On the day-to-day, members of G.O.D. International can be found fulfilling a diverse range of full-time positions and responsibilities, some of us being primary-school teachers, college professors, event coordinators, social service program managers, photographers, farmers, builders, midwives, medical professionals, and the list goes on. These are roles we carry out that increase our experience, skill-sets, and directly advance our operations “here”, in the US, but they’re not where our efforts end. Our hearts, minds, and regularly our energies are directed towards “there”, abroad, where we do development work among impoverished communities of the 3rd world. While we can’t always be “there”, on the ground, and putting our hands directly on the proverbial plow, it doesn’t stop us from making headway through other means.
One, prayer. When we can't be physically present in the third world, we count on the Lord to connect our hearts and minds through prayer focused in that direction. Then, meetings. Above, members of the East Africa regional team meet late at night to discuss, budgeting , fundraising, plans for future project implementation, and recently completed developmental undertakings on our plot in Uganda. Meetings among regional teams (East Africa, India, South East Asia, Latin America) are a regular occurrence, often taking place during off hours, when all other immediate responsibilities are finished for the day.
Assistant Garden Manager, Geoff Hartnell, and volunteer, Michael Watkins, set a side time to create an instructional video on Soil Blocking for our cooperatives to watch in Uganda. We have a garden in Uganda with over 100 permanent vegetable beds that contribute directly to the diets of our East African cooperatives, as well as produce food for local distribution and to be sold at markets.
Currently, Ashley Moore teaches Luganda, and Lavinia Fernandez teaches Spanish for Institute for G.O.D. Int’l students. Every student who goes through one of our college programs will at some point take 4 semesters of a foreign language, as knowing the indigenous languages of those with whom we work is key to our third world development paradigm.
Andrew Bartlett and Cameron Kagay, with their experience as international Regional Managers, teach Third World Development at the Institute. The class introduces human development issues in a third world context to students, including poverty, literacy, education, and health & mortality. The class critically examines how to approach actual scenarios that have been addressed within the regions where we work.
During the work day, Jaimeé Arroyo is a Nurse Practitioner for the Hopewell Family Care Clinic. On a weekly basis, outside of her work hours, Jaimeé and Emily Alvarez (also an employee of HFC) examine health assessments for 10 of our cooperatives in El Salvador, and digitally record the assessments as a means to create wellness plans and maintain overall health.
The education of our international cooperatives is equally as important to us as their health. When he’s not making seriously good cuisine for the Califarmia food truck, Rafael Reyes, among other responsibilities, finds time each week to translate a college class on Genesis into Spanish for our Latin American cooperatives.
Tristan Swang, a professional videographer for Details Nashville, is creating a video displaying our development efforts in Gurgaon, a city near India’s capital, as a means of raising funds for maternal health projects and an impoverished elementary school that the India team is currently supporting.
Staying connected "there" while living "here" is no easy task. But we try our best to do it anyway. From using our sheds to organize donations, to collecting books or writing Sunday School curriculum, our efforts there happen here, every day. We're thankful for the flexibility and generosity of our people to make room for the poor in the midst of an already full life. At the same time we know that, would we not commit intentional time to make the plight of the poor our foremost consideration, we would not be doing enough to help. There is so much need. We ask that you pray for us as we all (not just those who will get in an airplane this month), serve the poor, right where we are.