February 10, 2014

Whirlwind Ministry Tour

A group of young adults recently visited for two weeks, part of an international ministry that offers a week of intensive, practical ministry training then sends them to various places where they can put what they've learned into practice.  We were thrilled that a team was sent to us.  

We went on a community ministry tour, participating in and visiting various projects and churches to give them an idea of what happens here, and also to get a new perspective on how we can improve.  It's always refreshing to hang out with young people who have accepted the call to serve where they live.  Some of them came from far away, such as the twenty-something gal on exchange from Germany, but most are Paraguayans who want to change the spiritual climate of their country from the inside out.

We visited our pals at Che RĂ³ga, and the team did a sort of VBS while we spent time with the director and other leaders there.  One of the young men, who is now technically grown but still lives at the Home because "it's my family, after all," changed my flat tire.  

Apparently I ran over something on the way there, and it was quite the challenge to get our four-wheel drive Mission Mobile jacked up enough to change it, but I was ever so thankful it happened there and not on the road in the middle of nowhere.

We spent one morning at a beach just outside of town, where a couple of men began a huge sports ministry a little while back.  With support from the city and a few private businessmen, they bus in at-risk kids from surrounding neighborhoods, and train them in either beach volleyball or soccer.  During these two mornings per week, the kids are learning discipline, self-esteem, and physical exercise.  After their training time, they all sit around in a circle to talk about life.  We met with the national-level athletes who have committed a year of their time to come train these children and teens, for only a tiny bit of pay.  They admitted that the kids often have spiritual and practical questions that go deeper than what they feel capable of answering, and they asked for help.  We are currently talking with a few other people to see how we might support these coaches and kids spiritually.

The team went with me Friday to the prison, where the fellas went with a pastor over to the men's pavilions, and the gals followed me up to see the ladies.  Then we got together and met with the teens.  Since most of the members of this team were only a few years older than the young inmates, the meeting in this part of the prison had a natural sort of flow.  Several members of the team shared their personal testimonies, which prompted the boys to open up a bit.  Within no time, there were connections that ended with prayer.  

Other visits included the soup kitchen and school just outside of town, our local government-run hospital, several churches and parachurch meetings, evangelism at the beach, and another children's home.  The two weeks the team spent in our neck of the woods were a whirlwind tour--exhausting but refreshing at the same time.  We're very thankful for the workers God is continuing to send into the harvest.

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