Training Reflection: Sri Lanka ( 16 – 26 February 2016)
Before we get into this reflection, The World Needs A Father movement in Sri Lanka needs to be given a little context.
One of the core DNA elements of TWNAF is that as our foundation and heartbeat is Christ, we are not limited by any one denomination or creed, and will go to great lengths to serve the world outside the four walls of church. The problem of fatherlessness is everywhere, and we want to provide tools to solve this issue, regardless of culture, religion or denomination. Our vision is inclusive and adaptive — if you want to deal with fatherlessness, we will work with you to figure out how to do so most effectively in your context.
Enter Sri Lanka.
When we first presented the TWNAF training in Sri Lanka in 2013, one of our key contacts there, Julian Bolling, helped us organise a meeting with all of the denominational heads of the country (which we later learned had never happened before). After a presentation of the state of the church in the world today, Cassie urged everyone to consider adopting one issue in unity, so that the impact of each church would be magnified. After much discussion and many proposed issues (ranging from sports ministry to the poor), the decision was taken that for the foreseeable future, each and every denomination would adopt family restoration as their primary focus, with a specific focus on fatherhood, as healthy family units would in turn provide solutions for most of the other problems the country faces.
Just take a minute to imagine that. The leaders of every main denomination in your country all in one room, all agreeing to prioritise one issue? Remarkable!
We have been back every year since, and the growth we have seen is incredible. Hundreds of men have attended Master Mentor trainings, who have in turn trained thousands of fathers, a number of whom are now becoming trainers themselves. It is within this context that Cassie returned to give two further TWNAF trainings last month. Here is part of his reflection on his time there:
Sri Lanka: 16 – 25 February
This trip started with our fourth three-day training of Master Mentors in Sri Lanka, for the first time in the city of Kandy. The 250 Master-Mentors-in-training participated enthusiastically from the very first day, with some breaking down in tears due to the hurts they carried from their abusive fathers and others confessing to their own dysfunctional fatherhood. By the end of the training there was such passion for progress in the group that representatives from each city strategised how to take the training to a next level, and one pastor started training 50 men at his church as soon as he returned from the training. We also heard about 18 public schools that want to open their doors for training in fatherhood. We believe that the city of Kandy will change due to the investment we have made through this training.
After a weekend of rest we started our next three-day training in Galle, which is in the south of the country. Not only is this one of the most beautiful cities you can imagine, but God also did the most beautiful things through the training. One man who had attended the training in Kandy the previous week came through to Galle to attend the full training again. This is what he said:
“Attending the training the first time, I realised that I did absolutely everything wrong as a leader of an orphanage for boys. I drilled the boys like a military sergeant! I knew I had to come to another training immediately in order to get the new way engraved in my thinking. I will do everything different now — thank you for changing my life!”