While with articles on Theologians Without Borders the emphasis is often on the ‘teacher’ that is requested and the ‘teacher’ who volunteers and goes to serve, I want to underscore the importance of building a team behind you.
Living in the US at the moment the media is full of reports of foreclosures, mounting debt and growing unemployment. This saturation can easily leave one paralyzed on the sitting room couch.
Today I am leaving with a student team for a visit to Asia during the Spring Break. One of the joys in our preparation has been going to churches and other groups with the team, sharing the story behind our visit and asking for their support. As a student group this has been a good educational ploy to interview the students as they have prepared for the questions exceedingly well and learned much about the country and the people that they are visiting.
As a team we have been amazed at the generosity of people, their interest and their willingness to partner with us during this venture. Each time we have spoken we have passed around a pad and pen and invited people to write their names and email addresses so they can receive our irregular newsletters (regularity subject to Internet access). The notes, letters, cards and gifts have been positively overwhelming. The growing number of supporters feel like they are part of our team and indeed they are. We have already set up times when we can go back and report on our activities and share our insights and encouragements.
If you are exploring going on an assignment as a teacher and especially if finance is the greatest hurdle, let me encourage you to share this possibility with others and enlist them on your team. The benefits will be so much more than financial.
Do let me know of your interest and the window of opportunity through which you are looking.
Dr Geoff Pound
Image: The team behind the teacher.