|Football school coach Luis Savaraín "San" Oniava at work this week.|
Another week of civil action by educational workers (a three-day walkout to show solidarity with the country’s striking miners – how very noble) put paid to much of the schools work this week. Plenty of time freed up, then, to attend to other matters, such as the latest update for FT’s supporters, which I wrote and sent out this week – on which note, if you’d like a copy of the newsletter, or to add your name to the e-mailing list, get in touch.
As missionaries we also took advantage of the quieter working week by meeting together as a team, something which, regrettably, had fallen by the wayside over recent months. Indeed, we had made a commitment in the new year to meet every couple of weeks to pray together, so it really was high time we convened. Over the past few years, as its separate volumes have been published, I’ve been delving into Alastair Campbell’s intriguing diaries of his time working under Tony Blair, and something that frequently comes to the surface is a sense of cabinet ministers – who, through the media lens, appear largely united behind the Prime Minister and his agenda – in practice becoming increasingly lost in the business and bureaucracy of their individual departments and attendant Sir-Humphreys. Funnily enough, our experience here as missionaries is not without parallels (minus the Sir-Humphreys, thanks goodness). Though we are, in theory, united by a sense of purpose which many of our fellow workers at FT lack – particularly our non-Christian colleagues – we are, at the same time, deeply embedded in FT’s four main areas of service. In that respect, one can very quickly lose sight of that united purpose if one is not careful – and it is therefore of vital importance that we meet as regularly as possible to bear one another’s burdens.
So it was great this week to dedicate a morning to just that purpose, giving equal weight in our discussions to our roles in the church. Indeed, speaking of church, Amanda came away from the meeting with a whole new job! KC and she had been discussing the need for greater co-ordination of the youth programme. The church’s youth meetings largely go off without a hitch. However, with all of us on the youth committee deeply committed elsewhere (not unlike the missionary team situation, truth be told) there is a sense in which we fly by the seat of our pants, getting from one Saturday to the next.
For a long time, we’ve sensed a need for enhanced strategic planning, particularly when it comes to special events and fundraisers for the end-of-year camp (run jointly with other youth groups in town). One idea knocked around earlier this year, to give an illustrative example, was to make and sell a meal (a very common way of raising money here) every two to three months, with the proceeds going towards helping the young people, many from poor families, pay for camp. We managed one such fundraiser early this year but quickly lost sight of the long-term goal.
What KC and Amanda will do in the next few months, then, is look at next year’s calendar and plan the group’s activities accordingly, not only around fundraising events, but also special, one-off meetings and trips. The Olympics-themed activity, which came to a close last week, highlighted the boost that an incentive-based scheme can bring to proceedings (the young people were divided into three teams and competed for the gold, silver and bronze ‘medals’ – in reality, three exceedingly good cakes baked by Amanda and co-leader Mariana) and they’ll be looking into taking a similar tack, but over a full year rather than a few weeks.
Returning to the present, we start a new, four-week series with the youth tonight in Daniel, a book whose relevance to youth ministry is, to me, blindingly obvious, as we read of these exiles in a foreign land, the at times suffocating pressures they came under to conform, and, through it all, the awesome robustness of their faith – the three rebels’ cry of defiance in verses 17 and 18 of chapter three a sobering inspiration to all of us who count the cost. The lessons of Daniel have especial relevance in this culture, where, alas, peer and familial pressure to follow the crowd are largely indistinguishable. It will be a particular privilege to introduce this book to the several teenagers in attendance who have never had meaningful Sunday School contact. In any case, I’ll be kicking things off tonight with a focus on chapter one and the episode not otherwise known as Diet-gate.
|Here's our house as it stood on Thursday, with work beginning on the,|
sadly necessary, surrounding wall. Work on the roof should hopefully
begin soon -- recent blockades have frustrated progress on that front.
- For improved time-management and self-discipline from ourselves as missionaries as we seek to meet more regularly to support one another.
- For Amanda and KC, that God would infuse them with a vision for 2013’s youth programme.
- For the young people as they begin to reflect upon the challenges of Daniel tonight.
- For our meeting this week as missionaries.
- For the Lord’s faithfulness in protecting the youth group – indeed, our numbers have grown considerably in recent weeks – when we’ve been distracted.
¡Que Dios les bendiga!
Craig & Amanda