It’s funny how a path becomes more defined the longer we walk in it. Sister Effect is now just over a month old. But as we’ve repeatedly articulated these past few weeks our vision and hopes for the future, we’ve found ourselves even more clear about who we want to be as we work here and in South Sudan.
Without a doubt, we genuinely want God to help us forge a community of sisters who will work together to effect change in South Sudan. On the other side of the world, we so want to develop lasting and participatory relationships with women and girls in South Sudan. We want to know their stories and interact with these sisters of ours in meaningful ways. From all of this, we long to see deep and sustainable healing come to the nation of South Sudan.
But undergirding all of what happens here and there, is this hope that we will be an organization that’s known by our love for one another. And rather than just say this and leave to the imagination what love would mean, we want to articulate it. We want to say it out loud and on paper so that how we do love and life can translate into something very tangible and measurable. So here goes…
We want love to mean that we’ll hear the voices of our sisters here and in South Sudan – and that we’ll listen and deeply care about what they have to say.
We want love to mean that we’ll respond to what we’ve heard by praying and then working or connecting in ways that empower and encourage.
We want love to mean that we won’t do for others what they’re able to do for themselves. In other words, we will build up and come alongside. We will seek to strengthen and equip. But we will always consider the assets and strengths of our sisters and work to initiate and bolster indigenously led change.
We want love to mean that we unequivocally embrace the worth and dignity of every human being – and that our words and actions reflect this.
We want love to mean that we’ll do hard things when difficulty presents itself. In such situations, we’ll press deeper into God, wait for clarity and then act accordingly. We will allow hardship to help deepen our faith, our relationships and our work here and in South Sudan.
We want love to mean that we know each other, that we pray for and care about each other in transformational ways. Yes, we know that distance could be a barrier, but we’re asking God to help us use the incredible communication venues of our time to close geographical space so that we’ll somehow experience one another as if we’re sitting face to face at a favorite coffee shop, or, in the case of South Sudan, congregating at a local water well!
We want love to mean that we’re looking toward God in unison, seeking His direction, His plans and His hopes for our relationships here and our relationships and work in South Sudan.
We want love to mean that there’s room for everyone at the table, so to speak. Professionals with
hectic lives, busy stay at-home moms, business owners, college students, junior high and high school students, grandparents and great-grandparents – we all have a vital role in forging a healthy community of sisters. Everyone is important. All are valuable and integral to what our God can do through us. We want and need everyone who will come to this table.
We want love to mean that we’ll be an incredible blessing to our partners – our water partner, Every Village, our female economic opportunity partner, Seed Effect, our health partner, In Deed and Truth and our orphan care/prevention of human trafficking partner, Makeway Partners. We want to come alongside of the great work that’s already being done through these friends and increase the God- centered impact that’s being made through them.
We want love to mean that we’ll be tireless champions of the poor all the while remembering that we’re all poor in various ways, all in need of the amazing grace that redeems us and saves us from what could be among the worst fates of all – ourselves.
We want love to mean that we’ll share God’s message of love and hope in both word and deed – whether it’s in our home communities or in the most remote South Sudan village.
And finally, we want love to be so obvious and real in us that we tell the world around us that Sister Effect really is an ever-expanding group of friends who are better together. And that our circle becomes more beautiful and complete as new sisters join us and as our South Sudanese sisters are equipped and empowered.