Sustainability of Community...an Introduction

“But he answered one of them and said ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’ So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Along with the American Dream, the nuclear family, hot-dogs on the grill and the Cubbies with the pennant, we are conditioned to “A honest days wage for an honest days work.” We have an inclination that we deserve a set rate of compensation for what we produce on a daily basis. We incorporate this into our job offers, our family planning, our vacation preparations, but I think this serves to perpetuate the “me-mentality.” Perhaps this is a cultural formation, which conditions us to hesitate to ask for help, to rely on others, to invoke community. And as we fight nail and tooth to get a piece of what is ours, who really suffers, what is the collateral damage to method of thinking?  For this, I do not have the answer.

I do know here in Mozambique, amidst a country in the financial peril and scandal, there are no guarantees.  No assurance that at the end of the 40 hour work week there will be a paycheck to support the family.  No assurance of food on the table, fees for school, or available medicines at the pharmacy.  The greatest distributed compensation for “an honest days work” is merely hope. Hope there will one day be enough to trickle down to the average labor. Here it is better to show up everydayto a job which cannot pay you, because the hope of one day getting paid is better than the stark reality of having no options.  It is in this time of disparity, one’s community is of the upmost importance.

Community at it’s core is a statement which expresses “Not of myself and not alone, but built on the strength and love of many.” Tasks that may prove to be unattainable for one are accomplished through the sharing with many.  Support is given to bolster a weakened community member, the weight of burden spread to make bearable the load.  Community is an orchestra of values; emotions, directives and goals blended together producing a cacophony of care to each who participates. Members band together to feed the hungry and care for the orphan and widow, just as called upon by Jesus.  And it is a beautiful thing. 

Households in Mozambique will often find not just husband and wife and children, but the presence of extended family.  It is not uncommon to have sisters, grandchildren, brother-in-laws, cousins, nieces, all banding together to survive in the same space, the same community.  When one is elevated and rewarded, all benefit.  A beautiful design of the Kingdom of Heaven! Yet, community is a living being and needs nourishment, culture and care.

This week Elizabeth and I announced an opportunity to share in mission called “Sustainability of Community.” (View the video here)  It is a chance to expand our personal community and ensure a continued success of our fellow man and woman here at Chicuque Rural Hospital.  An opportunity to facilitate how “The last will be first, and the first will be last.”

November 29th, 2016 is Giving Tuesday.  After we have stormed the stores on Black Friday and surfed the internet on Cyber Monday, we relegate Tuesday to philanthropy.  This Tuesday, every donation made to the hospital through the Advance Project will be earmarked for the cultivation of the community through staff compensation.  Every dollar donated will be used to provide security and relieve worry for a household connected to Chicuque Rural Hospital. This is how we need your help!

The average employee salary at the hospital is $84.16 per month.  For $1,009.92 a year, a family is supported and can be sustained.  The ripple effect of having a steady income to put back directly into the community reaches past the walls of this hospital, past the families of the employees and into the whole of Inhambane Province.  There are no large corporations to ferry the dollars away, the money earned here stays here.  It will become a revolving door where the community will maintain and care for itself.

Mark you calendars for Tuesday, November 29th.  Plan now to commit to expanding your community to ours in Mozambique.  Let us become a community who shares in the burdens and in the successes.  Throughout this month we will be highlighting employees and families.  We will get to know whom our brothers and sisters in Christ are as we grown in community not bound by proximity. Let us pledge to take the hope of fair compensation, to the reality of Sustainable Community.