says Dr. Fountain as we conclude one of our 30 lessons on how to improve health, agriculture, culture and community. Over the past three days I have been in a classroom with 22 doctors, surgeons, nurses and their spouses (whoops, I must have overlooked the fact that this training was aimed at health care professionals) and learned more than I ever would have imagined from Dr. Daniel Fountain. He gained his experience (and a million and one amazing stories) over the 35 years he spent working with his wife in the Democratic Republican Congo (DRC). To be honest, he had me hooked (and feeling more comfortable about being the only teacher in the room) from the moment he began. Let me paraphrase what he shared with us…
“God has put it on all of your hearts to provide health to needy people in many parts of the world. Let me tell you, you will NOT be able to make people healthy without teaching them proper nutrition and how to be sanitary. They will not have access to proper nutrition unless you teach them the agricultural skills necessary to grow their food. And, by the way, you won’t be able to teach them anything at all until you understand their culture and community. The only way to learn about and understand these things is by forming relationships with these people. To form relationships, you must let them share their stories– the story of their culture, their beliefs, their values, etc. And then, and only then, will you be able to begin to share your story and God’s story. God’s story, the Bible, will then provide all of you with ALL of the directions for health, agriculture, culture, and community.”
Wow. Nope, I don’t think I’ll get bored!
I agreed with everything he was saying- I know the importance of forming relationships, especially when teaching. It makes sense that you can only teach someone after you understand where they are coming from and after they trust you; I experience this everyday! However, I was a little skeptical when he told us that the Bible provides instructions for EVERYTHING. I mean, really? I know that Jesus teaches us how we should treat people and proverbs tells us a lot about how we should raise our children and live our lives, but surely it isn’t all encompassing? But that discussion is enough for an entire new post…
Back to his opening comment. The things he said really make sense to me. We can’t help people heal unless we are in relationship with them! From that point on, I didn’t feel a bit intimidated by the room full of doctors– Relationships, community, culture? Those are the things that are on my heart. I praise God for bringing me here and letting me learn from someone with so much personal experience! To top it off, everything we are talking about fits right in with what I have been learning about Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) and what I expect to learn in Community Health Evangelism (CHE). How wonderful that I God is working to equip me with the skills to help the people of Sudan to have “life more abundantly!”
It sounds as if you had a great experience and learned a lot. I have no doubt that God is guiding your every step as you prepare for this journey. A year ago I didn’t understand when you told me you felt the call to become a missionary. Now I understand how well God has equipped you to serve His people. I am very proud of the woman you have become.
Love you bunches,
Great stuff wasn’t it and you have a nice summary of our week. It was nice meeting you and I look forward to seeing what God will do through you this summer.
Elizabeth, I see you mention “CHE” at the end of your post. Where did you hear about it? I’d love to hear more.