Team to India: Ethnography, Alternative Energy and Business Development
On June 11th, Scott and Rosemary Sherrod will travel to India, assisted by Grant Dailey and Rachel Nowlin. The Sherrods have worked in India since 2004 when they led mission trips with their church from Knoxville, TN. As Scott Sherrod recently shared in a chapel service with the G.O.D. Int’l community, our model for mission “makes sense” to him, as it is both feasible and sustainable. This summer, the Sherrods will advance the goals of our organization in India through their specialties of Ethnography (Rosemary) and Alternative Energy and Business Development (Scott).
Scott, Director of MCH: Plumbing, Electrical and More, teaches young men how to utilize skills in the home improvement and maintenance sector, his particular specialty being in electrical. During the last few years, Scott has been researching and implementing small-scale alternative energy systems at our headquarters in Tennessee. He wants to combine his knowledge of building electrical systems with his experience of business development (MCH is one of several businesses that Scott has managed through the years). He sees the importance of offering employment opportunities to the poor, specifically in a region of India where call centers are the main form of employment--keeping individuals from developing practical skills that would benefit those in their proximity.
Rosemary, an avid researcher and lover of history, is trained in ethnography. An ethnography (from ethnos “folk, people, nation,” and grapho “to write") is a detailed description of a people and their culture. The ethnographer’s approach to gathering information is unique. Although they research documents, their written account of a culture is primarily based upon firsthand, personal observation, which includes participating in the daily lives and activities of the people, engaging in conversations, and conducting in-depth interviews. Using these methods, Rosemary will tell the story of Indian women from their point of view. Ethnography is, in essence, creating a “people’s history”--taking the perspective of those impacted by the course of history, rather than the ones who make the decisions on how it is written.
Rosemary developed this skill-set through her study of the history of the Hopewell neighborhood (home to our headquarters in Tennessee). While in India, she will study the perspective of women in a culture that permits gender-selective abortions, child brides, insufficient education for girls, oppressive dowry demands, spousal abuse, rape, and the shunning of widows. In India, women are treated as second class citizens, from birth to death. As an organization who wants to serve women in India through maternal health care, primary and secondary education, social work and more, it is vital that our development workers understand the cultural mindsets that permit such abuse, neglect, and violence. Her project is 24 months in scope and this trip is the first phase, with a return trip in December to continue to her research study.
Please pray for Scott and Rosemary as they set out on this important work. Their effort is not as individuals, or even a married couple, but as ‘sent ones’ on behalf of a community who not only believes in the potential their projects have for wonderful development, but also the potential that their persons have to impact Indians with the love of Christ, evident in their committed service to God every single day. The Sherrods are undoubtedly a favorite in the G.O.D. community, as many of us look to them for wisdom, practical advice, and examples of faithful service to God. We are happy to send them, with all of their talents and abilities, to extend the same gifts to our Indian brothers and sisters, in focused, direct ways. Stay tuned for updates from their trip!