Our Life in Sweden

Jonathan & Sofia Morgan

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Category: Jesus (page 1 of 2)

Things we’ve learned

This year we have some big changes ahead of us, which we’ll fill you in on in another blog post. All this talk of change got us reflecting on the lessons we’ve learned in the two and a half years since we left Europe. Here are some of the big ones:

Coaching vs Handouts

One of the big assumptions that we westerners make about the majority world is that they just need more stuff (money, clothes, etc). Oftentimes these places are rich in resources but poor in education and good leadership. Coaching encourages people to ask ‘what do I have’ instead of ‘what do I lack?’ and sets them on a course towards seeing themselves as agents of change.

Work yourself out of a job

It’s challenging to be surrounded by so much need and it’s easy to start to think that you are the answer, especially when you might have been privileged with education, experience and skills. We’ve learned that if you want to see lasting change, it’s better to go slow and make sure you pass on your knowledge to someone who’s going to be around long after your visa expires. Preferably someone from the community who speaks the language and knows the culture.

Never stop learning

When working in a culture that’s not our own we’ve realized it’s important to have the attitude of a learner. That means asking questions more than you try to give answers. It also means spending a lot of time hanging out with people, although it doesn’t always feel “productive.” One of the things we wish we’d done from day 1 is to have learned one of the local languages. Doing this would have helped us build deeper relationships and understand the culture better.

Bottom-up change

The best, most long lasting change is bottom-up, rather than top-down. It’s when people and communities take responsibility for the neighbours and circumstances around them. Top-down change is about coercion, about doing something because there’s a rule that says “you must…” Bottom-up change encourages communities to grow. It draws out leaders on a micro level.

Servant leadership

We’ve already touched on it a little, but our favourite type of leadership is servant leadership. It’s no mistake that Jesus told his disciples that the one who wants to be first should be the servant of all. He knew that leading through humility, through putting others first, has power. It speaks into people’s hearts rather than just their sense of obligation.

Have fun

It felt as if we moved to Kommetjie just at the right time. A hectic work season, intense house situation as well as having lived in a township – where you can’t escape the harshness of poverty, all got too much for us. Our surfing friends here inspired us to enjoy life to it’s full and we realized that we couldn’t sustain our work if we didn’t have an outlet. Now we try to look for fun and adventure wherever we go.

Pray a lot

We’ve prayed a lot more this year for the things that have been on our hearts. It’s been a wild journey and we’ve re-learned that change happens when we pray with passion. Although we’ve seen many answered prayers, circumstances changed dramatically, the best lesson has been that we’ve experienced a change inside of ourselves – new perspectives, clarity, peace, hope and joy have all come as a result of praying. God is good!


The Three Loves

IMG_0571One of the ways that we measure if our community is being all it can be is to look at it alongside what we call The Three Loves:

  • Loving God
  • Loving each other
  • Loving the world

Sometimes a community of faith majors on one or two of these loves, and not all three. Here’s what happens if you leave out one:

Leave out Loving Each Other

We’ve had times in our community where we are really focussed on loving the world and loving God, but barely giving our community life any attention at all. Our relationships become shallow and collegial, rather than those of a loving family.

Leave out Loving The World

Other communities I know are great at loving God and loving each other, but they don’t want to go anywhere near the world. Some are afraid of the world and what it might do to them! When this happens, we open up the door to becoming super spiritual and inward. A church that doesn’t have an outward focus will soon be overrun with politics and infighting.

Leave out Loving God

Finally, some communities neglect the loving God part of the equation. They have great friendships and they serve the community around them energetically, but all their energy and vision comes from within themselves. Operating like this encourages burnout and spiritual shallowness.

At regular intervals we ask ourselves “how are we doing?” in relation to The Three Loves, to try and ensure that we don’t lose balance.

How’s your community doing? Have you experienced times when one of the Loves has been left out? What happened?

An answer to prayer!

Här har ni den delen av vårt Baby Safe team som jobbar i Masiphumelele (den andra halvan är i Ocean View). Varje torsdag har vi teammöte och denna torsdag stod det något särskilt spännande på dagordningen:

I oktober förra året hörde en kvinna från Masi av sig till oss. Hon hade sett en död bebis, slängd bland soporna, i utkanten av Masi (Wetlands), och var mycket illa berörd. Med stort hjärta och engagemang vill hon nu hjälpa att nå ut till fler gravida kvinnor, de som vi i dagsläget inte når, fram för allt i området som kallas Wetlands. Vi har länge vetat att detta område är särskilt utsatt och att vi inte lyckats nå kvinnorna där så väl som vi velat. P.g.a den grova brottsligheten har vi inte kunnat röra oss tryggt och obehindrat i detta område och vi har insett att vi (av många olika anledningar) behöver fler från Masi i teamet som kan hjälpa till. Hennes tips; flygblad med fokus på gratis kaffe och kakor!

Den 22e Februari drar vi igång den första föreläsningen/workshopen i Masiphumelele Community Hall och hoppas få kontakt med kvinnorna från Wetlands.

Länge har vi hållit utkik efter, längtat och bett efter att hitta fler eldsjälar från Masiphumelele och här är hon nu! Att hon dessutom kom och sökte upp oss hör inte till vanligheterna, oftast är det tvärt om. Ett klockrent bönesvar! Nu blir det spännande 🙂 Watch this space!

* * *

Here’s the part of the Baby Safe team that work in Masiphumelele (Masi), the other half is in Ocean View. We have team meetings every Thursday and this week we’re planning something really exciting:

In October, last year, a woman from Masi made contact with us. She’d seen a dead baby amongst the rubbish in the outskirts of Masi, called the Wetlands. She was horrified and wanted to find a way to work against this. She’s eager to help Baby Safe to try and reach the women that we’re currently not reaching, focusing on the Wetlands. We’ve known for some time that this area has great need and women who might not have heard about our services, but because of the level of crime it’s felt too dangerous to walk around there and we really wanted a local to lead the way. Her advice: coffee, cake and flyers to attract them!

So on the 22nd of February we’ll kick off our workshop at the Masiphumelele Community Hall with the hope to reach pregnant women & new mothers in the Wetlands!

For a long time we’ve prayed and looked out for more enthusiastic Masi locals to join us in the Baby Safe. And here she was, approaching us, a real exciting answer to prayer!

A long awaited update

Hello friends!

We’ve been busy with various happenings one of them being visit from Sofia’s family. We’ve also started a course that will enable us to continue our work with the Baby Safe. We’ll be learning about: sustainable development, living out Jesus’ teachings, micro enterprise and working cross-culturally. During this time we’ll continue working with the Baby Safe.

Baby Safe remains eventful and has been able to provide place of safety for two abandoned babies in the last couple of months. While Sofia’s family was here a baby boy of approximately 7 months was left at one of the  police stations in the area. We had the privilege to collect the little one and place him in with a foster family. The mother later came forward and the story was a tragic reality of teenage pregnancy, desperate financial struggles and a dysfunctional family situation. We’re now awaiting court proceedings to make a final decision about where the baby shall be placed.

On Thursday at 11.30 a five month old baby girl was left in the baby safe. She’s now safe with a foster family awaiting adoption proceedings.

(The baby below is not a Baby Safe client. He is Oisa, baby of our friend Noseviwe)

Hej vänner!

De senaste månaderna har vi haft fullt upp med olika åtaganden, där höjdpunkten bestod av besök från Sofia’s pappa och syster (klicka här för bilder). Vi har också påbörjat en kurs som kommer möjliggöra fortsatt arbete med Baby Safe och kommer utveckla våra kunskaper inom bl a hållbarhetsutveckling, små företagande i utvecklingsländer, att arbeta i en mångkulturell miljö och att efterfölja Jesus Kristus undervisning.

Baby Safe har under de senaste två månaderna haft förmånen att kunna ge två övergivna bebisar ett nytt tryggt hem. När Sofias familj var här fick vi åka och hämta upp en liten pojke på sju månader på polisstationen och skjutsa honom till ett familjehem. Mamman har nu gett sig till känna och beslutet att lämna hennes bebis präglades bl a av faktorer som tonårsgraviditet, ekonomisk utsatthet, och svåra hemförhållanden. Vi väntar nu på att rätten ska fatta beslut om var bebisen skall placeras.

I Torsdags kl 11.30 på förmiddagen ringde den faktiska Baby Safe lådan upp Baby Safe’s jour telefon. När vår personal kom till platsen fanns mycket riktigt en liten bebis, en flicka på ca 5 månader , i lådan. Flickan är nu i ett familjehem där hon tryggt kan få bo tills adoptionsprocessen är avklarad.






Our reading at the Cardiff Vineyard carol service

Thanks to the wonders of technology, we were able to make an appearance at Cardiff Vineyard‘s carol service on Sunday afternoon. Now that the event is over, you can check it out below…

A special thank you goes out to Bruce and Nosiviwe for reading!

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