I’m super proud of the fact that The 410 Bridge is celebrating another anniversary. 11 years…wow! The impact on both sides of the bridge has exceeded my expectations and I’m as excited as ever for the next eleven.
As I reminisce about the good, the bad, and the ugly since September ‘06, I began thinking about some of the things I wish I knew then, that I’ve come to learn now. Who knows… Maybe you’re thinking about starting a non-profit and maybe you’ll find this helpful.
So here they are… Eleven things I didn’t know 11 years ago… (candor & humor included)
1) I had no idea how difficult it would be (and still is…) for us (the West) to separate what we give, and how we give it, from our desire to feel good about ourselves.
2) The power of understanding that the poor are not problems to be solved… They are the solution.
3) How eager local, rural churches in the developing world are to unify and work together. And how difficult, seemingly impossible, it is to unify the Western church to work together.
4) How overly concerned short-term mission teams are on what they do, rather than who they are doing it with. It seems we’d prefer to do for people, then with people.
5) That we rise and fall on our definitions. I wish I knew from the beginning the importance of properly defining words like “poverty”, “development”, and “partnership.”
6) How fun it is to teach people to hypnotize a chicken! Yep, I can hypnotize chickens… In fact, I (along with 13 awesome kids from a children’s home in Kenya) claim the world’s record of the most hypnotized chickens at one time (14) – please contact me if you would like to challenge my record.
7) What happens when an entire rural village realizes that they don’t need help from outsiders to continue their journey of development. Take a look at the stories of Kwambekenya The 410 Bridge is sharing this week. They speak for themselves.
8) The power that a Biblical worldview has on a poor community’s ability to break the cycle of poverty.
9) That I’d have memorized the seat map for just about every international flight to/from East Africa, know exactly which seats were acceptable, and if unavailable, just might make me change my travel plans.
10) How we underestimate the capabilities of the poor.
11) The critical difference between sustainability and indigenous sustainability.
I’m sure the next 11 years will be full of learning experiences as God continues to allow me to serve through The 410 Bridge. It’s the best gig ever…
Kurt Kandler is the founder and Executive Director of The 410 Bridge. He is passionate not only about breaking the cycle of poverty in communities where The 410 Bridge works, but but also for changing the paradigm of mission for the Western church and how it engages the poor.