Learning to be a Learner in a Ugandan Board Meeting

coffee farmToday, I had the privilege of meeting with partners in a board meeting for our work here in Uganda.  It certainly had a lot in common with so many board experiences that I have had — the schedule means nothing, strong opinions will be voiced and contested, any hope of clarity will be preceded by much confusion.  But it was good.  It was frustrating.  It left me feeling tired and excited and hopeful.  I appreciated so much being the only non-Ugandan on the board and the opportunity to learn from the incredible giftedness of my colleagues.

About a year ago, far away in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood I was meeting together with church planting leaders and we were talking about various things. In the course of the conversation, one of them commented that he felt I seemed to be able to connect with people on a deep level regardless of how culturally different they are.  He wanted to know my “secret”. I stumbled for an answer and finally said something about how I was usually able to see every new person — especially those from a cultural background different than my own — as someone who has something to teach me.  I say “usually.” That’s always my desire anyway.

I felt that way today about my fellow board members.  I felt myself thinking about each one as a potential teacher. I want to learn what they have to teach me.  The fact that our cultures are different only amplifies in my mind just how much I have to learn from them.

This has been a hugely important point in my life and spiritual/professional formation during the past several years.  Indeed it is a point that we at Borderless deeply long to impart to others.  We want to teach and train thousands of people in cross-cultural learning, communication and engagement.  The family of God must know how to do as Jesus did and enter into the world of the other — and to do this effectively.

Please pray that we will be effective cross-cultural learners and trainers.  Pray that we will develop systems that will allow us to equip and positively influence countless people around the world in cross-cultural work.

Pray that I will continue to be a good learner during the rest of my time here in Uganda and when I return to Chicago.

Pray that God will provide financial support for one of our key leaders to complete an important cross-cultural training certification.  We believe this is going to open many doors for us to train others.  Also, please pray about making a donation yourself to this project.

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