So I’ve spent the last week just tagging along with C, and being introduced to her contacts here. This is a crucial introductory phase, forming positive relationships with the people here. I didn’t/don’t even want to start planning ministry programmes until after maybe a month.
That said, there are so many opportunities. Partly this is because there is such a great need. The handful of stories that I’ve been told, some of the background of individuals and families, have filled me with a sadness for the brokenness that permeates the community here. Not all of these problems are unique to Gonzanamá or Ecuador, they’re things that are relevant even to rich, “developed”, Canberra – but somehow I get the sense that it is more pervasive here. And of course there is less support for those who are suffering.
I flagged in my last email that a music ministry is looking like a very viable option. Although I never saw music as one of my gifts – it’s something that I enjoy and appreciate, but am pretty average at – this is reminding me that serving Jesus is not just about using the strengths He has given me, but about depending on Him such that even my weaknesses become strengths. If I was only counting on my strengths, I think it would be easy to forget it is God working, and not my own hands that get things done.
In addition to encouragement, J also gave me money towards buying a guitar. They’re not cheap, you can’t get fantastic quality ones, and a decent one would be about $200 – I managed to get one for $185, metal strings and good clear sound, with a thin neck like the one I have back home. If there is enough interest in music lessons, we are looking at getting maybe two more guitars (probably around the $100 mark for a beginner’s guitar).
If you would like to contribute towards these ministry costs, please do! Just shoot me an email and I will send you my bank details.
There is a big demand for English classes – SIM have actually been approached by locals about doing this – so something we’re looking at is maybe combining music, English and ministry, by using English-language Christian songs, so people will be learning three things at once 🙂 I like that this is multi-tasking, because normally I’m so bad at it!
As mentioned above, C suggested that I do independent research, rather than worrying about having existing expertise. Some of the ideas we canvassed are:
-a photography workshop for teachers (since they often have to take photos for school excursions)
-art/drawing classes for students
-helping P with IT (she teaches it at one of the high schools)
I’ve often thought, and heard it said, that música and deportes (sports) are pretty universal things – and now I’ve found it to be true here too.
Please pray for wisdom and opportunities regarding ideas and options for ministry. And let me know if you have any random suggestions!