The Apostle Paul told Timothy, “The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2.2). This mandate to teach people so they can teach yet others–or train people to train others–is a foundational principle for both International Ministries and my conflict transformation work. The major program piece is the TCTT–Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers, a 10-day intensive Bible-based experiential education training program that covers a wide range of conflict transformation topics.
In February and into March my wife Sharon and I facilitated two of these 10-day TCTTs back-to-back. We met at the Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary in Baguio City, Philippines, about a 6-hour drive north of Manila. Our participants were various church and community leaders from 13 different countries in Asia and the Pacific. For the second TCTT we had a team of four Nepalis: Jirman Rai, General Secretary for the Nepal Baptist Church Council; Dipak Raj Rai, Executive Director for the social work depart for the Nepali Baptists; Santosh Basnet, Dean of the Nepal Baptist Bible Collegel; and Subash Pradhan, former Principal of the Bible college on sabbatical for further study. They were delightful participants in the Baguio TCTT bringing energy, focus, and insight to the larger group.
But the team from Nepal had a serious “final exam.” As soon as they returned to Nepal they would facilitate a 3-day training in conflict transformation and trauma healing. I joined them for that training. They would immediately put into practice what they had learned in the Philippines. Sharon and I (along with Mylinda Baits, an IM colleague and co-facilitator for the 2nd TCTT) were training them so they could train others. We had time in the training for participants to design their own workshops and practice tools to use in those workshops, and the Nepali team got to work with special urgency.
Nepal has a lot of need for such training. The people of Nepal suffered through a long civil war between the government and a powerful Maoist insurgency. Then last year Kathmandu and many of the towns and villages were hit by a massive earthquake. People are traumatized by war and natural disaster, and the Nepali Baptists have been engaged as agents of peace and healing.
The team of Jirman, Subash, Santosh, and Dipak did a fantastic job. I had expected to have to do some of the major pieces of the training, but each of the Nepali team members rose to the challenge of leading key experiential tools and content pieces. I basically provided support, minor coaching, and fill-in along the way. It was such a delight to see these recent TCTT grads leading significant training portions and “nailing it!” They were outstanding, and the response from the Nepali participants showed that the impact was deep and profound. The Nepali participants had come from across the country, and they quickly were inviting the team to come to their regions to host similar workshops with people closer to home.
I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing if I hadn’t learned from others. Many mentors, teachers, and trainers poured their wisdom, skills, and experiences into me. It’s my turn to pour what I have into others. I was far more satisfied seeing Subash, Santosh, Dipak and Jirman lead in such an competent, thoughtful, and energetic way than if I had led the Nepal training myself. I would have done a great job, I’m sure, but these Nepali leaders will ultimately have such a deeper impact. They know the culture from the inside, can take the work farther and broader than I ever could, and will still be running with it long after I’ve retired. Teaching people so they can teach others is the way to pass on our gifts for the long term.