Written by Reesheda Washington
As I went into the CHIC experience, I must admit that I had some reservations about how powerful my particular workshop, the one I was planning to facilitate, would be. I had certainly prepared a plan that included “Journey to Jamaa,” a tale based on a true story, which allowed viewers a glimpse into what life could be like for children who faced poverty without their parents. I wanted viewers to suspend their urge to “fix it”—to solve the problem so that everyone (including us who were in the room) could feel happy again. At a conference like CHIC, one where the energy is high and attendees are celebrating the love of Jesus, I wondered how a workshop like mine would go over—a workshop where the objective is to “sit in the story,” and not a very happy one, mind you.
I remember feeling a little anxious each time I asked the audience to suspend the urge to find solutions to the challenges depicted in the film. Rather than find a solution, I encouraged participants to identify with one character depicted in the film and take the journey with that character, as though they themselves were the characters in the film, void of thoughts of how to “fix the problem.” This process, I knew, would evoke difficult emotions, ones I presumed contrary to the excitement and joy embodied by the CHIC experience. Nonetheless, each participant allowed him/herself to have the heart of the characters from Journey to Jamaa, and as a result, a transformative move of the Spirit took place.
Mark Severson, pastor of Hillcrest Covenant Church had this to say: “It was a powerful reminder that there are still so many people precious to God in profoundly broken places. It also made me proud of my brothers and sisters in Congo and compelled to expand our partnership with them in this life-giving work.”
We walked in the shoes of our brothers and sisters. We rested in the hurting places of their journey; and when we finally allowed ourselves to move into “the helping place,” all were willing to do their part!
As a result, two other participants shared their information as ones who are willing to help spread the word about Covenant Kids Congo and even travel to Congo to serve! Still another pastor, one who had been questioning how much emphasis he should place on missions as his congregation planned for the upcoming year, was confirmed in his vision to give it everything he has!
In conclusion, my perception of the context for CHIC was deepened, strengthened, and enriched through my facilitation of “Journey to Jamaa.” My Covenant brothers and sisters who took part in the workshop were willing to suspend their joy to “go deeper” on behalf of our Congolese brothers and sisters. As a result, we have a better love, respect, and appreciation for Congo, our Congolese family, ourselves, and one another, and that transformation gave us all a global camaraderie that led to an ever more profound joy in the end.
Glory to God for the opportunity to learn, grow, and raise consciousness of our need to know each other more deeply and only then, serve with a humble heart.