Getting together for work, fellowship, mutual support, or for planning something big and exciting is a vital component of getting things done. Whether it’s a digital ‘teleconference’, a formal meeting, an impromptu time around the water cooler, or a large conference or assembly, the need to gather a group to share ideas, strategize together, and plan for the future is a reality in so many human endeavors. So, if meetings are such a vital part of things we do, why do they always seem to be such a drag? Throughout my professional and church volunteer life, it seems as if most meetings I’ve attended or moderated in the course of accomplishing some great end brought the most joy and excitement to the participants when they were canceled. Debbie says I live for meetings. I don’t think that really is the case. But I have to admit I do get excited about those times when a team is gathered together to bring their various gifts and perspectives to a challenge at hand. And then, everything clicks and good things happen. But I have to admit that is not the outcome of every meeting in which I am involved.
|The "Inter-Institutional Junta" gathers for a meeting|
|Representatives from indigenous presbyteries|
The board treasurer made some quick calculations, and the board quickly approved the resources necessary to support the volunteer work party. For the remainder of the meeting, this previously disconnected group of men was now attentive and engaged. They found a sense of ownership in the project that was uniquely their own, and their gifts and skills were welcomed by the rest of the board. As the board members left for their respective homes (some had to travel great distances from other parts of the country to join the meeting) we were left with the task (should I say ‘privilege’) of settling this group of volunteers in for the night and then accompanying them to purchase the tools they would need, which turned out to be one machete per man and a couple of files to keep them sharp throughout the project.
|The work party - Ready to start|
|Taking a quick break|
So often we speak of the individual gifts that people bring to the community of faith that makes ministry and projects happen. Scripture is full of examples and admonishments to recognize, embrace, and utilize one’s gifts in order to more fully serve the whole. The lesson for us in watching five men in a meeting suddenly transform from observers to co-owners, was the realization that those individual gifts need to be recognized, embraced, and utilized by the greater community as the contributions they are. To that end, we acknowledge your gift to us in reading these reports, in corresponding with us, in praying for us, and for supporting us financially. We can fully embrace those gifts even more now that it was made very clear to me that I’ll never be able to make a living swinging a machete!
Richard and Debbie Welch
PC(USA) Mission Co-Workers, Guatemala