Some milestones and milestone look grand. You get a graduation party, a family dinner, or at least a zoom call. They are “loud”, clearly visible to the world around you. But other milestones don’t look spectacular, they are subtle, maybe even “silent”. Today, I hit one of those “silent”, yet major milestones: Today, I finished writing my very last school assignment for my university education, my master’s thesis! I’ve been in school since I was 6 years old, and in universities since I was 18. And as of today, I have no more exams to complete! But I had to be aware of this moment, or else I would have missed it: The paper wasn’t printed yet. It wasn’t announced. My graduation ceremony will (hopefully) be in 2 months. And yet, when I sat alone in my messy room and pressed “export to pdf” on my word document, it was significant: From now on, the paper is a file you can no longer change. And it’s ready for me to put on a stick and print out and hand in at the secretary’s office. It doesn’t look huge. But it’s a “silent milestone”, worthy of notice. What “silent milestones” may you be experiencing, and do you notice them? God bless you as you take time to celebrate them. Even if all you can do is eat a pizza with a friend on zoom or take a long walk. Whatever it is, I appreciate you in your “silent milestone”. :)
For those of you who are curious to know: The paper has 93 pages and took 3 months to complete. It’s basically about “how the local church can help the local Poor by getting them to help themselves” (the German readers among you might be able to catch a glimpse from the pictures). Another way to put it is “change poverty by changing the story of the community”. Specifically, I analyzed a church and community development process called “Umoja” by the Organziation “Tearfund UK”. The premise is that the community goes from expecting outsiders to solve their problems to finding their own resources and abilities to build their own community. The church’s role in this particular method is to initiate conversation with the community and show them the vision of who they (the church and community together) are in God’s eyes. This is regardless of what religious groups you may find: Part of poverty alleviation is to change worldviews (the “stories” of people’s minds), so a conversation about religion/deep mindsets is important. The underlying concepts are complicated, yet Umoja manages to break them down in a very practical way through fun exercises, small group conversations, reading the Bible together (small groups within the church and if appropriate, with the community), etc. I really enjoyed the topic, so it was a good time. I think the topic of helping the poor and community work with the church will stay with me somehow. And it will be creative, too. Who knows where the road will lead (especially now, who can tell?), but I look ahead with anticipation.