July Prayer Focus: Churches & Church Networks

July 1, 2018 |

Redeemed Lives. Beautiful Churches. Transformed Communities.

Why do we long to see “beautiful” churches? Kirk Ogden says the following about the word “beautiful” as a descriptor for churches: “Beautiful offers a richer, more robust vision for the church. We are not discarding words like ‘vibrant’ and ‘dynamic’. They tell us a lot about what we hope for and work towards. But beautiful moves us to consider more than size, quantity or activity. Beautiful beckons us to consider what Jesus desires and is himself creating in his bride, the church.”

Our vision for church planting and for the establishment of church networks goes beyond the physical buildings and the detailed strategic plans. It is not enough for a church building to be constructed and for a church body to gather; we long to see bodies of believers living in God’s magnificent glory here on Earth so that others see these churches and say “let us go with you for we have heard that God is with you.” – Zechariah 8:23

This month we pray over the churches and church networks in South America that are working as one body to offer the hope of Christ to their local communities. We see God’s presence in the gatherings of believers in the lowlands of Bolivia as well as in the growing church plants in Lima and Bogotá. We also grieve for the division and heartache that many churches face in their ministries. In all things, we have hope that these local manifestations of the body of Christ can pursue righteousness and unity as Paul charged the church at Ephesus: “… to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each on of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” – Ephesians 4:22-25

CHURCHES & CHURCH NETWORKS PRAYERS

1. Pray for Iglesia de la Ciudad in Lima, PeruAs the church plant has continued to grow in La Molina, Lima, they are looking to establish a second location. The team has identified 5 key sectors in the city of Lima for church site multiplication: La Molina, San Isidro, Miraflores, San Borja, and Barranco. Pray for Iglesia de la Ciudad, that God would lead them and direct them to the location of their next church site. Ask God for an executive pastor to join their team, as this need is key to enabling their expansion.

Executive Pastor

2. Pray for Ciudad Corazón in Bogotá, Colombia This vibrant group of house churches is a tight-knit community actively working to bring peace and redemption to the city of Bogotá. Ask God for more house church leaders and for the expansion of his church in this city. Pray for the Ciudad Corazon team as they discern new pockets of the city for the movement to grow into.

3. Pray for the body of believers within the Ayoré people group in eastern Bolivia. The gatherings of believers within this community reflects a hunger for God’s word. Pray for the development of a church body within this people group, that they would continue to represent the grace and truth of the gospel to each other as they establish church leadership. Ask God to use their involvement in helping to build the discipleship center (Chochis, Bolivia) to inspire their believers and raise up the right people from their community to participate in theological training once the center is established

4. Pray for the Ayacucho Church Planting Team in Ayacucho, Peru. The Ayacucho team is still in the research and networking stage of church planting. Pray for their outreach efforts, particularly in cooking classes, ESL, and kids’ ministry as they continue to get to know families in the city. Ask God to create the necessary strategic avenues for the team to be introduced to influential people in Ayacucho as they look to establish a church body. Pray also for Club Exploradores, the kids’ outreach effort, as they rent out a meeting space and minister to children in the community each week, that God would bless these efforts and use this ministry to create relationships with the families in the community.

5. Pray for Las Misiones church in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Pastor Felix Pedraza has been a longtime friend and partner with SAM in Santa Cruz. Pray for Pastor Felix’s ministry as he leads the congregation of Las Misiones, and for their ministry of hosting and nurturing a primary school within the church. Las Misiones is a member of the Asociación de las Iglesias Evangélicas del Oriente (AIEO), an association of churches founded by local church leaders and SAM back in the 70s which continues to connect church bodies and pastors in the eastern lowlands of Bolivia.

6. Pray for the Lima Initiative in Lima, Peru. The Lima Initiative participates with City to City Latin America in gathering and training church planters for urban church outreach. Pray for the current pastors participating in Lima in the “Incubator”, a church-planter training program facilitated jointly by City to City and the Lima Initiative, with pastors traveling to Lima from all over the country of Peru. Ask God to raise up new church planters for the next Incubator program beginning in Lima next year.

7. Pray for INDIEWACOL, an association of Wayuu churches in La Guajira, Colombia. Pray for the current group of Wayuu indigenous pastors participating in INDIEWACOL’s pastoral training program. Ask God to raise up the future leaders of the Wayuu church to be trained and equipped through these efforts. Pray also for the current church leaders as they begin to make preparations for the association’s annual worship gathering and business meeting in December.

Wájaro Foundation

8. Pray for the indigenous church leaders trained at Ammi in Brazil. The Ammi Training Center’s vision is for there to be a flourishing church in every tribal group in Brazil. For 2018, Ami has seen 18 enrolled pastoral students representing 8 people groups. Praise God for the new believers who have come to faith during their time at Ammi! Pray for the current students at Ammi, as they train in their second language (Portuguese) and continue to develop pastoral skills. Ask God to protect the recent Ammi graduates who have returned to their villages and begun to share the gospel with their tribes.

9. Pray for the church plant in Gaira, Colombia. Ask God to bless their current process of applying for legal status and registration with the government. Praise God for their recent VBS in La Paz, Colombia and for the participation of so many families! Pray that God would raise up committed servants from within the church to come alongside Frank, Luz, and Fernando who currently lead this body of believers.

10. Pray for City to City Latin America’s Intensive. The first Intensive ever in Latin America will be held in Monterrey, Mexico in September 2018. The “Intensive”, a training program developed by City to City, prepares church planters to establish and multiply churches in urban centers. Pray for the 25 urban church planters from across Latin America invited to attend. Ask God to develop long lasting relationships between the attendees which will enhance church planting strategies across Latin America.

11. Pray for Dalmiro & Laura Ortiz as they have recently returned to Bolivia. Pray for Dalmiro’s service of shepherding pastors in eastern and rural Bolivia, as he continues to develop and implement theology and discipleship programs. Ask God to continue to provide resources and partners to Dalmiro’s ministry, that the churches and pastors would be blessed with an abundance of support for their growth.

12. Pray for Marcelo Robles, a friend of SAM and pastor in Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a member of City to City Latin America’s network of pastors, Marcelo is a key partner in the plans to start an Incubator church planting training program in Buenos Aires in 2019. Pray for Marcelo and his church, La Mision, as they operate in a key sector of Buenos Aires. Pray that God would sustain Marcelo as he is a bivocational pastor, and that God would use his work at the university to continue to grow the church and draw university students into relationship with Christ.

13. Pray for the church plant, El Camino, in Arequipa, Peru. TEAM missionaries Craig and Sue Querfeld began this church alongside two other couples back in 2001, and for the past four years the church has been run under Peruvian leadership, with Pastor Arcadio Vilchez as their Senior Pastor today. Pray for Craig and Sue as they continue to minister alongside this church body. Pray also for the next two church plants currently at work through El Camino with two other missionary couples: Jason and Sarah Sheets, working to see a church body established in an under-resourced neighborhood, and Seth and Jessica Malec, starting a church plant in a middle class neighborhood alongside their missionary partners Eward and Esme Zarate. Ask God to bless these efforts, that His Word would be proclaimed in Arequipa through these church plants and that the city would be transformed by the redeeming hope of the gospel.

You can download this month’s prayer guide as a PDF: July Prayer Focus

“Be still and know that He is God”. Reflections from an intern.

June 27, 2018 |

Every year we have the privilege of hosting interns alongside our missionaries in South America. We see the many ways God challenges and deepens their faith as they step out of their comfort zones and experience new cultures. Even further, we see a correlation between length of service and areas of growth. This year our interns have primarily served for at least three months and we rejoice to hear how God worked in their lives while they served overseas.

It’s estimated that more than two million teenagers from the US participate in short term missions each year. For adults, there’s an average 1.5 million US participants who serve annually and return to the same organization or location. But what happens when someone who has served in short term ministry transitions to a longer length of service?

SAM intern Hallie Dilworth served in Bolivia for three months and reflected on her experience first transitioning to Bolivia after having already served on short term trips before. She said that in short term ministry “it’s easy to feel busy and valuable. But when you’re on a ‘mission trip’ for three months, every day is not like that, especially here in Bolivia where life moves a lot slower than most places I’ve been.”

These words reflect the shift in culture and lifestyle often experienced by new missionaries who transition overseas. It’s not uncommon for new missionaries to feel a “slowing down” of life when they step outside of the US and into a rural or developing country.

Hallie arrived in January to work with Jason and Jenna Weigner, who serve in the countryside of eastern Bolivia and are currently working alongside Fundación Raphá to build a discipleship center for the indigenous church.

Living in the rural South American countryside is challenging, yet beautiful in many ways. As Hallie puts it: “San Jose is a very small town, charming in its own unique way. In the plaza there is a huge, gorgeous church that is the main landmark. Many of the roads are dirt, and the buildings are very rustic. Sometimes you walk into what looks like a shack, but inside it’s a nice restaurant with white tablecloths.”

More importantly, Hallie began to wrestle with her own expectations of serving overseas, as many missionaries do soon after arrival. Her self-awareness and reflection are one of the key steps to longevity in missions:

“I didn’t think I had many expectations going into this experience, but I’m slowly realizing that I actually did. My missions experience thus far has consisted of trips that were no longer than two weeks. On such short trips, every day is typically packed with VBS or feeding the homeless or building houses… This change of pace has been interesting to get used to, but I think it’s a very good thing. “

Likewise, Hallie discovered the difference between an identity rooted in what she does and an identity rooted in who she is in Christ:

“Back home, I fill every single moment with school, work, Bible studies, volunteering, social life, etc. On the rare occasion I have free time, I get stressed because I don’t know what to do with it. I put my identity and value in how productive I can be or how many plans I have, instead of letting God show me how to depend on Him. But now, I’m being forced to change my pace and be still and know that He is God.”

Ultimately, Hallie concluded what we hope for all of our missionaries: when we rest and wait upon the Lord, we hear him more clearly. “It’s easy to miss Him [at home] when I’m constantly filling my schedule so that I can feel good about myself, but here I feel more aware of Him than ever. I’ve learned to appreciate the little things a lot more and to be aware of the blessings God showers all over His creation every day. It’s been a humbling experience so far, doing small tasks as part of a much bigger mission, and trusting God that He will use me as His servant.

If you’ve thought about participating in short term ministry, or have even imagined longer experiences like an internship, consider how God could be calling you deeper into relationship with him through missions. Allowing God to strip away so many of our cultural norms and to reveal his character in surprising ways through new cultures is truly a humbling and faith-growing experience.

*Photos by Hallie Dilworth

June Prayer Focus: SAM Missionary Corps

June 1, 2018 |

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the world, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.” – Colossians 4:2-4

When called to ministry, we are still first called to love God and love our neighbor. The additional challenges of living in a new culture and operating in a second language can make that command seem daunting at times for cross-cultural servants. This month we continue to pray over our missionary corps, who serve throughout South America, as they face obstacles in their ministries and personal lives. Like Paul asked the church in Colossae to pray over him, we ask that God would open a door to each of our missionaries, that they may be salt and light in their communities.

Whether the trial is medical, interpersonal, financial, logistical or spiritual, we know that in all things God is righteous, just, merciful and the true source of hope to his people. The trials and hardships experienced in ministry are no easier, and often more difficult, with the added stresses of cross-cultural work. We pray over our missionaries this month with the confidence that David had: “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” – Psalm 55:22

MISSIONARY CORPS PRAYERS

1. Pray for our missionaries who are on Home Ministry Assignment. Pray for those who have returned to the US for their Home Ministry Assignment (HMA), that their time in the US would be rejuvenating to their souls and a time of blessed fellowship with their friends, family, and network of supporters. Ask God to provide the necessary resources for these missionaries to confidently return to the field. Pray also for our missionaries who are preparing for their upcoming HMA, that God would enable their remaining time on the field to produce opportunities to present the gospel, and that God would comfort them as they say goodbye and prepare to temporarily leave their ministry context.

2. Health concerns can inhibit ministry and are a hard reality for some of our missionaries. Pray for the health of our missionary corps, that God would sustain them in ministry and provide the necessary strength for their service. Ask God to heal the sick and wounded, and to guide the hands of surgeons and doctors who are currently helping some of our missionaries overcome severe health issues. Pray that our missionaries would find God’s presence and voice a true source of comfort and hope within their suffering, and that God would give them the grace to be able to minister to others from their weakness.

3. One of the difficulties in cross-cultural ministry is developing deep fellowship and community, particularly as every cross-cultural servant has left their home country and sacrificed their opportunity to remain close to friends and family back home. Pray for the friendships and partnerships of our missionaries, that God would strengthen these relationships and use them to provide stability and comfort to our missionaries. Ask that God would provide deep friendships to our missionaries who are new to their field and ministry context, or who are experiencing loneliness. Pray that God would bless our missionaries with sincere fellowship with fellow believers who speak truth and bring hope to our missionaries as they continue to serve cross-culturally.

4. Resources and funding are potential areas of discouragement for missionaries and cross-cultural servants. Pray for our missionaries who lack sufficient resources or funding to confidently serve in their current ministry. Ask God to sustain our missionaries physically and financially as they continue in service. Pray that God would provide new ministry partners who will financially invest in our missionaries and ministries. Pray also that even in times of minimal funding or resources, our missionaries would be blessed with confidence in God’s call for their ministry and his unending love for them, his children, similar to the apostle Paul who learned how to be content “in times of need and in times of abundance” (Phil. 4:12).

5. Some of our missionaries have close family members who recently passed away. Pray for those who are currently grieving, that God would be their comfort and hope in this time, especially as they are physically distant from their family and loved ones. Ask God to bless these missionaries with peace and with close friends to support them emotionally and spiritually, and to ease the pain that distance can cause. Pray that even in their grieving, they may know the depth of God’s love and be a light to those around them.

6. This month the Bolivia missionary team says goodbye to some of their missionaries who are completing their service. Pray that God protects their final moments together in ministry and fellowship, that they gain closure and feel prepared for their transitions. Ask God to bless these missionaries with wisdom as they discern their next steps, that he would make their paths straight and show them how he has prepared them for this moment. Pray also for our missionaries who remain in Bolivia this summer, that God would sustain them and bless them with deep fellowship as they continue in ministry.

7. Pray for Natalie Suff who has recently joined the Bolivia field. Thank the Lord for his provision for Natalie as she begins her missionary service. Ask God to provide her the strength and perseverance necessary to adjust to a new culture. Pray also for her initial time at language school, that she learns Spanish effectively and that she focuses on the Lord and His will amidst all of the change and transition in her life.

8. Pray for Jorge & Ginny Enciso who returned to Bogotá, Colombia this month. Early this month they completed the adoption process and welcomed an 8-month old boy into their family. Pray for the Enciso family as they continue to transition and establish themselves in their community once more. Ask God to bless their family while they care for their new son, as their children enter a new school and as they all begin ministry again.

9. Pray for Chris & Cristi Haylett as they transition out of ministry in Riohacha, Colombia, and return to the US for Home Ministry Assignment. Ask God to protect their family as they say goodbye and travel this summer. Pray that in their remaining time in Colombia, they remain healthy and that doors are opened for them to share the gospel in Riohacha. Pray for their 3 youngest children who travel with them, that God would ease their pain as they say goodbye and re-enter the US. Pray also that God would grant clear vision and direction to the Haylett family as they pursue their next ministry context.

10. Pray for Hana Kamiya who has been blessed with a fruitful and exciting experience at language school in Costa Rica. Pray for healing as she continues to seek care for health concerns, which impact her placement for future ministry. Ask God to protect her and provide for her as she transitions back to the US. Pray for clarity and confidence from the Lord as Hana discerns her next ministry context. Ask that God would be her comfort and strength during this time of transition.

You can download this month’s prayer requests as a PDF here: June Prayer Focus

May Prayer Focus: SAM Missionary Corps

May 1, 2018 |

The apostle Paul plainly articulated the need for missionaries when he wrote:

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”      -Romans 10:14-15

Across our ministries in South America, we partner with other missions organizations, local non-profits and institutions, the community of believers in our ministry areas, and above all, the local church. Despite our ever-growing network, we can affirm that the words of Christ are still true today: “the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” -Luke 10:1-2

As we continue to step out in faith, allowing ourselves to imagine bigger ways that God can use his people for his glory, we see the immense need for ‘laborers’ to join us in this effort. Our missionary teams pray boldly, and this month we invite you to pray boldly alongside them. Whether it’s staffing a school, managing office spaces, increasing the number of evangelists in a church plant, or tripling the capacity for intentional discipleship in a specific city, we believe that God will bring his people to complete his good work in South America, drawing all of his children closer to him. Pray with us as we ask God to expand our vision and invite his people to join us in ministry.

MISSIONARY CORPS PRAYERS

1. The Santa Cruz Christian Learning Center (Bolivia), SAM Academy (Peru), and Colegio Cristiano La Esperanza (Colombia) are three academic institutes providing quality education with the vision to see their students walking in faith and transforming their communities. Pray for our teachers at these institutes as they minister to their students and are daily examples of Christ in their classrooms. Pray also that God would provide the necessary staff for these programs in the upcoming academic year.

We believe that children and youth are vital to the work of redeeming a community. Children’s outreach and youth ministry directly impact family life and open doors to ministry with parents. Furthermore, we see the future hope of the effects of leadership training with the young people in a community. Pray for our missionaries ministering to children and youth throughout South America. Ask that God would raise up new missionaries to join in this effort and bring his redeeming hope to the next generation.

3. At the heart of our vision to see the communities of South America transformed by the gospel is the call for us to be redeemed disciples of Jesus. The intentional cultivation of prayer and worship is vital to the spiritual lives of our missionaries and the spiritual climate of our ministries. Across our fields, there is a continual need for worship ministry. Pray for our missionaries who currently serve in worship ministry within their local church or at missionary prayer gatherings. Pray also that God would provide talented worship leaders to join us in South America and serve the body of Christ through the talent of music.

4. As South America continues to become more urbanized each year, its international focus grows. Many of the young professionals in Latin American cities are looking to learn English for their careers and educational opportunities. We see the ESL classroom and tutoring relationships as purposeful places where the love of Christ can be shared. Pray for our missionaries currently engaging in ESL ministry, that their witness and character would imitate Christ to their students. Pray also for God to increase the number of missionaries serving in this capacity, who can demonstrate Christ’s love in an ESL environment.

5. As the number of high school students to attend universities throughout South America rises each year, join us in praying for the provision of missionaries to effectively reach these campuses for Christ, specifically in Ayacucho (Peru), Pucallpa (Peru), Santa Cruz (Bolivia), and Santa Marta (Colombia). Pray for our missionaries who currently engage with students and young adults in these regions and ask God for provision of missionaries with a passion for student ministry.

6. As people gather to regularly participate in local soccer games or watch international sports matches, we participate in the opportunity to engage these communities through sports ministry. Pray for our missionaries in Recife, Brazil and Bogotá, Colombia who reach their communities for Christ through sports outreach. Pray also for the provision of new missionaries and local partners to expand the impact and reach of these programs.

Executive Pastor

7. Iglesia de la Ciudad (City Church) in Lima, Peru is a growing church plant that serves as a model for discipleship and leadership training in the context of the local church. As the initial church plant continues to grow, the team is evaluating the opportunity to plant a second church. Pray for the team of missionaries who serve in this church context, that their fellowship would be rejuvenating and their relationships deepened. Pray also for a full-time executive pastor to join this team and help effectively manage this ministry.

8. The Ammi Training Center is an indigenous pastoral ministry in Brazil which ministers to the indigenous community through discipleship, life skills and theological education. The Ammi Training Center is in need of a full-time cook who can use her culinary background to prepare food for the Center while discipling and ministering to coworkers in the kitchen. Pray that God would provide the right person who would mentor coworkers well and help the training center flourish in its ministry.

9. The Santa Cruz Christian Learning Center (SCCLC) is a private pre-k through 12th grade international school, providing quality education alongside a spiritual development program to its students. Pray that God would provide a Director for the SCCLC to manage all facets of the Learning Center and provide spiritual and educational leadership according to the school’s vision and mission. Pray for the staff of the SCCLC as they continue to lean on one another for accountability and encouragement without a full-time director.

10. The missionary team in Bogotá, Colombia has two families in need of homeschooling help and childcare. Pray for our missionary team as they balance their ministry needs with their calling to care for their families. Ask God to provide missionaries and new team members who can help in raising their children and participate in children’s ministry within the outreach efforts in Bogotá.

11. South America Mission partners with the Seminario Bíblico Church Association in the El Alto region of Bolivia, high up in the Andes mountains near the country’s capital. We support this largely Aymaran church association’s leadership development and church multiplication efforts. Pray that God would provide missionaries to serve in this challenging location, who can enhance the association’s church multiplication strategy, leadership development efforts and discipleship of youth.

You can download this month’s prayer requests as a PDF here: May Prayer Focus 

April Prayer Focus: Transformational Initiatives

April 1, 2018 |

S2S April Prayer

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
– Luke 4:18-19

When Jesus read these words from the prophet Isaiah at the synagogue in Nazareth, he set the precedent for the upcoming years of his ministry on Earth: to proclaim the good news to the weary, to set free the oppressed and to heal the sick.

Toward the end of his ministry, Jesus articulated what it looks like to sacrificially love others: “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you… for when I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’… Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” – Matthew 25:34-36, 40

With Christ’s commandment as our guide, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, offering them the hope we have in him and being gracious with the abundant blessings that God has given us. This month, we pray over our transformational initiatives which seek to holistically meet the spiritual and physical needs of their communities so that each person will come to know the life-giving love of God and be transformed by His power.

MINISTRY PRAYERS

1. The Recife Redemptive Ministries team responds to spiritual and felt needs, demonstrating God’s heart for the impoverished in Brazilian communities, making it known that God and His people value them. Pray for the ministry’s partner churches in Tabajara, Rio Doce, and Dois Unidos. Ask God to guide the church’s leadership teams to firm standing in God’s truth and mercy seen in Jesus. Pray for these communities of the redeemed to demonstrate God’s love, in word and deed, to the poverty stricken surrounding communities.

2. Latidos de Esperanza (Heartbeats of Hope) is a crisis pregnancy ministry based in Pucallpa, Peru, longing to see society value the sanctity of human life, bring all the unborn into this world and know Jesus as the author and perfector of life. In addition to spiritual counsel, Latidos provides vocational training through sewing classes, which begin this year in April. Pray for at least 10 women to sign up for the sewing classes, for them to learn and apply new skills in ways that provide for their families. Ask God to provide finances for Latidos to sustain its newly hired Peruvian director, and for her work boosting the morale and commitment of the ministry’s volunteer workers.

Wájaro Foundation

3. The Wájaro Foundation exists for the body of Christ to extend its hand of grace and mercy to the indigenous and vulnerable communities of Colombia. Pray for the leaders of ASPEWA, an association of Wayuu pastors founded with the help of Wájaro, as they build for unity of the body across the nine Wayuu denominations they represent. Thank God for providing funding for an educational initiative catalyzed by Wájaro—equipping more than 100 pastors and leaders with certified educational training from the most practical (literacy, primary, secondary, technical) to seminary level. Ask God for more funding to reach more through this educational initiative in partnership with the Colombian entity COTELGUA. Ask God to dispense his wisdom and grace as Wájaro develops an artisan program for Wayuu women that builds for economic sustainability among Wayuu communities.

4. Novō Transformational Communities exists to empower God’s people in the majority world to create spaces where hurting and broken people can find healing, wholeness and hope. Novō’s first residential community, for men who are dealing with drug and alcohol addictions, is in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, and just celebrated its one-year anniversary. SAM’s Bolivia team serves alongside Novō’s leadership. Pray that Rogelio, Antonio and Dario, Novō’ residents who completed the 9-month program on April 8th, will experience lasting freedom from addiction and abundant new life in Christ. Pray for compassion, strength and wisdom for Project Coordinator, David Salazar, and the rest of the team.

Executive Pastor

5. Iglesia de la Ciudad (IDC) in La Molina sector of Lima, Peru, embraces the community of Caritas Felices, a girls home for victims of abuse, with gospel-centered outreach and financial support as the church discerns God’s lead in building for the welfare of the city of Lima. Pray for the girls from the home who are attending a weekly discipleship group at IDC before the church meets for worship on Sunday evenings. Also, pray for a core group from IDC being sent to the Miraflores sector of Lima to plant another church this fall. Pray that as additional church plants form throughout the city, church leadership will see where the Holy Spirit has begun redemptive works in which the church bodies will be engaged.

MISSIONARY PRAYERS

1. Pray for Stephanie Edgar, member of SAM’s team in Pucallpa, Peru, as she transitions her directorship of Heartbeats of Hope crisis pregnancy center to a Peruvian friend and co-worker. Ask God to give Stephanie discernment as she continues to volunteer with and help shape the ministry of the center. Pray for Stephanie and family—Todd, Naia, Anya and Kaitlin—as they prepare for a four-month ministry assignment in the US beginning mid-May. Pray that Stephanie’s time seeking the Lord during the coming months would reveal direction for her future involvement in ministry and professional development.

2. Pray for Julio and Olga Chiang as the size and scope of their ministry in Peru grows. Ask God for grace as they balance responsibilities of pastoring their congregation in Lima, strategically planning growth initiatives, developing pastors for other congregations across Peru and pursuing professional development opportunities. Pray for the provision this year of an Executive Pastor whose gifting and skills contribute in areas of ministry that advance Julio and Olga’s visionary progress.    

3. Jorge and Ginny Enciso, and children Matilde, Maia and Matthias,are preparing to transition back to Colombia in May after 10 months in the US on Home Ministry Assignment (HMA). Thank the Lord for his provision for the Enciso family during their time on HMA, for the community they’ve been able to enjoy in the States and for the support—relational and financial—that has been raised to sustain them for the coming years in ministry. Pray for the Encisos’ leadership of Fundación Comunidad Viva in Bogotá as the team develops new ministry initiatives this year, for wisdom and for God to maximize the redemptive impact of the various initiatives.

4. In March, Craig and Mary DeLille returned to Recife, Brazil, for a new season of ministry after several months in the US on home ministry assignment. Ask God to enable their gracious and effective leadership among the Recife Redemptive Ministries team as they transition back. Pray for the DeLilles’ discernment as they pursue and for God’s provision of more Brazilian ministry partners to teach at Touch of the Master Music School.

5. Pray for Jake and Lauren Jones, members of SAM’s team based in Bogotá and co-founders of Wájaro Foundation. Ask God to grow their ministry team, specifically providing someone to nurture and care for the Joneses’ children as Jake and Lauren travel to ministry sites across Colombia and as Lauren especially seeks more dedicated time to learn Spanish. Pray also that God will lead Jake and Lauren, as the main representatives of Wájaro to support bases, to people and churches who believe in the vision of Wájaro and are willing to invest financially in the work.

6. SAM partners with Fundación Comunidad Viva (FCV) based in Bogotá, Colombia. FCV’s community center in the neighborhood of San Antonio is a vibrant place where after school tutoring and activities for kids occur in a safe environment six days a week. Pray for Janneth, a Colombian partner on FCV’s ministry team, as she seeks stamina and grace to balance her job of carefully running the community center with time for her family. Ask God to pour out his grace and mercy for continued transformation in San Antonio through the work of the community center.

You can download this month’s prayer requests as a PDF here: April Prayer Focus

Coaching: the need for coaches in missional leadership

March 7, 2018 |

“We’ve all been there. We’ve been working so hard to take our ministry to the next level and it is just not going. The frustration we feel at that time can lead to discouragement, and if it’s not dealt with, it will lead to a missionary leaving the field because they feel like they have nothing to offer.”

This is Susan Querfeld, speaking in front of South America Mission’s leadership team and TEAM’s Latin American leadership. She brings up a diagram of roadways and GPS scenarios.

“When the situation on the mission field changes, the goal of the missionary does not need to change. A coach can help a missionary navigate particular pains or hardships to help them figure out a new route to their goal.”

Heads nod throughout the room; there’s an unspoken shared experience. A calling to ministry overseas is often strong and definitive, but there comes a point where what you felt called to do, or the original intention of the ministry, faces an obstacle. Do you climb over it and continue in the same direction? Do you go around it? Do you divert to a new path? Do you succumb to the feeling of insurmountable futility?

Changes in ministry are never easy. They often involve a sense of loss, or an actual loss of partners and fellow coworkers.

Even abrupt or stark differences in expectations upon arrival to a ministry area can leave cross-cultural missions workers in long periods of doubt and frustration.

But what about when ministry becomes “too much”?

“There are often too many good options, too many different ways to get to where we want to go and how do we choose the right route?” Susan asks. “You came to do church planting, but you wound up spending 80% of your time counseling others. The after-school tutoring, the prison ministry, the discipleship–they’re all good things, but no one person can do them all. How do you decide which one you choose?”

This is why, she argues, we need people with coaching mindsets in missions leadership. It is impossible for ministry area leaders to mentor all of the missionaries who report to them.

Learning how to be a coach can lighten the load for leadership by helping their missionaries problem solve and take ownership of their own goals.

“A coach asks questions based on your gifts, passions, or talents. Or a coach helps you discover those things. They will guide you through determining your angle.”

She differentiates a coach from a mentor in that mentors focus on the present; they talk you through what you’re currently experiencing and either reproduce their own habits and mindsets in you, or they give you advice. Susan defines coaching as an effort to help someone self-discover their path. A series of pertinent, critical questions can lead someone directly out of doubt and into discovery.

If we enter the mission field rigidly, believing we have the answer and with a determination to follow our plan without flexibility, we set ourselves up for failure.

There is a need for humility when entering cross-cultural ministry—an acknowledgement that our own culture, customs, and preferences are not superior or perfect, and that the people we serve have their own rich culture. Likewise, there is a need for humility within ourselves, understanding that we don’t have all the answers and that our plans must adapt to remain viable.

This process of transitioning to a new culture contains many unique challenges, but those challenges don’t inherently mean that it’s an impossible task. A coaching mindset in missional leadership could just be the answer to missionary longevity.

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