This metaphor makes one consider the necessity to strengthen a unit in a controlled environment so as to ensure its success in a hostile one. We are raising up a team to develop a dynamic that can effectively respond to needs here, so that they can implement those solutions in a 3rd world context responsibly.
There is a particular way to transplant something when the environment you want to plant it in is hostile. A gardener will grow it in a more predictable environment until the roots are strong enough to handle the transplant. This metaphor makes sense to us in that these foreign lands are very different than what our consumeristic American youth are growing up learning to 'endure.' In that case, the education process can serve to prepare them with strong roots in the Word so that they can withstand the transplant.
The concept of transplanting community, comes from observing God's redemptive act to bring his Israel back into fellowship with him, and back on course with their vocational calling - to be a light to the nations.
When the nation had forgotten the LORD and turned to economic systems of power, and political alliances for security, God asked his remnant to go into the world and fulfill what it was he promised through Abraham. Gen 12:3b "...in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."
Jer 29:4 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
So even in Jesus' and Paul's time, the synagogues were the result of transplanted Jewish communities. It was to those people that those who carried the good news from Jesus would initially bring their revelation of God to see communities transformed into healthy people.
When God told Abraham to be "a blessing to all the families of the earth," and through Isaiah, "to be a light to the nations," our organization believes that the fruit coming from the vine of God's Israel (by faith) can now be transplanted into other nations, and become for them the mustard seed that makes room for their birds to find shade.
We are to be a people within a people, as God's word to Moses says,
Deut. 4:5 See, just as the LORD my God has charged me, I now teach you statutes and ordinances for you to observe in the land that you are about to enter and occupy. 6 You must observe them diligently, for this will show your wisdom and discernment to the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and discerning people!” 7 For what other great nation has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is whenever we call to him? 8 And what other great nation has statutes and ordinances as just as this entire law that I am setting before you today?
This reality should be experienced by our neighbors as they observe the health in our communities, here and abroad. Jesus gave the metaphor that his people are the "light of the world," or a "city on a hill." So our strategic locations are to be this kind of people for the surrounding nations so that "all may see our good works and glorify our father in heaven."
Considering the incredible missionary (or development worker) turn-around rate, we recognize that it's very difficult for people to move from the safe and affluent world they were raised in, to a world that is hostile and plagued with poverty and suffering.
On average, such workers deploy and return within 2 years, most of whom never serve in that capacity again. Our solution is to no longer send a couple or a single white female or a bunch of strangers to meet at a compound and try to get along, but to raise a dynamic team in a familiar environment, so they can be transplanted as a strong unit, able to withstand the hostility of the new environment, and thrive.
Together, having developed a strong bond, such a team is capable of meeting needs they couldn't have otherwise met on their own. This prevents the often discouraging impact of a hostile environment where one cannot have dominion. It is not good for man to be alone.