Usually when I tell people that I am going to Sierra Leone for three weeks I get a variety of reactions. Some are excited, some are concerned for my safety (and sanity), others are just curious. Almost everyone asks me why I am going.
The surface reason why I am going is that I am on the board of CAUSE Canada, which is a development agency based in Canmore, that has a history of doing great work in Sierra Leone. So as a part of the board I am going so that I can see first hand the work that is being done and to meet the people doing the work.
The deeper reason is that I believe that our world is at a critical point in our history. Recently in a speech at the London School of Economics Bill Clinton described how our world is currently deeply interdependent, which means that we are not only in the same little boat, but there is no longer an option for divorce. At the same time as this inter-dependence is increasing, population growth, resource consumption and environmental disruption is making our world far more precarious. He described how we now face a choice whether our interdependent future will be based on competition for scarce resource or a future where we share and cooperate. He described how one future is very dangerous and dark while the other would give us great hope.
For me this question that is before us is deeply a spiritual question. It is the question of whether we will choose a path of compassion and love or do we chose the path of self-centered getting what we can for me and mine. Because this is a spiritual question I believe quite deeply that the church and people of faith need to be fully engage in shaping our future and finding a ways by which we can take the path of love.
I have become involved with CAUSE because they seem like an organization and people who are brining their faith to the work of taking the path of compassion. What is especially courageous about them is that they have chosen to do this work in the midst of what have been some of the poorest and most violent places on our planet. It is now 10 years since the violence in Sierra Leone has abated. Still it is recovering, and it is still one of the poorest places on the planet. It is there that we are sharing our wealth so that moms can give birth in a safe and clean place with medical assistance. It is there that they are ensuring that both boys and girls can go to school and have a meal while at school. It is there that they are working with the many disabled people, many disabled from the years of horrendous conflict.
It seems like a great metaphor of the gospel; where there was once death, the love of Christ, lived through people, is brining new life and hope. I am going to Sierra Leone to learn from the people who are doing this work and I hope to also be inspired.
If you want to follow me on my trip, if I can get access to the internet I will place my updates on my website www.transforminggrace.org. I will also be sending Texts to Terrie.