This is post 6 of 10 in the Broken:Beautiful series.
To get perspective on a New Jerusalem, we examine the land in which we work. If you look at the amount of time it takes in Africa for corn to grow or for a boy to walk his cattle to the nearest watering hole, you will find that the pace of life and growth of people follow the pace and growth of the land. Contrary to the speed at which electronic information travels or our genetically modified food grows here, we can only expect a slow-paced change and approach in Africa.
In Kenya, they say pole pole, or slowly by slowly. In Zambia, they say panono panono, brick by brick. And truly, that is what characterizes this work. Slowly by slowly we see that Africans are given access to healthcare, to education, to dignity, to opportunity. Brick by brick, there are hospital wings and rain catchment tanks and latrines being built that one by one, slowly by slowly, bring a taste of the new heavens and new earth to both those who live in poverty and to those whose material abundance have made them spiritually poor. We have come to see that the true transformation lies in this slowly by slowly process, a grassroots approach that truly honors the I-Thou relationship, that allows the communities to believe in their own capabilities and take ownership of their own development. It is a daily fight of endurance, courage, and resilience that we see in our friends who wage the long defeat. We are reminded of the new heavens and new earth in the specific stories of place and people and we are inspired in the slow and patient work of ushering in that kingdom.