Ramonda and Tom Lunsford began serving in Africa in 1991. In facilitating Entrust’s women’s ministry trainings, Ramonda and colleagues learned to contextualize both the content and learning process to local cultures. Here are their findings related to Developing a Discerning Heart.
Build trust. DDH is a very personal course. Talking about personal experiences here feels risky due to fear that personal information may be used against you. We learned to take even more time at the beginning of DDH to emphasize confidentiality and the need to treat one another as sisters in a family who will look out for each other.
Take more time for women to express themselves. This demonstrates each woman’s value regardless of tribe, language ability, educational background or service in the church. When participants see that facilitators value their input, they share more freely, opening up through their stories.
Stories are key to helping women understand themselves. Before making sense of their own story, local women see lessons to be learned in the lives of others. Starting each DDH lesson with
contextual stories and questions increases discussion participation exponentially. Suddenly the women are “in” the story, their minds racing to what the women in the story should or should not do. Our participants find biblical and life principles in stories.
Use culturally relevant examples. Some DDH examples weren’t clear to local women. For example, the workbook uses an iceberg to illustrate the need to examine underlying beliefs. In our context, we use a hippo. A hippo’s cute ears are above the water line, but a massive body below the water controls those little ears!
Start with scripture. Looking at scripture first, or just after the introductory story, emphasizes the Bible as the foundation for the principles we are learning. Starting with scripture, rather than with ideas or principles, lays the foundation for better understanding.
Is Entrust’s Developing a Discerning Heart course relevant to women in Africa?
Absolutely! Its foundation on the word of God crosses all cultural barriers.
It’s a powerful course for life transformation.
Over time, we’ve discovered how to facilitate DDH to bring better clarity for local
women. Making the facilitation experience more culturally relevant is as important as
making the content culturally relevant.
- Ramonda Lunsford, SIM, Zambia
Learn more about Ramonda’s contextualization discoveries at: https://www.entrust4.org/Regionstories/Africa