The Core of the trip - Back story
David and I had a chance to talk and sit together in worship around our concern for Central Africa. We were both feeling that it would be time for me to go back in 2010 but neither of us had a clear sense of what work there was for me to do. The trauma work of THARS has gone well. His people that I trained in 03 have exceeded their teacher and been multiplied. THARS does not need me this year. Yet in our discernment process, which continued after our parting, we both found clear and harmonious leading.
Our prayers and conversations took us to the continuing concern that another wave of genocide in Central Africa be prevented. We reviewed the very sizable gains that have been made in awareness of trauma, and trauma healing. We both believe that without healing the violence will be repeated. We reviewed the gains that have been made in restorative justice and conflict resolution. We feel that AGLI is doing good work in this area. There are other educational efforts going on the area among Friends, notably an EFI effort for education for pastors and pastors in training.We indentified areas that we feel at not being met a well, and we came up with three areas and a target group. We feel that the biggest needs are; religious tolerance, better governance in the church and the society as a whole, and an integrated spirituality that includes Earthcare.
We feel that the most underserved group is, in fact, the most critical group, the youth - specifically secondary and university students. Half of the population of the region is under 20. Rwanda has recently declared that all government business and all teaching will be done in English, Burundi is following this lead. Students between 17-20 have taken most of their education in French, and they will be at a particular disadvantage as they move into adult life. We feel that these young people are the future leaders of the three Yearly Meetings in the area, and future leaders in business and government. We believe that this younger generation needs to come into adult life with new ideas, new skills in peacemaking, tolerance, and Earthcare, as well as with competency in English. We are aware that their religious upbringing has not integrated their academic life with their spiritual life; that the Ethics of Gospel Order applied to business and governance is a new idea for them. We are aware that there has been division, estrangement and sometimes competition between the Yearly Meetings in the area and even between areas within the Yearly Meetings. We know that female ministry has been difficult to empower. We believe that we can have special influence with this young group, and change them in ways that will affect the region for decades to come.
We feel lead to attempt to do this.