeezed budget.

Piet speaks of 'being part of each other' (as Jesus teaches in John chapter 13).  We fetch bowls and towels and wash one-anothers' feet, and then share bread and wine.  The guys take some final photos, and head for their transport.  I look with dismay at the unread emails, missed calls and voice messages on my phone.  Catching up with 'normal' life will be a stretch.

No comments: