How does a group of diverse individuals from various walks of life and different parts of the world form into a unified, supportive and fruitful team? This is my challenge as curriculum coordinator for TIMO; that is to help new TIMO teams by orienting them to life in Africa in such a way that they form well in order to perform what they’ve been called to do. The problem is that I am powerless to make this happen.
Let me share a recent example from the Rangi team who came together this summer from the US, Tanzania and Congo – a pretty diverse group to say the least. Powerless? You decide…
On that first fearful morning I was glad that there was Another in the driver’s seat who was watching over this new team as they started on their journey of faith in a far and distant land. Because, the first day in country I lost one whole truck full of team members. Yes, half the team lost in one fell swoop!
Seeing that both team vehicles were right behind me I decided to pull into a shopping complex on our way south from Arusha, where they landed, to Kondoa, where their orientation would take place.
As the driver of the lead truck in our convoy it was my job to ensure everyone made the turn. So as I pulled in off the busy thoroughfare I noticed vehicle #2 immediately pulled in after me and I thought vehicle #3 followed suit. However, after parking and getting out we looked around and no vehicle #3. Yikes! New arrivals and they’re lost with no cell phone, no map and NO IDEA of where in the world they are or where they are going.
I hopped back in the truck to go search and told the others to stay put in case our lost friends somehow returned before me. First I drove one way hoping that our friends had just kept going straight, but after 20 minutes I realized they must’ve turned or doubled back. So I decided to double back as well and when I reached the shopping complex there was still no vehicle #3. I pulled back out to head the other direction and just then met up with a friendly Tanzania police officer who I enlisted to help.
“Officer” I said, “if you see a green truck with a bunch of lost looking white people can you please pull them over into this shopping complex?”
And sure enough, within five minutes our friends in vehicle #3 were pulled over by the Tanzania police – their first run-in with the law.☺
This fiasco ended happily as we were reunited after only a ½ hour of searching
and wandering around town. But this mishap illustrates my point that I am truly powerless on my own to form new teams into anything resembling what they should be – unified, supportive and fruitful.
However there is One, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is powerful enough to form these teams into what He wants. And it is experiences like losing team members their 1st day in Africa that remind me of my powerlessness apart from Christ’s all-sufficient powerful presence.
Thank you Lord for these faith lessons in the midst of our trials.