South Africa likes to tout its impressive diversity by referring to itself as the “Rainbow Nation.” Respectfully, they’ve got nothing on our office here at FFP.
We have a wonderful assortment of God’s children here from all over the globe, of all different ethnicities, tongues and faith backgrounds. Our lunchroom is like eating around Epcot (or at the very least, like the very diverse and wonderful Swap Shop).
Just this week, I’ve had interactions with people from Israel, Haiti, Colombia, Jamaica, Peru, Ghana, Brazil, and a guy from Queens (fogeddaboudit Hayward!).
Since last year, I’ve had some fascinating faith conversations with people all over the spiritual spectrum. It’s been surprisingly refreshing talking with people I have very little in common with, but finding genuine common ground, respect and camaraderie over this profound, shared mission of helping those less fortunate.
Certainly, “diversity” is one of those words that, in and of itself, is a bit meaningless unless it’s used for something. If you’re surrounded by people who are different from you, and never take the time to break bread and exchange ideas or find ways to make your strengths harmonize, what difference does it make?
Rather it’s what you do with that diversity, and how it gets ‘leveraged’ to maximize creativity, foster understanding, and work toward noble goals like feeding hungry people. This is something that FFP does really well – our diversity really does seem to make us better and more effective as an organization. We’ve got an incredible amount of cultural savvy and understanding on staff here; which enables us to not just work in hard places, but build strong relationships with the folks we’re working with.
Of course, we face the same issues that arise anywhere else human beings are working in a confined space together (squabbles, sandwich disappearances, etc.). But every day it’s a beautiful thing to see this crazy mish-mash of folks from all over the world working together to bring healing, renewal and increased health to the poorest areas of our hemisphere.