Generous Education

You hear about these places but can’t really imagine them. Little villages standing empty because of death that has passed though them. No blood on the doorposts this time. No pre-warning system or sometimes simply ignorance. One by one they died here, week after week, month after month, until no one was left but a few orphaned children destined to follow soon unless someone come to their rescue. Once a village is emptied and the graves are full, very few people have the courage to go and live there again or even just entering it.

Superstition is in the order of the day, the Ancestors have spoken. Even us, with all our knowledge, find these places creepy and daring to hang around for too long. The translator by my side visibly not in a place of comfort. War and the diseases of Africa spare no one – Malaria, Cholera, Aids, Balacia, etc. Sometimes it is due to a lack of education with regards to ways preventing these deceases. Sometimes they know the truth but earmarked it as a foreigner’s disease or blame it on some curse while turning to their Traditional Healers for breaking these so called spells against their tribe.

We were blessed to be allowed to work alongside some Christian youth educating them and equipping them to do presentations to their own people in this regard.

Story from Jaco Leeuwner of Passage of Bahar http://www.lifeboat4.net

Global Nomad 31 July 2010

Generosity in the City

Suffocating Suburbia: Sustainability and the City

In a recent interview, Alex Steffen of Worldchanging, walks us through the possibilities and pitfalls of sustainability in the 21stCentury.

When we think about the future and sustainability two common pitfalls present themselves. Either we believe that technology will save our western lifestyle without any changes on our part (other than buying a more efficient car). Or we could believe that technology is the bane of the environment and we should all become Amish. Steffan would argue that neither is true, nor realistic.

Technology of course plays a vital part in the process to making our planet sustainable again. Renewable energies, organic farming methods, telecommuting, biodegradable plastics…it all helps. However, with a growing global population and levels of air pollution that are already too high, our life-styles have to change, but not to an agrarian existence, rather to an urban one. And here is why.

Lets take America as an example. Americans are the most carbon-producing citizens worldwide with a national average carbon footprint of almost 21 tons per person p.a. However, not every American is producing21 tons. Indeed few are. Most are producing far more. The average is restrained by America’s carbon frugal city dwellers. The disparity of carbon production between Sub-urban/non-urban dwellers and urban dwellers is dramatic.

The national average for urban dwellers drops by over half to 8.21 tons per person per year. NYC’s dense building and comprehensive transport system (subway and feet) have it down to a shiny 7.1 tons, making it both an urban and environmental golden child. What this means in reality is that every sub-urban and non-urban American is using as much resources as 3.5New Yorkers. If this was a sinking ship rather than a sinking planet, we would just throw suburbanites overboard like Jonah. But since it’s not and we can’t deposit them on the moon, Steffen suggests a far more optimistic solution:Bright Green Cities of the future. Modern re-urbanization.

It seems like an impossible task to re-urbanize a nation and a planet. Almost half of Americans live in suburban housing, diligently pursuing the American dream of big house, big yard, big cars, big refrigerators…big everything. But this wasn’t always the case and the last time there was a big migration, it was for the same reason as Steffen proposes today: the pursuit of green.

In the 1950’s Suburbia was seen as a green alternative to the smoky city because there was more green in-between the houses. Whilst we all know the importance of green space, the suburban lawn has become the bane of environmentalists. Because, with all that space, comes equally roomy carbon footprints.

It is true that whilst the cities of today are greener per capita, they also have higher concentrations of people and so that means higher concentrations of pollution. Except at sunset, smog is not an attractive incentive to move to the city. Steffen agrees. Cities need to be redesigned to fully utilize all that wonderful green technology and rethought to accommodate modern society.

Suburban society is built around the car and cars, however“green” they are to run still take huge amounts of energy to produce in the first place. They also encourage sprawl, which means more land usage, more roads, more energy-intensive concrete and less efficient use of space for all that non-intensive organic farming we need to foster for our growing population.

Steffen’s city planning is based on making the car close to redundant. By recreating ‘local’ – local housing, businesses, schools, parks and entertainment, the amount of movement needed on a daily basis is vastly reduced. Since the daily commute is one of the biggest contributors to global warming it seems a good place to start. Steffen also talks about the benefit to families to forgo the two hours commute and have parents home earlier. He also talks about a renaissance of community that will be promoted by urbanization.The move to the city needs to benefit the family and young children. It means better schools, lots of activities and lots of open spaces. Soon living an isolated sub-urban existence away from all the cultural stimulation and good education of the city center will make it far less appealing to families. The danger is that suburbia becomes so unattractive that it turns into less desirable, low-income ghettos. Steffen is keen to not just move problems around, but redesign, reuse, rebuild and invest for long-term planned sustainability.

It is not only the death of suburbia that will save us,there will be changes across our lives that we need to embrace. Maybe we don’t get bad tasting tomatoes out of season, but we do get good tasting ones in season. Maybe we can’t fly everywhere, but we can breathe. Maybe we can’t eat meat every day, but we can eat chemical free food. Maybe our children will have to live in cities, but they will get to live.

Lets be a part of the solution. Lets move on global warming.

By Sarah Bainbridge of Living Generously http://www.livinggenerously.com/

Sarah Bainbridge is a vital part of the Living Generously team. She liaises with Charities, writes articles and develops the project! Sarah has spent time in India working with communities impacted by the Tsunami and is passionate about social justice. Currently living in California, Sarah loves life, lakes and coffee…not necessarily in that order!

Equipping Generously

In a country I was visiting, I met with the producer of a weekly Youth Programme aired on national TV. He was prayerfully reconsidering the continuity of this programme which was an increasing challenge for him in his current situation.

As I had just recently visited 5 video-production companies in the UK, I suggested he might like to consider partnering with one or more of them and thus sharing the load of producing the weekly programmes. He thought this a good idea. His brother was visiting the UK in a week or two on business and he would ask him to contact the companies I had mentioned.

I then heard nothing more until a few years later when I met one of the five video producers in the UK. As I entered his studio office in the roof, he thanked me profusely for introducing him to this TV programme producer overseas. I had no idea of the developments that had taken place. In fact, the Youth Programme producer had finally decided to close the programme and had generously donated much of his equipment to my friend in the UK.

This equipment has since been much used in the production of key educational material in Europe. A good example of one link leading to another and resulting in the enhancement of ongoing projects.

Global Nomad 29 July 2010

Mega Generosity

Marvelous and irresistible is the power of the cross! The cross of Christ has subdued many a rebellious will. The cross of Christ has broken many a marble heart. The cross of Christ has laid low many a vaunting foe. The cross of Christ has overcome and triumphed when all other instruments have failed. The cross of Christ has transformed the lion-like heart of man, into the lamb-like heart of Christ. And when lifted up in its own naked simplicity and inimitable grandeur, the cross of Christ has won and attracted millions to its faith, admiration, and love! Octavius Winslow 1808-1878 in “CHRIST’S SYMPATHY TO WEARY PILGRIMS”
Jesus has all the treasures of the everlasting covenant, all the fullness of the Godhead, all the resources of the universe in His keeping, and at His disposal! Look at the starry sky—Jesus strewed it with its jewelry. Look at that enchanting landscape—Jesus enameled it with its loveliness. Look at that cloud-capped mountain—Jesus reared it. Look at that beauteous lily—Jesus painted it. Look at that soaring bird—Jesus feeds it.

He, with whom is all this strength and beauty, is your Brother! Are you not better and dearer to Him than these? He has loved and chosen you from all eternity, ransomed you with His blood, and inhabited you by His Spirit. Why, then, these fears? Why this distrust? All He requires of you is to bring to His fullness your emptiness—to His sympathy your grief—to His unerring wisdom your confusion—and to His sheltering wing your temptations and trials. Spread your case before Him in the humble confidence of a child. Listen to His words—”I am the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt: open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” Octavius Winslow 1808-1878 in “CHRIST’S SYMPATHY TO WEARY PILGRIMS”

As some of you know, Octavius Winslow is one of my favourite authors and I’m endeavoring to read selections of his works most days. I find the insight and depth  of his writing is such a blessing to me.  http://octaviuswinslow.org/

Global Nomad 28 July 2010

The Generous VOX

VOX magazine has been started as a partnership between Evangelical Alliance Ireland, OM Ireland and Oasis of Love Ministries.  “Our vision is to see Christians in Ireland informed, inspired and equipped to engage with one another and with Irish society,” shares magazine editor Ruth Garvey-Williams.

“We want to take a close look at what is happening here in Ireland and ask some challenging questions. We also want to share and celebrate the good news that God is at work and lives are being transformed.”

VOX (Latin for voice) is designed to give a voice for Christians in Ireland from many different types of churches and backgrounds. It is a place for us to share and debate, to encourage and challenge one another and to explore what God is doing in this nation.

This is a magazine produced by generous-hearted personnel who desire to have a significant voice in their community in Ireland. Check it out for yourself… it is a generous subscription too… Of course knowing two of the staff really well makes me somewhat biased. Global Nomad

http://www.voxmagazine.ie/index.html

Generous in Translation

I am always looking for new ways to be a Generous Mind and recently I spotted a new one that I just had to share. Many times when we think of translation, we consider it to be “copying” or “reiterating” rather than creating. After all, aren’t we just putting someone elses words into a new language?

But in reality, translation is an incredible act of creativity. You have to understand two cultures and two languages and build the concepts and ideas into a compelling presentation that crosses those cultures and languages. It’s a big deal and it isn’t easy.

So if we establish that it is a creative act that takes time and investment, then it stands to reason that you can be generous with your translation! I think this is an area of creative generosity that we have not really considered in the past. And the more I think about it, the more it seems that translation is an incredibly appropriate example of being a Generous Mind.

Every time a person translates they are using their multilingual skills to bring an idea to a new audience. What a wonderful gift.

Well, today I have an opportunity for you multilinguals out there to be generous. Many of you may have heard of the Lausanne Congress in Cape Town this October. Well, attached to that is an online groundswell of interaction called the Lausanne Global Conversation. It is a powerful platform on which hundreds of people are discussing the issues. They recently made the conversation multilingual and much of the translation efforts are powered by volunteers. If you would like to be a Generous Mind by helping translate key articles from the Global Conversation so that other language groups can benefit from them, click here and read more about the opportunity.

Maybe someone will even translate this blog post! 🙂
Posted by Jon and Mindy Hirst of  http://generousmind.blogspot.com/

Global Nomad 26 July 2010

Generous Spirit of Adventure

About Good Clean Fun NZ

After five successful years running a training programme that took people from overseas and travelled throughout New Zealand, we have taken the step of using what we have learned to help visitors and new immigrants to this country enjoy maximum use of their time and money and grow memories that will last a lifetime.

We are a tour guiding company that seeks to provide the following:

Good value for money, good locations, good to the environment, good to local communities, good memories and experiences with good tour guides. We want you to have a good experience with us and leave us having made some good friends!

Clean, green, sustainable touring is our goal; the kind of travel that seeks to leave only footprints for the next generation and take only memories for ourselves. We want to share the nature that is unique to New Zealand and stay off the beaten track as much as possible.

Fun is most enjoyed when it is not at anyone else’s expense, when it is good and clean. We can provide the fun that comes with wide-eyed discovery of new vistas, daring to stretch ourselves in the great outdoors, sometimes sleeping in a tent far away from the nearest town and enjoying time together around a glowing bush television. (Camp fire).

Our target market, apart from tourists who wish to see the nature of New Zealand in good company, is new immigrants and those who wish to see the country before deciding to live here. We work well with all ages and nationalities – if you want to enjoy nature in New Zealand, you will fit right in with us!
We also want to retain the flexibility to offer everything from day-trips out of the Auckland area to tailor-made tours around the country for up to a week or even longer. Groups are deliberately kept small to underscore our commitment to the personal touch. You can’t enjoy nature in a crowd.

Other values:

The main value that drives us is ‘Do for others what you would have them do for you.’ Good Clean Fun NZ offers the kind of trips that we know we would love, and we aim to treat you in the same ways that we would love to be treated ourselves every day.

After being impacted by a little book called ‘Fish’ a few years ago, we have also adopted
the following four values as very close to our hearts:

Be There – We want to be fully present when we are with you, not distracted by other things or offering you a half-hearted service. When we lose the passion for this, we will stop the business.

Play – We love what we do and we want you to enjoy yourselves too. Life is a serious thing but we plan to have fun as we live it!

Make Their Day – or, as we like to think of it, ‘Others are It!’ We have discovered that life is so much more of a delight to live when others are the focus. Nothing beats the feeling of knowing you have created a special moment for someone.

Choose Your Attitude – We can’t choose our circumstances, but we can choose how we react to them. Our attitudes are up to us, and we choose to have positive ones.

http://www.goodcleanfunnz.com/Home.html

Knowing this family well over the past two decades, I can highly recommend this tour company to you. The generous spirit of adventure permeates the whole initiative. Well worth exploring, recommending and remembering in prayer. A generous family with a generous vision.

Global Nomad
25 July 2010

Generous Assessment

“Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the
nations what He has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all
his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those
who seek the LORD rejoice. Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his
face always. Remember the wonders He has done, his miracles, and the
judgments He pronounced”(I Chronicles 16:8-12).

From this Scripture, may I encourage you to count your blessings
differently from the way the world counts blessings. Its not a matter
of assessing our possessions, but assessing what the Lord has done.
Not necessarily what He has done “FOR US” but simply what He has done.
As Christians we sometimes miss the mark because we are so caught up
in praying for His blessings, we fail to pray for and enjoy His
presence.

Today, take a few moments to give thanks to the Lord for what He has
done. If you aren’t sure where to start, Look at Stephen’s in Acts
7:2. Stephen’s sermon will guide you through the great works and
wonders of the Lord! As you read through His sermon, be sure and give
thanks to the Lord for His works!

Quote from International Daily Devotion by Ian Chalklin (RSA)
http://www.globalhope.org.za  mailto:ianchalklin@gmail.com

Global Nomad  23 July 2010

Virtual Space Generosity

Being generous with your virtual space

In the past few weeks two people have asked me to be a guest blogger for them (Here is the first one on Leadership and Publishing). I have been watching this trend grow quickly and am very pleased by it. Why?

When you build a community and a platform through a blog, that is your space that you have invested countless hours in nurturing and cultivating it. Your blog and the people that read it are a valuable resource in an idea economy.

So when you take the time to share your space with another thought leader, you are being a Generous Mind! You are telling this other person that you have enough faith in their ideas and writing abilities to open up your platform and audience to them. This is truly an act of generosity.

If you haven’t viewed it that way, I challenge you to consider it. And if you have never invited someone to be a guest blogger in your digital space, then I hope you will seek out the opportunity!
Posted by Jon and Mindy Hirst at 8:22 PM

Another quality post from the Generous Mind blog by Jon and Mindy http://generousmind.blogspot.com/

Global Nomad  23 July 2010

Generous trust

“What an exalted and endearing truth is Christ’s sleepless vigilance over his people! Imagine yourself threading your way along a most difficult and perilous path, every step of which is attended with pain and jeopardy, and is taken with hesitancy and doubt. Unknown to you and unseen, there is One hovering around you each moment—checking each false step—and guiding each doubtful one—soothing each sorrow—and supplying each need. All is calm and silent. Not a sound is heard, not a movement is seen; and yet, to your amazement, just at the critical moment, the needed support comes—you know not from where, you know not from whom. This is no picture of imagination.” Quote from Octavius Winslow 1808-1878 in “CHRIST’S SYMPATHY TO WEARY PILGRIMS”  http://octaviuswinslow.org/

After climbing a 10,000ft mountain, staying a night with friends in a village near the peak, we set off to make the descent, intending to stay overnight at another village en route. However, the village leaders were hesitant to host us for the evening, as special meetings were in progress concerning a local cult. Thus the decision was made to continue into the evening and early night with our journey.

We were so glad that local guides were with us, who had intricate knowledge of the route along perilous ledges from which we could hear the roar of the turbulent mountain river many feet below. These folk also had clear as well as the lanterns. The verse from Psalm 121 took on a new meaning…”He will not allow you foot to slip or slide” The generous trust encouraged in the words of Octavius Winslow above were indeed our experience that challenging night.

“There is One hovering around you” was true that treacherous night and every night. You can place generous trust in Him.

Global Nomad
22 July 2010