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Monday, June 14, 2010

Giving and Indigenization - Somewhat Random Thoughts

Russian Countryside

Almost every week we visit the drug rehabilitation center located outside of the city of Balakhna . The center is an outreach ministry of the new church plant in the tri-city area of Balahkna, Gorodets & Zavolzhe. There are typically about 12 people living at the center in various stages of rehab. I usually teach here every Tuesday and then Karen, Sveta and I go to Gorodets where Karen teaches in a house group.

View from the Center

At the center on area of spiritual discipline which is taught is fasting. Every week there is at least one fast day and often there are extended periods of fasting. We have noticed that at times the fasting is done because there simply isn’t always food available. Cornerstone churches operate their rehab centers by faith. There is some income coming in from those who can afford to pay a fee for the rehabilitation course, but others attend for free. There is also income from part-time work which some of the centers find. In addition to this most of the centers have gardens to raise food. However this still at times doesn’t fill all the needs, so people fast.

Karen and I are committed the principle of an indigenous church, one which is self-supporting, self-reproducing and self-led. With that in mind we try to not upset the balance of things by providing things that the churches can provide for themselves. At the same time we at times have resources which we can share which are helpful but do not detract from the indigenous nature of the Cornerstone movement.

We of course teach and preach, but we try to avoid positioning ourselves as the needed “experts”. We occasionally give financial gifts towards projects, if we have the available money. With the help of those who support us we have been able to purchase hundreds of Bibles and books, and we are currently in the process of printing 1000 copies of “The Cross and the Switchblade” for prison outreach.

With all of that said, last week we saw a need and decided we should do something. We purchased several large bags of basic foods and delivered them to the center in order to help them out a bit. We will probably be doing this once a month for the next few months just to get them through some lean times.

The Scriptures teach that if we see a brother or sister in need and we don’t do something to help with that need then we have sinned. There is still a delicate balance between helping with a need and creating an unhealthy dependence upon outside funding. May we all find that balance.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

What an inspiring life you are living! Great post. Thanks for including the pictures. It makes me want to go back to Russia.