This week I spoke with people either in or representing West Africa, North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, India, Indonesia, and the US. There are vast differences between these places, but one thing ┬áis the same everywhere – the importance of personal relationship. These conversations were with people I consider trusted colleagues, not in the organizational sense, but in mission. I started the week hoping that we could transfer the trust that exists in my primary relationships to secondary relationships. Generally, the people I spoke to this week are not the people we hope to serve with Anda Leadership. However, these people have relationships with the people with whom we would like to partner.

Everyone was encouraging regarding our mission, but they all pretty much said the same thing, “The best thing you can do is go there and talk to the key people, get to know them, build trust with them, help them understand what you are doing, and then they will be able to help you. After you build trusting relationships you will be able to help them.” My friends have connections and they are willing to introduce me. But, I have to build my own relationships.

Ironically, this is not a new lesson. I knew relationships are critical. However, in light of the cost of travel, I was hoping to find some short-cuts. Well, I didn’t. There are no short-cuts. Now that we are ready to begin setting up Anda Leadership training workshops, we need to travel and meet the people we hope to serve and with whom we hope to partner. I am excited that there is interest everywhere we have inquired and some places appear to have a lot of potential, that is, need for the kind of training we plan to offer.

At the top of next week’s task list is to figure out when, where, and how to travel to places where we perceive the greatest need for biblical, character-based training for entrepreneurs who desire to be agents of positive change in their communities. We know these people are everywhere, even in the most difficult places. As we help them succeed, we will help bring real, sustainable change that blesses people, heals communities, and glorifies God.