5 Regions, ONE Team
Though our work is in five regions of the world, the ONE team mentality allows us to coordinate our resources to enact our mission globally, on a local level. Our most valuable resource being the human one, rigorous training and years of shared experiences between team members has enhanced our network so that recipients of our services receive not only the benefit of the few positioned to serve in their local area, but also the resource of knowledge and experience found in the global network of our ONE team.
"What we do here, is what we do there."
This saying serves as a reminder that our present activity, on campus, in the project neighborhood, impacting our city, affecting our culture is just as much a part of the mission as any activity abroad. In fact, we acknowledge that what is done 'here' (in the States), sets precedent, and creates paradigm for what we do 'there' (abroad).
We recognize that what is done 'here,' will need to be appropriated for 'there,' based on the context of culture, environment, and situation, but having a model to draw from is of great benefit to future endeavors.
Jesus said, "blessed is the one who believes, but has not seen." Yet, he showed Thomas his scars. He gave him an opportunity to see what it was he had a hard time believing.
The reality is that many will have to see before they believe. Doing "here" has given people the vision to see, where it's been difficult to believe.
Because we are involved in paradigm shifting activity, creating appropriate models becomes very necessary. "Here" we are creating a model for reference "there."
Philosophy of 'Transplanting Community'
The metaphor of transplanting came about as a way of explaining how our organization could respond to the short-lived efforts of the majority of missionaries, or development workers, in difficult 3rd world settings. The turn-around rate for such workers is less than two years, with over 90% never serving in the same capacity again.
In a study of over 100 such workers from diverse organizations and philosophical backgrounds, we identified the common issues these troubled workers had in common:
Conflict with other workers
Differing approaches, philosophies, and objectives
Lack of training
Constantly confronted with issues outside the scope of the training that they arrived with
Insufficient human resources
to accomplish long-term objectives
With the most common human resource pool being Western short-term volunteers, though well intended and helpful for short-term solutions, most of their contributions are done without the requisite knowledge to contribute to
long-term sustainable solutions.
Loneliness & isolation
Lack of cultural understanding, insufficient knowledge of the language and local customs, and most importantly, no consistent network of friends who share a common goal and purpose.
Back to the metaphor. A plant is most vulnerable in its beginning stages. Allowing it to grow up (develop) in a protected environment prepares it for a transition into a more hostile one. The stronger the plant, the greater its chance of survival, and the more fruitful its production upon transplanting. Our teams spend years developing their dynamic, approach, and network at our headquarters in the U.S. (a protected environment) in order to be strong enough to handle the foreseeable challenges in a 3rd world environment. Ensuring our teams are prepared in this way makes it more foreseeable that we have an effective transfer of presence for greater impact. There are no isolated individuals or couples deployed from our organization.
Our development workers are given a specific role on a regional team where they share an approach, philosophy and objectives. Together with other team members, they are trained in a variety of disciplines. No one person is responsible to know everything, but as a team they cover the scope of issues commonly encountered and particular to the region where they serve.
The development of expertise, not only in an area of service, but also in cultural relations, communications, and methods of organization, make for a more efficient process in achieving long-term goals of empowerment--to see communities thrive independent of Western funding sources and aid.