London

London

I had a great two-day trip to London for a conference on “Entrepreneurship and Economic Development in Africa” on Saturday. I wend down via coach (bus) early Friday morning and then walked the 4.5 miles to my hostel. On the way I found a massive discount store called Primark, which was a great place to explore and buy a few things. I got to the hostel in the late afternoon and chilled/caught up on email and had an early evening.

Saturday morning I had breakfast at the Hostel and then jumped on the London Underground for the trip to my conference, which was at the University of London. It was a fantastic conference, not large but attended by journalists, dignitaries like government ministers of several African countries, and many business and development people. I am so glad that I made the trip.

I walked back to the Victoria Coach Station after the conference ended, enjoying the three hour window to see more of London and eat dinner near the station.

I love the buildings in London. This conference provided the opportunity to see parts of the city I haven’t seen on more touristy trips, and here are some pictures I took along the way.

I thought this building was so pretty.

Just a typical street in (a nice area of) London.

I was so impressed by these women. They are high level leaders in the governments of Ethopia, Rwanda, and Kenya. The fourth lady was the moderator. It is so exciting to hear about what governments like Rwanda are doing with their “Vision 2020.”

:-)!! This was so beautiful in the flesh.

A sight very unlike an American street.

Start Something That Matters

Start Something That Matters

One of the most memorable moments of the Catalyst conference I attended in October was (briefly) meeting Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS Shoes and author of the new book, Start Something That Matters. During his on-stage interview, Blake mentioned a pain point of TOMS which set my head spinning. He has experienced difficulty maintaining a solid corporate culture as staff are becoming more culturally diverse and spread out across the world.

Click to learn more about TOMS.

I decided to write Blake a note telling him that I have experience in multi-cultural community development and would be glad to help. I gave it to him in the autograph line. Although he hasn’t followed up (yet) the idea took root in my mind. If TOMS is experiencing inevitable culture clash as they work with international leaders in developing markets are other companies struggling with similar issues?

Turns out, according to business journals, news reports, and conversations with business leaders, this is a very common issue in business today as companies look to emerging markets for talent (no longer just labor).

My dad and I had already been working on how we might create a feasible model to provide requested leadership training to indigenous leaders in developing countries. Might a One for One model like TOMS’ work for us too? Could we work with multi-nationals in emerging markets and then provide a pro bono or low-cost training to ministry or leaders of community development initiatives in the same area?

This was the initial catalyst for Anda, the business idea my dad and I have been working on for the last several months. It’s a business with a heart of service helping local leaders in emerging markets positively impact their societies to the largest extent possible by providing character-based leadership training. Anda also seeks to help these leaders effectively work with those from the “developed” world who have a clearly defined set of standards and ethics which may be understood differently in the emerging market cultures.

I’m taking one step at a time with this and am not sure where it will lead, and in the process The TOMS story encourages me. My dream is that we will help leaders impact their own cultures by creating great businesses and great ministries which will create wealth where there has been poverty and healing where there has been brokenness.

If you’re interested in this idea, check out our web site. Let me know what you think. I’d love suggestions of any kind.

And finally, check back Wednesday (the 14th) for an opportunity to win the book Start Something That Matters.

Be Present

I had an absolutely fantastic trip to the East Coast last month to visit my friends in Maryland and then to Atlanta for the Catalyst Conference. I am struck again and again by how blessed I am to have a whole network of amazing friends. Especially as a young single, there is great potential to be alone and lonely. I am so thankful for years in Maryland where God blessed me with the best group I can imagine.

The conference theme was “Be Present,” which was perfect. I didn’t blog about it, but I figured I should mention it. I think the conference organizers hit a cultural reality on the head — with the wonders of technology we have the ability to be everywhere at once. The dark side of that amazing ability is that we can fall into the trap of never really being anywhere at once. What a way to waste our lives!
The cool thing is that it wasn’t just a criticism, but the speakers brilliantly presented ways to be present in many angles: spiritually, in leadership, in service, as we plan our time, and on and on. If you’re interested, ask — I’d love to share more.
Coventry 2

Coventry 2

I thought I’d share the report I did on the Coventry Conference and some pictures from the professional photographer who joined us. It really was a great time. I am hoping we’ll do a conference in the States sometime before too long!

The beautiful Coventry Cathedral was a wonderful location for the conference

On May 20th and 21st participants from the UK, other European countries, and America gathered in the iconic Coventry Cathedral to join Musalaha for our first international Reconciliation conference.


Musalaha was invited by Christian leaders in the UK to share first-hand experiences and lessons learned in reconciliation with the wider body of Christ – whose members have increasingly felt the need to choose sides as they consider the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The powerful story of the Coventry Cathedral was meaningful to our participants as they heard testimonies of reconciliation in the place dedicated to forgiveness since its devastation during a war-time attack in 1940 and rebuilt as a testimony of faith and hope.

Salim Munayer and Evan Thomas
Speakers included Palestinian and Israeli leaders such as Salim Munayer and Evan Thomas as well as other leaders. We also worshipped in Hebrew, Arabic and English and heard powerful testimonies, including some young Nigerian leaders in reconciliation.

Participants were very encouraged by testimonies and teachings from Musalaha’s ministry partners. We were joined by Cathy Nobles and students from YWAM’s School of Reconciliation and Justice, Tanas Alqassis and Rev. Joseph Steinberg from the Church Mission Society, Rev. Gilbert Lammerts van Bueren from Near East Ministry and representatives from the Baptist Mission Society.

We were excited to have approximately 150 participants representing a wide variety of churches, organizations, and communities.

Insights following the conference made one thing clear: the message of reconciliation is not only relevant for those of us living in areas of conflict. It is the call of God for all believers.

Here are some quotes from participants:
The variety of speakers, insights, demonstration of faith in action! Very exciting ministry that challenges everyone’s thinking.

I realize now that as a Christian I am involved… I should be a peacemaker.

The quality of the speakers was absolutely first class!

The respect that the team shows each other also witnesses to the power of your message. Insightful.
Great Britain is in need of this message, especially within the church.

The conference was everything I had hoped it would or could be. I feel better equipped with all the excellent teaching and sharing… to take Jesus’ way of the cross through the middle, without being swayed by the rhetoric or fears of either side in the Body of Christ in the UK.

All of us have been inspired by the teaching and especially by the high quality of testimonies and the way Salim Munayer and Evan Thomas have answered questions: sincere and with a sense of humor. It was not easy to keep out of politics and at the same time remain relevant to the situation which you as Israeli’s and Palestinians have to face. For those of us living in the west, it was humbling to witness how you are forced to identify with Christ more fully because of the conflict. A true encouragement to all of us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus.

For more information, please visit www.coventryconference.wordpress.com. Here are some more pictures of the event:
Thank you so much for your prayers for the conference. We felt the presence of God and are thanking Him for a wonderful time.

Coventry

Coventry

Last week I had the opportunity to go to the UK for a conference we (at Musalaha) organized. The conference was to share about what God is doing in reconciliation here in the holy land, and elsewhere in the world. I hope someday we can do a similar conference in the States!

Here are a few pictures:

Me with my friend and coworker, Ronit, in the beautiful Coventry Cathedral, which we called  home for three days.
The crowd.
With Diana and Ronit, two Messianic Jewish Israelis who shared their testimonies at the conference. It was fun to have the English and Middle Eastern worlds I know collide!