Saying Goodbye

Written by: The Bridge on Thursday, April 24th, 2008

…..For now! Ed and Judy are out of here by tomorrow, God willing, they will be safely at home in Crystal Springs on April the 14th. Ed Vetter says this was his shortest stay in Palmgrove yet, having been here for the 8th time; his longest stay was around 7 – 8 months. I recall Lance’s blog in 2006- the one where he said that Ed is leaving for home too and he doesn’t know what he would do without him. Allow Brian and me to pipe up and say the same… “We don’t know how we will manage!” Having been here so many times, he seems to know all the tricks and tips that make black people tick, and situations to work out when they seem impossible. Brian will have it harder than I will, because when someone comes up to me with unreasonable demands, I usually send ‘em to Brian…heh heh.
On the other hand, on a brighter note, of course we have Ed and Anna from Cascade here, old pros! So, from one Ed to the next, so to speak. (UPDATE: Unfortunately, they had to come home too because of health reasons.) Since we are living together we get to enjoy each other’s company, and in the idle times they tell us stories about Palmgrove, how things were in the year 2000.
Brian and Ed Waldner will have to see how they manage with the water plant house. If I had to choose between saying it is working out or not, I think I could say it is! We have to remain optimistic here; no use in being negative about it because what would be the point of anything then? We are now at the point where an inspector came and is very pleased with the setup. Just today Inno and he went to meet the NAFDA people (they take care of registration numbers, etc). So we hope and pray that we are finally at the last stage of this drawn-out project.
Last Sunday we had quite the impressive sermon. Church is usually 2-3 hours, and includes a variety of programs, not like the Hutterite Church gatherings at home. There is singing and clapping, first children’s choir, then young people’s choir. Then “announcements,” which can include most anything… meetings, problems, discipline, scolding , future projects and encouragement. After this, which lasts over an hour, there is the sermon, held by either one or sometimes two ministers. Because of Edward’s impending departure, he was asked to have the sermon. His main message was to management and ministers, sharply admonishing them about the importance of being an example to the sheep in their fold. Lately, we have been having struggles with some of the management, including Inno’s lack of involvement in some community affairs. This can cause leaders’ to treat themselves better than the rest of the Brotherhood, whether they realize it or not. Also, he admonished the husbands and wives and emphasized their roles in a Christian marriage, how they should be a help to each other and should help build a true Christian community. They have to share the same vision and goals for Palmgrove’s future so that their children may carry on this way of life

Showing 18 comments

Joseph/Clearwater said:
On: 24th Apr, 2008 at 14:53

Now that you two are the only ones there, i pray that God will keep you in his care. Praying that everything will work out to the best. Just keep remembering that there are people who think of you. God Bless! Keep safe.

someone you know said:
On: 24th Apr, 2008 at 18:15

I enjoy reading your blogs, every tiny detail. I admire each and every one of you for being able to deal with the situations that rise everyday in palm grove, for being blessed with the strength to deal with people who were raised so differently from us but still have the same loving almighty God. While its still in my heart to go on a mission trip someday, after reading your blogs, i find myself thinking, “could i do this?” Without decent meals and the luxeries that we have here in Canada. I guess you guys realize with how little you can live. Take care ‘palmgrovers’…and God bless you!!

Anonymous said:
On: 24th Apr, 2008 at 19:26

This has got to be the challenge of all! Being there mostly alone. I hope that things will continue to get better, even without the guidance that was pulled out without a warning like that.
God be with you!

Chris/Baker said:
On: 25th Apr, 2008 at 10:13

Hi Leanne & Brian,

There is something I want to share regarding mission. I’ve had this on my mind for many months.

-What are our responsibilities as missionaries?

-What is the most effective agent for implementing lasting change?

Over the past years I’ve asserted the opinion that simply pumping money into a struggling community isn’t the answer. I’m not saying that it’s never helpful, I think it’s a part of the solution, but it’s not paramount.

By observing struggling communities here in Manitoba I’ve come to the conclusion that simply sending money isn’t the solution. Often those struggling communities who ask for a donation have a higher standard of living compared to other successful communities. The problems are much deeper than finances. The solutions lie in the spiritual realm. Growing and solving problems lies in how effectively we delay gratification.

To support my claim I found a missionary by the name of Floyd McClung who is currently serving in the mission field in Cape Town, South Africa.

He writes:

I learned something this past week that really impacted me and confirmed that we are on the right track to make a lasting impact on Africa. I learned that between 1980 and 1988 the US government pumped $83 billion dollars of foreign aid into Sub-Saharan Africa. $83 billion dollars! During that same period of time living standards dropped and infant mortality rose. Once again, we learn that foregin aid does not disciple the hearts and minds of people. God uses people to disciple people.

After forty years of traveling all over the continent of Africa, I am convinced that the hope of changing Africa is a new generation of servant hearted, disciple making leaders. Leaders who think Biblically and act like the New Testament followers of Jesus.

Sally and I are giving our lives to train such leaders who will help lead this continent out of the morass of pain and poverty it is experiencing.

We are greatly inspired by the students who are gathered from 15 nations for CPx, our leadership school here in Cape Town. There are 68 amazing students in our school, 43 from all over Africa. They are the hope of changing Africa!

In three weeks time one of these leaders is launching ‘Explore Africa.’ Explore Africa is an initiative of short term and long term teams throughout the continent…the vision is to change Africa through making disciples, training leaders and planting simple, disciple making, leadership empowering movements. A big part of this will be abstinence “clubs” on university and high school campuses…the clubs will empower and encourage young men and women to live lives of sexual purity, to be disciplined followers of Jesus Christ, and serve as simple disciple making churches on their campuses.

If a new generation of young leaders do not disciple the nations of Africa, the nations will disciple the young leaders!

Another goal of “Explore Africa” is to raise up a new generation of servant leaders who are equipped to disciple nations. Sub-Saharan Africa has been evangelized many times but it has not been discipled. Outsiders can inspire temporary behavior modification in Africans but unless their minds are renewed from animistic world-views to a Biblical world-view the changes are only superficial. Animistic world views combined with poverty imprison people in dependency, hopelessness and a paralyzing victim mentality.

Anonymous said:
On: 25th Apr, 2008 at 21:51

Excellent point chris, but we need to look at the flip side of the argument too were you can also get a flourishing economic invironment going with absolutely no spirituality.

Anonymous said:
On: 26th Apr, 2008 at 13:57

Dear Leane, you write how people always want stuff. I can’t help but notice how similar they are to us, although not surprising! Even though we are blessed with much earthly wealth, we always seem to want more!! What amazes me and not, is how often we still grumble, complain or are dissatisfied! Our wardrobes are over-flowing! Food is abundant, if not overly so! We enjoy many earthly stuff that we could do without, but it still needs to be the best!.. the brand names…the latest!! Yes, some of it is needed, but a lot is not!! From a personal level many of us are living far above our means and needs! When we surrendered our life to Christ and the church, that included all that hard earned cash! It’s His!!! Considering this, my challenge to all of us is, are we not often taking and unreasonably expecting and demanding from our community what is not rightfully our….what belongs to the poor and needy of this world?!! Like Chris, I don’t believe in handouts, but if all our material wealth where to be stripped from us(which I believe will happen some day)would we still be willing to serve our Lord and King with all our heart, soul and mind, as we expect of our Nigerian brethren?!!!

Nelda said:
On: 26th Apr, 2008 at 14:59

Amen Anonymous!! #6

Brian @ Palmgrove said:
On: 28th Apr, 2008 at 11:45

Hi everyone. Just somthing to notice. When I drive to Oyo with one of the Palmgrove young men they sometimes coment on how things are improving. They all praise the changes that the newer goverment has made in the last five years. Thins like garded checkstopes have just about been put away because it alowed curuption. There is constrution just about everyware. I think Africa is improving. At least that is what everyone tells me here. I’ve been here for three months and know little else than what I see and feel. As for the spiritual sittuation people are people. Each and every persone leads a diffrent level of christianity.

dw dc said:
On: 28th Apr, 2008 at 13:59

you know dis blog is always geting bettah and bettah every time…u should get a gallary page where all ur images are posted..would be flippin awethum…anyway just want u to know that what ur doing is something you’ll be proud that u did in the future. with Gods help i hope you can endure till the end
love you all
Gods best and hope you have a lot of fun while you work

Anonymous said:
On: 28th Apr, 2008 at 14:10

To Annonymous: Do you think it is right ….”Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”…..1 thess 11. Palm grove is past needs, they are on wants and if you have wants you should be willing to get off you butt and work for them. God gave you to hands. I think Palm grove is lazzy. Ok, not every one, but most of it. And, if they want to be Christians there is a lot to be said about beeing lazzy in the bible. Time after time they have been given chanses to start ways of making a living, only to have it fall apart. I am not saying we should quit. We should just tell them to get reall! I don’t think your helping anyone in the long run if all you give them is a nice life.

*Smiles* said:
On: 29th Apr, 2008 at 20:07

“I don’t believe in handouts, but if all our material wealth where to be stripped from us(which I believe will happen some day)”. Where exactly have you read or heard this? Prophecizing?
Second of all, who stripped the Nigerians of their wealth?? From what I hear, they’re not willing to work for money and I am sure they could make it work! From what I get from this blog they are very unwilling to work, or anything to obtain any wealth at all. So where exactly does it say it was stripped from them??

Anonymous said:
On: 1st May, 2008 at 15:09

i just want to remind you of the saying ‘you must be the change you wish to see in the world’. you are part of the change in the world by doing what you are in Palmgrove. Keep it up. we are praying for you here. keep on trusting God and believing in yourself. take care!

bruce and leah said:
On: 2nd May, 2008 at 16:48

hi Brian.
Bruce here in crystal.keep up the good work,and do not let the bad or negative overshadow the positives.No one said this would be easy .if it was easy everyone would be doing it.I say rather to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all.
Also one other point that i would like to make is that all the Anonymous comments .are these people ashamed of who they are and what they stand for.if you really are open for some true ,clear opinions or views and beliefs you can not hide.this is who you are.this is what you believe and are willing to take a stand putting your name down you make that crystal clear and are not trying to hide in cyberspace.take it on the chin the odd time but at least have a spine to make a stand on what you believe.anyway keep up the good work and say hi to Leanne.Bruce

Nelda said:
On: 2nd May, 2008 at 22:58


Chris/Baker said:
On: 3rd May, 2008 at 08:02

I agree with Bruce. If someone solicits an opinion have the respect and dignity to leave your name.

By leaving my name on post #4 I’ve had people come up to me and discuss some of the points that I shared. This communal way of decision making and searching for the truth is our strength. By not leaving a name it short-circuits that process.

Happy responsible posting

Ex-missionary said:
On: 3rd May, 2008 at 08:03

The Hutterian Church finds itself in quite a situation regarding Palmgrove. We are willing to help the poor and yet do not want to be taken advantage of. There is a Chinese proverb that many of you know. “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. We have been trying to “teach Palmgrove to fish” for 15 years.
Its a complex situation. A third world country, high unemployment, rampant corruption and a power system that cannot be depended on. These conditions make it difficult for any business to flourish. Yet at the same time there are very successful companies in Akwa Ibom State. What then will it take in order for Palmgrove to become successful ? Naturally in order for anything to succeed there has to be dedication, honesty and hard work. Teaching these principles to the people of Palmgrove is one of the most important responsibilities our missionaries there have. The people of Palmgrove already know the gospel. I can assure you they know there bibles as well or better then you do. But how to “live out the bible” in their lives here on earth is something they still struggle with. In this area they really need people they can look to who will “live it out for them” and in whose life’s they see a reflection of what it truly means to be sons and daughters of God.
As Chris/Baker quoted “God uses people to disciple people”.

leanne said:
On: 3rd May, 2008 at 08:32

hi everyone!

thanks again for the comments, much appreciated. lazy? for sure you can call some Palmgrove ppl lazy, but it’s like at home. Some people in the community work hard all day, some don’t like work and try to avoid it. admittedly each of you can say that you know people who you figure “don’t deserve” all the “free handouts” available in Hutterite living? That is how it is here too. I can say, some days it’s very discouraging when they seem to not want to work atall, but from what i can see it’s a lack of commitment and a lack of management on the whole structure and idea of communal living. So we pray for strength to continue the journey!

JJS/Odanah said:
On: 3rd May, 2008 at 11:45

Anonymous #6….Some thinking/questioning… It could be reality someday,(i hope not) loosing our materialistic gains. How many times has it happened in our Church’s history? Moving, leaving everything for the divine truth? (will it never agin happen) I often try to imagine how we would react, how I would react? We have so many “forsakers” now, how many will there be then??

Materialistic things aren’t all bad if we appreciate and use them accordingly. And not let it alter our main focus in life. Life in a 1st World country is good, but it also gives us a greater advantage to reachout to the less fortunate ones. So Leanne and Brian…. stay strong in mind, body, and soul. You’re never to far from our hearts and minds, although separated by many miles.