The responses to this question at my presentations yesterday were varied and heartfelt. For some, it was time spent in countries like Uganda, Kenya, Israel, Italy, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and Egypt. For others, it was growing up in the US during desegregation, living in inner cities, being a teacher in western North Carolina. I was touched by everyone who came yesterday and was again reminded that personal and community transformation happens as a result of three key ingredients; relationships, giving of ourselves, and sharing our stories.
I also had another epiphany last night as I packed up my presentation stuff and box of books to be sold. I shared a story at my global citizenship talk about the challenges of doing development work overseas. We go out sponsored by organizations lead and funded by western mentality and dollars. The expectations for goals met, high numbers of houses, buildings, water pumps (whatever the product is), are also based on western timelines. During our 3-year term in Uganda, Bob and I were convicted to follow a development model that had sustainability potential. This meant settling for a much slower process than the western world was willing to accept. We were nearly fired for standing our ground, but the outcome in the long run, was perfect. You can read stories and details about this in my book. The point here is that sharing that story made me realize that marketing and selling my book is also part of a long term process to connect with people who share my passion for global engagement. This will be a slow process as well and I can truly enjoy the journey when I take my mind off of the numbers and focus on the people who journey with me. Each person I meet and every story I hear enriches my life and leads to new communities which I would have not met otherwise. I continue to be transformed. Thank you for being part of my journey!