“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” – Psalm 133:1
What makes us different as followers of Jesus? How would an objective observer evaluate my life. Is my love for Jesus evident in my schedule or my financial statements? What about if they considered my relationships? How do I get along with my brothers and sisters? These are questions that I have been wrestling with for years and I don’t have any easy answers. However, one thing is clear: Our faith is validated by our love for one another.
This reality is one reason I am so excited to be part of a “Rooting for Rivals” event sponsored by National Christian Foundation and WaterStone this week. Inspired by the recent book (which I highly recommend) by Christ Horst and Peter Greer, six organizations are coming together to promote each other. Yes, you heard that correctly—to promote each other. In a world where so much of our energy is devoted to promoting our own organizations, or our own agendas, this event challenges us to explore another similar ministry and to “pitch” them to a group of potential donors.
During what has been called a “Reverse Shark Tank,” I will be honored to “pitch” Musana Community Development Organization, while they share about Hope Haven Rwanda. This unique event has already generated many positive outcomes. I was recently honored to travel to Iganga, Uganda, with key members of our leadership team, and my daughter Lindsay, to witness Musana’s incredible work first-hand. They are crushing it in Uganda!
Musana builds and runs social enterprises focused on education, health, and skill development. With 283 Ugandan employees, all of Musana’s projects are led and run by the community. With three schools, Musana educates over 2,000 children and young adults in nursery, primary, and high school. Musana’s unique approach to education is founded on Christian values, incorporating character and leadership, vocational skills, and academics. In 2018, Musana’s primary graduates ranked among the top in the District and Musana was recognized by the Ugandan government as a “center of excellence.”
In addition to schools, Musana operates a 52-bed hospital and skills empowerment training center. As social enterprises, Musana’s schools, hospital, and skill development initiatives run as businesses, providing quality and affordable services to the community. All profits from these projects cycle back into the community. The best part about all this is that these enterprises operate off of 100% locally generated income. These projects generate over $1 million dollars in one of the poorest communities in the world, enabling Musana to be sustainable in Uganda! Musana really is a remarkably well-run and strategic ministry, and it is exciting to see how they are changing the community they have been called to serve.
As part of our ongoing exchange, just last week, we were honored to host six leaders from Musana at Hope Haven in Rwanda. It was like a family reunion! Prior to this event, we knew about each other—now we know each other. Beyond that, we have already been able to learn from each other. We have reviewed best practices, we have commiserated about the challenges of community development work and we have “spurred one another on to love and good deeds” with our friendship and encouragement.
I am so grateful for the Musana team, for Peter and Chris’s book and for my friend Tim MacDonald who has coached us each step of the way in this process. We are excited to see how God moves through this unique event. Maybe this story has prompted you to ask, “Is there a “rival” in my life that I can cheer for this week?” They will know we are Christians by our love…