This past week was the most thought provoking, and challenging week of teachings thus far. Colleen Milstein works with the Women & Children’s Advocacy Center, and has been all over the world working in communities, and doing trainings and teachings. On the first day, she started by telling us, “if you want to change the world, it is stinking hard!” She was so real and honest with us about what it takes to get a community to become followers of Jesus.
She shared about the 8 spheres of society : Family, Education, Government, Economics, Science and Technology, Arts, Communications/Media, Church. I have heard teachings about the spheres of society, and Colleen went into great depths showing how a community that is learning to follow Jesus, needs Jesus in every area of their lives, and not just one area.
She talked about how when she worked in the slums of South Africa, she led a Bible study, but the majority of the women were prostitutes. She needed to figure out a way to create jobs for these women, because they wanted God and to live a holy life, but they needed to eat. Prostituting themselves was the only way they knew how to do this. When I asked her, how do you create jobs in a community, she explained that it is different for every situation. Letting the Holy Spirit guide you is key in working with a community.
The most challenging thing to me was when she began talking about money. She explained how it is a Westerner’s world view that we need to be financially responsible and take care of ourselves. But allowing everything to go through that world view is not Biblical. This is when I started asking questions, and respectfully challenging what she was teaching. As I read the Bible, I see that it is our responsibility to be good stewards of our money, and invest and save widely. She told me that, yes, that is Biblical, but it is not the foundation of what we believe. Our foundation is obedience to Jesus. So if we feel God leading us to give all our money to the poor, and invest in them with no back up plan, and we are 100% sure that is what the Lord is leading us to do, it doesn’t fit with our Western worldview, but it goes with the Biblical world view.
The teaching was done via Skype, and we were all packed into a little area to learn from Colleen. I thoroughly enjoyed the interactive type of class setting, as Colleen encouraged us to ask questions and become involved in her teaching. I asked questions about money, about jobs, about the church leadership’s responsibility in a community, and after hearing her speak I feel like I will be much more effective in whatever community God sends me to work with. I am still planning on going to Zimbabwe for the 6 month internship, and am in the process of getting details arranged. It is exciting to learn what I am learning, and then have the opportunity to go and put it into practice.