Ruth Vindas with Dr. Laura Parajon
holding on to unity
Saved from sinking
Seva with youth from San Onofre
"By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ I appeal to all of you, my friends, to agree in what you say, so that there will be no divisions among you. Be completely united, with only one thought and one purpose." 1 Cor. 1:10 Good News Bible
In May I had the privilege of visiting the health organization AMOS in Nicaragua and team teaching with former student and ministry colleague from Costa Rica, Ruth Vindas. I was asked to do a series of workshops on communication and creative Bible study in the rural community of San Onofre as well is with their health promotion staff in Managua. By working with my colleagues Drs. Laura and David Parajon, I was able to contribute to their organizations' goals as well as meet some of my own to investigate key vulnerability factors in the exploitation and trafficking of persons in the Nicaraguan context. By inviting Ruth along, I was able to encourage her leadership, help her build networks of support and mutual learning and spend time with someone who feeds my soul. It was a win win all the way around.
A key factor in the fight against human trafficking is prevention. AMOS has been investing in a group of young people who will in turn reach out to outlying communities. By building strengths, encouraging honest communication and enabling community cooperation, we can equip the most vulnerable to discern healthy options and speak truth to the coercion and manipulation of traffickers. By building strong networks of support around the common vision of life and whole health as God intends it for all of us, these young people will lead their communities in transformation. I felt honored to have a part in that transformation.
In Managua we led workshops for the quickly expanding staff of AMOS. We gave the group of 35 leaders a challenge to walk across the room together. Sounds easy enough, right? The catch though, was that they all had to have their ankles touching and could not separate. If they did separate, the whole group would be forced to begin again. After much laughter, yelling and a number of failed attempts, leadership surfaced, ideas were shared and tried and the group accomplished their task with much rejoicing. We all learned how important it is to listen, to learn from our mistakes and to move forward together. As we worked through a number of challenges together, I was blessed to see relationships deepen, lights of understanding spark, and creative responses as they put into practice what we'd been learning together.
In my work as a regional missionary, I work alongside a variety of people all doing different ministries, but with one common purpose, to glorify God and proclaim Good News. It takes good communication and focused energy, but in the end there is much rejoicing. Sometimes it feels like holding onto a ring of water, tricky and certainly difficult to control, but beautiful to observe when it actually happens. Thanks for being partners in the Gospel and holding on to Hope with me.
Yours on the Way,