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Written by Rev. Ron Carlson, Northwest District Superintendent
"I am because we are."
While we are in the middle of this season of interviews and charge conferences, I am also getting ready to travel to Africa University with our Bishop. In the midst of transition and searching for a new normal, I am questioning the sanity of this adventure at this time. There is so much going on here in the district and I will be gone for about two weeks. Often, the preparations and the current reality combine to make me feel almost overwhelmed. Luckily, at those times I am able to remember my first trip to Africa University five years ago.
On one hand, that trip seems so far ago in the past, on the other it seems to have just happened yesterday. To be honest, the trip happened long enough ago that the length of the plane rides has melted into my memory. While the distance traveled was great, it is not what I think of when I recall that trip. What I think of today are the people and the concept of Ubuntu. It is those two things that caused me to jump when the Bishop asked if there were any interested in traveling with her.
The first time my family and I set foot on the campus of Africa University we were overwhelmed by the friendliness of the students, faculty, and staff. We were touched by the work of the orphanage just outside the campus and amazed at the work on the farm done by Larry Kies and his family. We attended a church where we saw what sacrificial giving looked like. It was in Africa that I first began to understand Ubuntu, which can be translated as “I am because we are.” In Africa, the community is greater than the individual and it can be seen throughout the lives of those who live there.
I am seeing these same values here in the Northwest District. In the few interviews and charge conferences that I have already done, I am meeting some wonderful people and hearing about some great ministries. Together we are doing our part to create disciples for the transformation of the world. I am so excited to be here, and I am looking forward to the next many years as we live out our understanding Ubuntu as we love God and love our neighbor. I hope that you will share your stories of ministry success throughout the year, and not just in this time of charge conferences and interviews.