The second of two homilies by Blair and Jean Williams about their year in Nishinasuno, Japan, at the Asian Rural Institute as Volunteers in Mission, in which they talk about "the theory and the reality of leadership as it was practiced and taught at ARI". The Institute was founded by Toshihiro Takami. In the chapel at the Institute was a painting of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. "[H]e wasn't commanding, directing or preaching. He was leading by serving, which was a core concept at ARI. He was serving his followers by meeting their most basic and personal needs. A servant leader, then, is one who shows the way, by example. A servant leader gives paramount importance to the needs of others, and to the needs of the community. Servant leaders understand the importance of humility; they are `other directed' rather than being self-possessed. This kind of servant leadership is the ideal that is pursued, even if it is not always fully realized, at the Asian Rural Institute". "Servant leadership, and the learning of leadership skills, is greatly facilitated by the idea of `learning by doing' which is another key principle in the life of ARI".
In their time in Japan at the Asian Rural Institute the Williams' met "many people who work tirelessly for the betterment of rural people in poor countries, but none have impressed us more than Rt. Kazuho Makino and his wife Yukiko [Makino]". The Makinos have worked in India since the early 1960s first at the Allahabad Agricultural Institute and then at the Non Formal Education Centre which they founded. Dr. Makino and his staff work in 18 low-caste villages to help the villagers hand-drill (and maintain) wells, install toilets, establish schools and focus on the needs of women.
The authors are Volunteers in Mission from the diocese of Ottawa posted in Nishinasuno Japan, at the Asian Rural Institute, which is dedicated to training rural leaders from underdeveloped regions of Asia.