At 127 Worldwide, we use the phrase “mutual-edification” a lot. We believe that fostering mutually-edifying relationships with our local leaders is integral to caring for the vulnerable. We’ve seen how some westerners have approached people from other cultures with an assumption of superiority, and we want to be proactive in championing all of us as contributors to God’s global church. That starts with us acknowledging that our partners have just as much to teach us as we do, them.
When 127 launched 10 years ago, we had little idea how much attention it would take to build habits that reflect our beliefs. A decade in, though, we're still committed to putting feet to the things we believe. Now we intentionally weave mutual-edification into our everyday rhythms, from staff meetings to GO Teams. One such example is that local leader Rose Bugusu attended a 127 Zoom call recently where she taught the staff about how she implements spiritual disciplines.
Rose is one of 127 Worldwide’s partners in Kenya, where she oversees a children’s home called Tumaini, which means “hope” in Swahili. When giving her update on Tumaini in the staff meeting, Rose casually mentioned that she had been fasting and praying for the children of Tumaini, her family, and Tumaini’s supporters over the month of January. Amanda Walton, long-time friend of Rose and Alumni Relations Coordinator with 127, asked Rose to teach us more about how she implements those spiritual disciplines into her ministry.
Without any hint of pride or superiority, Rose explained that at the beginning of every year she wakes up at 5:00am to pray for a couple weeks. She then prays a second time in the middle of the day, and a third time in the evening. For the evening prayer session, Rose meets with other believers to drink a cup of tea. That cup of tea, aside from water, is the only thing she consumes for the whole day.
I, for one, was truly shocked and convicted when I heard Rose describe this spiritual habit. My immediate thought was, “I could never do that.” Growing up in America, whenever people mention fasting or praying they generally mean giving up one meal or not looking at social media. I would also be hard-pressed to find somebody willing to wake up so early to pray, especially if they were already planning on intentionally praying two other times during the day.
Listening to Rose speak about her habits encouraged me to not only focus more on my spiritual disciplines, but also convicted me concerning how I speak about these spiritual disciplines. If I woke up at 5:00am to pray and somebody asked me about it, I don’t believe I would speak with the humility Rose did.
Rose’s humility and discipline encouraged many other members of the 127 staff that day as well. Amanda Walton recounted, “I’m always inspired by the humility Rose displays through the discipline of fasting. She reminds me that fasting requires enacting other spiritual disciplines like prayer and meditating on the Word. It takes humility and commitment to create space to hear the Lord clearly and walk in obedience to His will.”
I am so thankful that 127 Worldwide partners with humble and disciplined leaders like Rose and maintains a commitment to learn from them at every opportunity. For 127, mutual edification is not just a theoretical principle, but rather, a vital and beautiful part of everyday work.