It has now been a full year since my wife Aladrian and I flew away from our home, family, church, friends, and our settled California lifestyle. We soon landed in Cape Town to begin the most challenging and incredible year of our lives!
It has taken lots of adjusting for us to get grounded in this beautiful AND heart-breaking country we now call home. But, at the end of the day, we are awestruck by how God has stretched our faith and dependence on him.
We arrived in March 2016 to join the staff of East Mountain, an innovative leadership development mission near Cape Town, South Africa.
East Mountain is a UWM missional community that seeks to advance God’s kingdom on earth by identifying, equipping and multiplying high-impact servant-leaders for Africa’s churches, communities and families.
CREATING TOMORROW’S LEADERS TODAY
Each year we identify young, aspiring leaders with demonstrated leadership potential, passion for Africa, an entrepreneurial spirit, and commitment to multiply more leaders. These exceptional individuals undergo an intensive year-long, live-in learning experience focused on spiritual formation, theological education, and practical skills.
Just over a year ago Aladrian and I were established Sacramento pastors with productive ministries, a comfortable lifestyle, and high hopes of entering into blissful grandparenthood.
So, how did we end up 10,000 miles from home equipping leaders in a foreign culture?
OUR TURNING POINT
From ministry trips to Africa over many years, Aladrian and I had developed a deep love for its people and deep awareness of both its needs and its immense potential.
On each trip we’d been heartbroken when repeatedly asked:
“Why won’t our successful African-American brothers and sisters come help us succeed?”
And, we had noticed how the developed world typically responded to Africa’s massive problems with Band-Aid solutions: more food, more medicine, and more charity dollars. Clearly, charity alone hasn’t produced adequate results.
At some point, Aladrian and I stopped asking God, “Why is Africa like this?” and started asking, “What can we do to make a real difference?”
A NEW VISION
The answer came loud and clear, and, it was in what we had been doing successfully in our own country for years:
Help transform Africa by multiplying godly, well-equipped leaders there.
Very soon after that I became acquainted with East Mountain’s work while casually surfing the web. I was so intrigued by their unique leadership training initiatives that I began Skype conversations with EM senior staffers to learn more.
Those talks quickly led to us flying to Cape Town to see East Mountain for ourselves. We immediately saw that the program and the team behind it were the real deal and that God was doing something very special there. We wanted to be in on it.
It seems the feeling was mutual, as shortly thereafter we were invited to join East Mountain’s staff.
INVESTING IN GODLY LEADERSHIP
I can’t believe how unique and gifted each of our resident-trainees are—and how much of a father’s love and pride I feel toward them. Our program is a difficult process, but God is building them up rapidly. My prayer is that these young people are the next generation of godly change-agents for Africa—and the world.
By: Ronn Elmore, Serving in South Africa
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