Did you know that for every 100 of the richest youth, only 37 of the poorest youth complete lower secondary (middle) school?
Did you know that before the Coronavirus pandemic began, an estimated 258 million children, adolescents, and youth--17% of the global total--were not in school?
This is a picture of what education looks like in the world today.
Like many of you, I have a heart for education. Not just education, but transformative education that is rooted and grounded in the love of Jesus Christ. I dedicate my energy, effort, and experience to bless children through the gift of education.
Through B2THEWORLD, our mission is to bless children, families, and communities in countries recovering from war and devastation through transformative education. Our work spans from Kigali International Community School in Rwanda, to a partnership with three schools in Pakistan, to the annual Global Educators Gathering in Kigali where we train and develop education leaders in the Majority World.
In the story of Joshua, Moses died on the verge of entering the Promised Land. After Moses died, God prompted Joshua to lead the people to inherit the land He has for them. Joshua went to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, who were already in their inheritance. Joshua invites and commands these tribes to help their brothers until they, too, can receive their inheritance. He invites them to cross over ahead, with their best warriors and assistance, for their brothers.
Many of us have so much, yet there are so many brothers and sisters around the world doing incredible work in Christian education who could use a little of our help.
Consider the following three practices to help our brothers and sisters in the Majority World inherit the land that God has for them.
Practice 1: Pray persistently.
Pray for people, pray for places, and pray for provision. As we seek to engage in this broken world, we may not be able to physically get to every place, especially in the midst of COVID, but we can pray for our brothers and sisters engaged in Christian education globally. When we see terrible reports out of Yemen, Syria, Sudan, and North Korea, we can pray for the children there and we can pray for school leaders.
In addition to praying for places, I also pray for partners in the gospel work. People doing amazing work that I may never get to interact with but a few times in my life. I pray for God’s provision, God’s presence, and God’s power to be real in their lives.
Practice 2: Partner proactively.
Be present to people where your strength matches their opportunities. The strengths that come naturally for you can often be an enormous stretch for someone else. Share your strengths with others and be a blessing as a partner with them in the great work of Christian education.
When we moved to Kigali seven years ago, a Ugandan man named Benjamin was leading a school in Burundi and we became connected through ACSI friends as Benjamin and his team were navigating their accreditation process. Benjamin and I spent many hours together helping, listening, and sharing practices that worked for us. Since then, we’ve stayed in touch and now connect on a regular basis. During each conversation, we exchange and learn from each other. Benjamin invited me to help him as he navigated changing schools and developing a school from the ground up in Uganda.
Another partner, Ashraf, was also introduced to me through an ACSI connection. Five years after a simple introductory email, we maintain a strong partnership in education. He serves some of the most vulnerable people in the world: Pakistani children of Christians who are in bonded labor as brickmakers and street cleaners.
These brothers and sisters are persecuted for their faith and oppressed every single day.
Practice 3: Provide pragmatically.
I’ve been able to step into areas of real need for Benjamin and Ashraf. For Benjamin, I’ve been a coach as he navigated accreditation and a job transition. I’ve invited him to the conferences I lead in Kigali.
With Ashraf, I’ve created a formal partnership between our two organizations. In addition to praying for him, we’ve provided scholarships for his graduates to go to college. These funds are literally life changing. None of his students who continue on to college will be brickmakers or street cleaners, nor will their children be. For only $1,000 a year--the cost of college in Pakistan--we’ve helped break the cycle of bonded labor in their families.
Additionally, we’ve visited Ashraf and he’s visited us. He’s been engaged in this work for over 25 years, and yet he told us we are the first Christians who have come to visit him. I’ve shared the gifts of presence, time, and finances with him. I’ve also been able to help him with leadership development of his team and strategic planning. Through ongoing conversations, we’ve helped each other find clarity in our work and make plans to meet the present challenges.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, B2THEWORLD raised additional funds for the families that Ashraf serves in Pakistan. The funds helped over 500 families receive food rations. When they were ignored and overlooked by the government, we engaged our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world.
There are various ways we can provide for each other pragmatically in addition to prayer. Is it a financial gift? Is it a gift of a relationship? Is it a gift of an introduction or a connection?
Consider the end of Joshua, Chapter 22: Joshua blesses the two and a half tribes who came to help him. In verses 2-4, Joshua tells them that they’ve done all they’ve been commanded to do. Rather than desert their brothers and sisters, they instead carried out the mission God gave them. They helped pragmatically by standing in the gap for their brothers and sisters.
What might our brothers and sisters in Christian education around the world need right now? How might we be able to stand in the gap for them?
As you consider engaging with our brothers and sisters in Christian Education in the Majority World, I pray this helps give you a frame for what this might look like. If you’d like to go deeper, please email me at email@example.com as I’d love to pray persistently for you, partner proactively with you, and provide pragmatically on the pathway God is providing for you.
You have so much to offer. I’d love to help connect you with some incredible Christian leaders who are doing great work in our broken world.
God bless you.