"This Is the Gospel"
From a conversation with Steve Saint
The concept for the Indigenous Training and Education Center (I-TEC) was born out of a request addressed to Steve Saint by the Waorani community in Ecuador. The Waorani people, having embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ, were struggling with the issue of dependency. They had become so dependent on the resources and skills brought in by outsiders, including missionaries, that they were in a sense frozen in terms of their ability to encourage healthy community self-sufficiency and interdependence.
The ministry’s website (www.itecusa.org) states: “One of the great barriers that has prevented indigenous churches from growing to maturity is their continuing dependence on the welfare of outsiders. A native church that relies on the leadership, technology, and financial support of foreign missionaries rarely can stand on its own when that support is withdrawn.”
I-TEC provides appropriately structured training in skills heretofore thought “too complicated” for people like the Waorani, who have no tradition in the use of modern technological tools. The areas of training include such diverse disciplines as dentistry; optometry; medicine; aircraft construction, maintenance and operation; power systems and computer skills.
Steve Saint, representing I-TEC at CONPLEI 2008, a conference organized by a movement of indigenous churches in Brazil under the same name, was available to sit down and talk with us for awhile over a number of topics surrounding this issue of dependency. Following is a portion of the audio interview taken at CONPLEI. Steve speaks about how he came to a fresh realization about the meaning of the Gospel through a recent encounter in India, in the midst of an I-TEC dental skills training session for local pastors.
Click "Play" arrow to hear the interview:
For current news on what Steve Saint and I-TEC are up to, click here.