26 February 2015

In Need of Bones!

Administration - not the most inspiring of words to many it’s safe to say.  Thoughts of repetition, boredom and stifled creativity come to mind  for those who are least motivated to live by structured organisation or careful planning!  There are, however, some who embrace the concepts of such ordered environments or methods with delight and joyful anticipation, and find the art of good administration a source of much peace and fulfilment.  Yes, administration can be considered an art by some!

Admin may get a bad rap from many, but in fairness, much of our vision and creativity will never find a way to be fulfilled without it.  We could compare it to the skeleton of our bodies - all the vision, passion and creativity we wish to express in physical movement is seen from the outside, but without the skeleton to support and provide structure to our skin, muscles and sinews, our ideas and expressions would simply be a big fleshy puddle on the floor!  Administration is not supposed to be a black hole where freedom and passion are swallowed up - it is a tool by which our dreams can take shape and form, in order to come alive!
Behind many a successful visionary or entrepreneur, is a good administrator.  Someone who is gifted to create and maintain the form and structure that will give substance to the dream, not only as it is pioneered, but also as it grows and develops.   Good administration will expand and flex and adjust within the vision, allowing the mission to move forward and become more than ‘the sum of its parts’.

Through the work of You People My People, we have increasingly become aware of those with a God given vision and mission, but are finding it hard because of a lack of help with administration.  It’s not as difficult to raise money for people who are preaching the gospel, helping the poor or fighting for a just cause.  But how inspired are we when asked to give so someone can be paid to handle emails, mailings, newsletters, reports, accounts, websites...?  Without someone taking care of everyday and routine tasks, these responsibilities become burdens, left to the one carrying the vision.

In 1 Corinthians 12:28, Paul is listing the kinds of people God has gifted the church with:
“And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.”
Various translations use other words like governments, managers, organisers, provide guidance, those who can get others to work together, and those skilled in administration, to translate the Greek.  The point being, ones who perform such tasks are just as much a spiritual gift from God as any of the others listed here.

12 February 2015

Coffee and Cake in Nazareth...

An interview with Rania Sayegh, the Director of House of Prayer and Exploits (HOPE) in Nazareth.

It was raining as we drove along Highway 60 towards Nazareth. But rain is always a blessing in Israel. After the long, arid summer months, the land is crying out for refreshment and the country's water reserves are often disconcertingly low. So, we thanked God for the rain and also for the opportunity to be in Nazareth once again. We were visiting with Rania, an Arab believer who is not only a General in the Spirit but also a spiritual mother to a vibrant group of young people in her home town. She is also a catalyst for bringing Arab and Jewish believers together for strategic prayer events and building unity in the Land of Israel. Her heart for Israel, for both the Arab and Jewish communities is like the much needed rain that refreshes and nourishes the dry ground.

We sat together in a modern, bistro-style cafe with gorgeous views overlooking Nazareth. "You have to try these cakes," persuaded Rania, "Do you trust me?" She ordered creme brulee and a coffee/chocolate mousse. They were beautifully presented and tasted heavenly!

We asked her how things have been going with the young people she mentors and she told us she has been teaching a course about personality types. They have been meeting together each week at the House of Prayer in Nazareth (HOPE). The course describes the strengths and weaknesses of different personalities and how to deal with them. Rania told us it is helping the youth to not only discover themselves better but also to understand each other so they can work out their differences and interact better as a team.

"Then, we can walk in grace and love each other -  to see the differences in each other in a positive way with a good attitude. It helps the youth to discover themselves, 'Why am I doing this? Why am I struggling in that? Why can't I get on with this person?' The course also gives a parallel description of different personalities in the Bible and how God used that personality type with its strengths and weaknesses, but also about how their calling matched their personality too. The Lord does not ignore your personality - he is the one who puts the desires in your heart."

We asked her to tell us more about the young people she is working with.

"Some I have been working with for years and some are new. Some moved on to university or to other cities. Most are young adults, 19 and above. About 5 of them are 15 and above. One young kid comes every week now. He is 12 years old. Every week, he comes to the House of Prayer and drags along his sister who is 24. He tells her, 'I want to go to the House of Prayer.' He encounters the Lord there. He paints prophetically. He sits in the presence of the Lord for hours. His sister used to come all the time to the House of Prayer and once she brought her brother because there was no babysitter. He came and the Lord touched him. He was weeping and I was worried something had happened to him. I went over to him, hugged him and asked him, Habibi, are you OK? Is everything good? He said, 'Yes, I feel the Holy Spirit, I feel heat on me.' It was really special."

Rania with Amal, one of her young staff members.
Two of the young women Rania has been mentoring for several years have taken on positions of responsibility at HOPE. They lead several prayer watches each week and help with the 24 hours of prayer that HOPE facilitates every month. "I have talented young women, quality." Rania shared, "They are leaders. They will be leaders of leaders. So, I am mentoring them."  Last year, she took them with her to the Isaiah 19 conference in Cyprus. The experience of meeting believers from all over the Middle East and seeing how God is orchestrating his purposes throughout the region was an invaluable experience for them. As well as her young staff, Rania is joined by other local Arab believers who help her with mentoring and training the youth.

She continued to share with us,