Unity in Diversity
A metaphorical mountain in South Africa’s Western Cape, East Mountain is a community focused on developing leaders. We span four generations, meld five cultures (so far), and blend six languages. Diverse is who we are. Diverse, yet learning what it means to be of one mind and one Spirit. To live and function in an atmosphere with such contrasts is challenging. It is also a source of blessing.
As the “old couple” of East Mountain, Phil and I bring experience in two non-profits and a previous mission which entails water-well drilling, ESL, theological education by extension (TEE), and training and discipling national church leaders. Our lives have criss-crossed Papua New Guinea, South Korea, Swaziland, Peru, People’s Republic of China, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Now here in the mountains to the east of Cape Town, we see East Mountain’s position is ideal for its vocation. To train up the next generation as missional leaders we need to be strategically located among townships, small farming communities, gated communities, large land-holdings, and near educational institutions. We cannot “be all things to all men” if we are not accessible. Our values – shared influence, partner-resourced, multi-cultural, and life-long learning – are reinforced by our diversity and location.
Above all, being community-centric helps us follow what we believe to be Christ’s model of life on life relationships. So how do we do this and what makes us thrive? The quick knee-jerk response is: because we love what we do. True, we have the privilege of being passionate about what East Mountain offers. But thriving comes within the ambience of community, not its activity.
Recently, while working with an intern, our conversation turned to the enigmatic verse in the 1 Corinthians: “Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Upon reflection, I saw a glimmer of light that we in East Mountain are working towards. Trust and hope breed a healthy sense of security. We don’t have it right yet, and we have plenty of conversations, but they are the mortar which holds our bricks in place. Protecting each other and persevering with one another contribute to an atmosphere in which every member can thrive.
By: Karen Dubert, Serving in South Africa