Seeking a mighty impact with Christ at the centre
Joan Busolo, CMS’s new Kenya-based manager in Africa shares her story and her dreams for mission in Africa.
Joan Busolo joined the CMS staff team at the beginning of this year to help shape CMS’s work in Africa. Based in Nairobi, Joan brings a wealth of experience from throughout East Africa and is excited to serve and worship God through this role. Here, Joan shares some of her story, how she came to CMS and her dreams for mission in Africa.
By Joan Watsulu Busolo
Let me start by saying that Jesus found me. I had been in church but was just going through the routine of religion without ever really thinking about it. I took part in everything. I was a leader. I had been assigned all manner of responsibility. But the confession had not come through my lips to say, “Yes, this Christ I want, and yes, he died on the cross for me.”
Finding Jesus and wanting more
And then, from a very unlikely source, someone spoke to me about Christ. And I realised that all along, the Spirit of God had been beckoning. This was about six years ago. I received Christ as Lord and Saviour, and every day since then I have been partnering with the Spirit of God, growing in the person that he created me to be, learning to love him, learning to read the Word and live it.
After I was saved, I began to feel I no longer just wanted to work. I wanted to do work that would glorify God. I had spent time looking at different types of Christian organisations, including CMS. When I saw CMS’s advert for the position of regional manager in Africa, I actually could not believe my eyes.
An interpreter on the ground
With my role in Africa, we are speaking to the owners of the challenges, the owners of the problems, the very people who desperately want to see change. The team in the UK is well-resourced, well-seasoned, well-prepared to impact the world. When you combine that with African-context leadership – people who understand the context, who know the terrain, who understand what the problems are – and have Christ at the centre of that partnership, that will have a mighty impact.
Being part of the local culture means you can see superstition as it is, see culture as it is, see poverty just as it is. You can empathise with people and interpret facial expressions and body language. If you’re part of the local culture, sometimes even without talking to someone, you just can see and feel that this person is resigned to whatever it is, that this person is desperate. I think that helps build a very good foundation on which to work together.
Part of the bigger CMS story
People have done great things in CMS, and I’m asking, “What is it that God wants me to do to bring change, and to be a part of the wider CMS legacy?” This question gives me very mixed feelings, ranging from excitement to almost even anxiety! God has given me an opportunity to partner with CMS to bring Jesus to the edges, to people who have not experienced the love of Christ, people who are resigned to whatever it is that troubles them. But not quietly, not submissively; I envision a real firelighting, real transformation in the people.
Renewed mindsets, transformed communities
Changing mindsets is the key to real change, and I think one of the main challenges facing mission in Africa is that people’s mindsets are not changed easily. People might have lived believing, for instance, that they are not favoured. They might have lived believing that if God was God, they wouldn’t be going through what they’re going through.
These ideas take time to change. One thing I’m looking at is mindset change at leadership level and within churches, because I know from my own experience that being in a church, even in a leadership position, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re living in accordance with God’s will. And I know that my story is just one example – many, many other people may be in the exact same position, so to me, changing mindsets is key.
One thing I’d really love to see is for the Church in Africa to join together across denominations, to realise that regardless of which church we go to, together we are the bride of Christ. I would love to see us get to a point where Presbyterian, Catholic, Anglican, are just able to come together to see the love of Jesus here. That is something I pray about constantly. And of course, when that happens, then it also means that naturally, the impact will be there. Those sad-looking faces will begin to smile. That hopelessness will be turned into hope. That is what I envision.