Does International Development Need God?

We’re stoked to welcome Laurence Knoop, formerly of the British armed forces and now a construction manager in East Africa with Engineering Ministries International (EMI). Working mostly in Uganda, Laurence not only builds buildings but develops the men and women on his construction site, who are regularly discipled (don’t miss this video about EMI’s incredible program). Among his many projects, Laurence has helped construct the secondary school campus of Katie Davis Majors’ Amazima ministries, of Kisses from Katie fame. He and his wife Jane just welcomed their first son. You can catch their engaging stories on Instagram (@laurence.p.k) or their blog.

I recently came across two opinion pieces – one old, one new – both written by atheists and both promoting the value of churches and religious organisations in international development.

Matthew Parris – columnist for The Times and “a confirmed atheist” – is convinced “Africa needs God,” and that Christian evangelism makes an “enormous contribution” to tackling poverty in developing countries. Duncan Green – strategic adviser for Oxfam and “a lifelong atheist” – asks “are grassroots faith organizations better at advocacy/making change happen? and, after reviewing Tearfund’s report on their faith-based advocacy partnership with the Pentecostal Assemblies of God in Uganda, concludes that it is “powerful and convincing stuff.

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My Story: Ordinary World-Changing

We’re tickled pink today to welcome Jaimee Sekanjako. Jaimee has spend the past year and a bit living in the crazy-beautiful chaos of Uganda, East Africa. She spends her days designing water systems, toilets, and–as a civil engineer with Engineering Ministries International–having meetings on the controversial topic of urine diversion (her words, not ours!). She loves dark chocolate, rescuing dogs, and her husband Paul (not in that order). She’s proud of Paul surviving his first trip to Canada’s -42 degree winter, after meeting and marrying him in a story that could have only been written by God himself.  

I was bent over the stove stirring a pot of something when my husband brought me the phone. The voice on the other end was musical, full of life and joy. I heard a sweet young woman say, “Auntie, I love you so much. I miss you and I can’t wait to see you. I want to hear all about your life.”

On this particular day, I needed those words. Needed them more than I even knew.

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“I want to go…I think. What should I do first?”

go serve love overseas

Jeff Boesel, Director of Mobilization for One Challenge, shares his story today.

I sat there, phone in hand, gazing out the massive, slanting windows of my control tower.

God had answered my prayer. Well. Correction. He’d just called my bluff.

In my tenth year as an air traffic controller God had begun an active stirring in the hearts of my wife and me. Lighting up like the Vegas strip, everything around us seemed to point to a move to become global workers.

Sure, both of our parents had done that. But we weren’t convinced that was our path. Still, we were praying.

We were praying that God would close the door.

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Does What I Want Matter? On Desire & Dreams (…and 7 Reasons not to Go Overseas)

It had been one of those days.

I was attempting to stomach a failure of mine in my job, and I sat at the kitchen table with my husband, shaking my head. There may have been some tears involved. I explained that this past year, one of God’s key messages for me seemed this idea of making “no graven image”. I had to be really careful, I told him, not to remake God as “the God of what I want”–that Divine Waiter.

But my husband’s hazel eyes leveled with my blue ones. “I think you also have to be careful not to make an image of Him as the God who represents whatever you don’t want.”

Huh.

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