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Friday
Jul212017

Partnerships - Don't Leave Home Without Them

Bennett Cohen had anosmia – he couldn’t smell a thing and had almost no sense of taste.  Yet he wanted to go into the food business.  His old grade 7 buddy and best friend, Jerry Greenfield, wanted to go to medical school, but gave up after getting turned down twice.  The two decided to team up and make bagels, but equipment costs were so high they gave up on that too.  Undaunted, they rented an old gas station and tried their hand at selling ice cream.

John Winston was bright but failed his final high school exams and admitted to being a slacker in art school.  He was far more interested in girls, friends and music.  His mom taught him to play some chords so he started his own band that, ironically, he named after his old school, Quarry Bank High.  Over the next couple of years, the Quarrymen added a couple of teenage musicians, changed their drummer, then settled on a new name.

Partnership – an arrangement in which two or more individuals pool experience, skills, knowledge and other resources.  A strategic partnership can lead to the “whole being greater than the sum of its parts”.  In other words, one plus one can often equal three, and in some cases a whole lot more. The tree that stands alone burns bright when fired by lightning, but surrounded by vast hillsides of timber, the scope, impact and power of the blaze become staggering.

Gifts, connections, passions and experiences from one sharpen, inspire and motivate others to dig deeper into theirs.  I hear the mind and heart of my partner, which reminds me of something significant, which in turn triggers something my partner hadn’t fully developed, and on it goes.

Imagine Thailand is, and always has been, all about partnerships.  Canadians, English, Thai, Burmese and Karen in partnership with each other and, most importantly, in partnership with the one who guides us, calms us, walks with us and quickens our understanding to better know the hearts of these beautiful people.

Because of Imagine Thailand partnerships:  more languages are spoken, meaning more people are reached in the language they know best.  Public schools here and in Burma are connected with Canadian students – the Asians learn English, the Canadians learn the value of service.  Donors in Langley, Calgary, Toronto or St. John’s are connected with refugees and migrants on the Thai/Burmese border through a cup of clean water given in his name.  Buddhist university students who will shape Thailand’s future are connected with English speakers and teachers who passionately express their love through the medium of language.  Schools in Takua Pa so want to learn English that they invite Imagine Thailand workers to “teach our children, and please share about your faith if you would like”.

We believe we are here for two reasons – because it is asked of us and because we can.  May we bring honour in all we do, and may we serve these people that he loves so much.

Which brings us back to Bennett Cohen and Jerry Greenfield.  Today, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream operates in 39 countries worldwide (including Thailand!) and is worth over $70 billion Canadian.  And that taste and smell problem of Ben’s?  That allowed him to focus on texture, thus providing their ice cream with that extra something that people love the world over.   

And what about John Winston and the Quarrymen?  John Winston Lennon, his teenage guitarists Paul McCartney and George Harrison, and their drummer add-on Ringo Starr became better known as the Beatles, the biggest musical act of the 20th century.  The team of Lennon & McCartney is the most successful song writing partnership of all time.

The power of partnerships is not lost on Imagine Thailand, and your supporting role is no less a factor in ensuring that the “whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.  We are better because of your partnership.

Partnerships – don’t leave home without them!

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