Friday, January 31, 2014

A small community just outside León

At the moment the two of us are on a business trip of our own design. About two years ago, One by One began a series of classes designed to train church leaders (including some of our own) for ministry. I (Chase) got to be a part of this by sharing what I had learned about kids' ministry through experience and through being taught, as well as concepts I had wrestled with for awhile. It was crazy hard, but I also liked it. In any case, two of the leaders involved launched a kids' and youth program just outside León, a big city about two hours away from Managua. DSCN1441Julie and I have wanted for a long time to come out to León to visit with the leaders, encourage them, and learn from them some of the things that they do with their ministry that Camino de Vida and other churches could benefit from. Julie has also wanted to scout for new ways and places for teams to come and serve.

Our "business trip" coincided nicely with Woodcreek Church having a well-digging team in León with Living Water International. Well, I say it "coincided," but really we built our plans around their trip. We were able to stop by the well site to visit with them for a couple hours and see the well nearly completed before we went to the church.

Unfortunately, a perfect storm occurred between my poor telephone skills, my poor communication in general skills, and my poor Spanish skills. When I thought I had clearly communicated to our León church that we were visiting a team and then heading over to their church, they heard that we were bringing a team to their church. I think they had a moment of panic because they didn't have work set up for a team to do, so they quickly organized a large children's event, including sack races, soccer, and piñatas. DSCN1645We arrived alone, and I tried to act like I thought this snafu was all my fault. It only took about 15 minutes for the awkwardness to die down.

We spent some time with the kids and staff there; once the kids left, I met with their video guy and we talked shop for a few hours. Then we went to our hotel and fairly quickly crawled into bed.

Before we came, Maria—the León kids' director—had asked me to lead a training class for her young volunteers. For obvious reasons, they impose an age limit on the kids who are allowed to participate in their Niños de Vida, but there are a lot of 12- to 15-year olds who still want to serve. Maria has regular meetings with her volunteers to train them, encourage them, and keep them all on the same page. She hoped that we would have additional helpful information to offer. DSCN1690It wasn't a lot of information to go off of, but I hope that we were able to deliver what she was hoping for. If nothing else, a bird pooped on my head while I was speaking, but I didn't figure it out for at least an hour.

The really cool thing about this trip has been getting to know the León leaders better. They have an amazing passion for ministry, and they work very hard with very little. They do have a nice building they received for free, and some physical and monetary resources from One by One, but all the leaders are young and relatively inexperienced. They work with a lot of passion, but with little training or knowledge. It has really given me new direction and inspiration to gather and create materials and facilitate additional training to be a small piece in God's kingdom growing in a small community just outside León.

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