Friday, December 20, 2013

Training Nationals Project

Part of the ethos of many international organizations is incorporating the equipping of nationals.  For example:  your organization digs water wells?  Teach locals how to dig them and maintain them.  Your organization does medical work?  Set up a training program to teach first aid, emergency care, nursing, and more.  You get the point, oui?

This is one of my favorite parts of the team that I serve with in Gabon.  Our colleagues are nurses, surgeons, maintenance workers, etc.  Most of us have a program of training and equipping locals, since it's in the DNA of what we do.  

With our maturing aviation work (now in year 5), we are starting to contemplate… we will add an educational component.  It makes my head
spin a bit.  Aviation training (pilots, mechanics, avionic techs) is no small thing.  We would definitely need more teammates that would devote time just to this aspect.  However, training and equipping are part of our core values, plus the national church (Alliance Chretienne) is also asking for this.  So, let the research project begin!

No need to reinvent the wheel, right?  I've started immersing myself in reading books that have journaled the work of mission aviators and mission programs starting from the 1930's to see what they mention about training nationals.  I've also started communicating to colleagues in the field as well.

I have a 10 question survey that I am asking anyone that has been
involved in the work to fill out.  The data will assist us in seeing how others are doing it.  If you have been involved in a mission aviation effort to train nationals, would you please take some brief time and answer this survey?  Thanks in advance!

Click here to take survey

Why train nationals?  We are going to hear a bit more from around the world about programs and the reasons they started, but for now, here are some reasons that we've heard from some colleagues:

1. It's in keeping with the vibe of God's Word.  Equipping, training, multiplying ourselves in others as a part of discipleship and mentoring.

2. It's a great way to build teamwork!  There is a picture, in scripture, about all of us joining in the important work of worshipping Jesus around the throne.  It's clear that we'll be on equal ground- every tribe, tongue, nation, and people.  By becoming colleagues on this side of eternity will give us and the world a preview of the awesome things to come.

3. It's a great way to give back a lasting investment to the host country.  Sure, simply coming and doing the transport work ourselves is important.  Should those countries be thankful for that?  Of course. However, investing in the training of nationals is a great way to extend your impact to a generation (or more!) to come.

4. What happens when you have to leave the country due to illness, age, political instability, or immigration issues?  Will your program cease to function?  Well, when we invest in nationals and staff our programs with them, this will not be an issue. 

5. In the developing world, aviation is a critical need.  Pilots and aviation organizations are highly respected.  The ground is RIPE to make a HUGE impact!  Training nationals from a faith perspective demonstrates how to use a skill that is somewhat viewed as "secular" and turn it into something "sacred" to bless people.  Nationals that are skilled in aviation will then have a big stage to demonstrate the love and compassion of God.  

These are just a few of the reasons that we are sure to uncover as the motivation behind the programs around the world that are doing the challenging work of teaching an advanced skill in cultures where it has never been done before.

Stay tuned for profiles of these programs as we learn about them.  Enjoy!

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