My Mini-Adventure with D

by Elouise

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Glen Eyrie Castle, where D and I stayed – at the heart of the conference grounds

Imagine being dropped into gorgeous Colorado Springs autumn weather, on the grounds of Glen Eyrie Conference Center with about 90 other people, all of whom know your name but not your face. That’s where I was from Thursday through Sunday—with David (aka D), my husband of over 51 years.

The occasion? The 20th year anniversary of an organization D and his friend Jim Engel began years ago. Today, Development Associates International (DAI) offers in-country leadership training all over the world. Low cost and high impact. Not for profit, but to strengthen leaders in business, government, religious organizations, education, health care and other social services.

Participants don’t learn to be Big Bosses, but how to lead for change that makes a positive difference. With integrity, effectiveness and humility.

I loved seeing and hearing how much D’s colleagues respect and love him for who he is and what he does. Not that I needed convincing. I felt like an outsider enjoying the party and being a bit like a sideshow. Oh! You’re Elouise! Frequently followed by bear hugs and smiles galore. Sadly, D’s friend Jim died two months ago of Alzheimer’s. He would have loved this party.

On the last evening, I enjoyed one of the funniest, most soul-satisfying conversations of my married life. Jane, the Director of DAI, invited us with others to her place for conversation and informal supper. About 30 showed up, plus children and dogs. We milled around the house, sat here and there, ate, talked and enjoyed each other’s company.

During supper I sat next to a man from DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) who works from Senegal. He is DAI’s regional director for Francophone Africa. I heard him speak several times at the gathering.

Well, in less than five minutes we discovered we were INFJs! The moment we realized we were on the same wave-length, we had a frequently boisterous, affirming, funny conversation about our marriages and about life in general with all those extroverts out there who aren’t blessed with gobs of sensitivity and intuition like ours. A feast for my soul!

It’s a rare pleasure to meet another INFJ who deals with the imponderables of living and communicating with an equally bright ISTJ. We commiserated over mysterious difficulties, laughed at the sometimes infuriating complexities of communication with our spouses, and acknowledged that whether we always like it or not, we’ve each married exactly the right partner. Wonders never cease.

One more encouraging bit from the conference, in light of our recent political campaign. Several times during the meetings, DAI people described their growing work with majority world (aka third world) children and teenagers interested in becoming leaders. Not Big Bosses, but the kind DAI works to support.

The women and men who graduate from DAI are what our world needs now. Not just overseas but right here in the USA. I was encouraged to hear DAI personnel are working with children and young people as part of preparing future leaders in the majority world.

In addition, several USA pastors connected with DAI have begun working with immigrants and immigrant churches here to support them and see what leadership needs their non-formal curriculum might address. This would be a great investment not just for immigrant children, young people and adults, but for us. Especially now.

Check out this world map and list of all locations where DAI offers leadership training.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 11 November 2016
Photo credit: DAFraser, November 2016 at the Glen Eyrie Conference Center near Colorado Springs, Colorado