Last night we had a Partners Norway board meeting. Board meetings are seldom a blast. We are supposed to stick to an agenda, speak about serious issues only, and come to conclusions. We must sign legal documents and think words such as governance, budget and policy. An almost impossible situation for me who usually get so sidetracked that I forget what I was trying to say myself, and who like to follow my feelings rather than my intellect.
But a Partners board meeting is a little different. We plough through all these legal documents, yes, but behind them are hearts that burn for something worth living for. The board members I was with last night were people that I would describe as generous, servant-hearted, passionate and committed. Some of us, like me, feel terribly illiterate when is comes to certain board issues, others are so talented that they ought to be professional board members. Together we have been able to compliment and help each other as we are splitting brain cells to come up with how to make this organization become more of what we are good at, and better at what we are not so good at.
There is a young mother, Ragnhild, who works fulltime as a teacher who drives on windy and dark roads almost three hours each way to get to our meetings four-five times a year. This she does after a full workday. And she is happy to because she is so excited about Partners and the work we do. She has never been to Burma or to Thailand. She hasn’t even met anybody from Burma. But her heart is on fire.
Jon runs his own company and, at his own expense, flies from the south of Norway to our place equal amounts of times. He misses a whole day of work every time we have a meeting. In his spare time he goes to preschools and talks about Partners and help them raise money for projects that matter to the children of Burma.
There is a widow, Britt, who has raised her three kids pretty much on her own. She has become a fulltime politician, spending her life going to meetings, doing political stuff. Bravely she has spoken of this small organization called Partners to politicians and lawmakers who are not easy to convince of anything. Last night she joined our board meeting after going to five other meetings.
Then there is Gunnar—headhunted by companies and more analytical than an operations researched analyst. He works long days and nights at times. He is a dad and a husband. In his spare time he spends hours on Partners legal documents and database torture. He makes sure that we remember what boards are supposed to do, and gently pulls us back to the agenda or the issue we were supposed to deal with.
Anne Sofie works at a human rights resource center and is a well of gifts and talents. On her own initiative she approaches people of influence and ask them for favors and money, as well as advice. That she shares with us. Whenever we are stuck in a rut, Anne So is the one to ask. She knows how to do about everything, and she does it with joy. She makes it look fun to make a budget. She never keeps her opinions to herself.
Lastly, there is Linda, our board leader. She is an American lady who has been living in Norway only three years. Not only has she said yes to lead the board, but she also has to do it in a language that is not her own, having to read and understand documents that are difficult for us natives to understand. She spends countless hours on Partners issues every week and her own vacation time to go to see our work in Thailand besides. She too, works fulltime and is a mother of young kids.
I look at this list and feel humble and proud at the same time. What a blessing to know these people, and what sacrifice they have made. My prayer is that their efforts will be worth it and that they all, one day, will see the results of all their work. I am thankful that God has put them in my life, because, God knows, I need them. To me, it almost fills me with reverence to think that all over the world there are people similar to the people on my board who are giving sacrificially of themselves, their time and resources to help the people of Burma. I wish the people of Burma would know. One day they will. I also know the One who knows and who smiles when he sees it.