God is always moving, even when we can’t see or don’t understand. It is a tapestry. Sometimes what we see right now looks like a mess of tangled thread. Someday God will show us the completed side which will be a beautiful picture. When that happens we won’t wonder about the twists and turns of our daily lives anymore. Sometimes that is the process in discipleship and community development too. It feels like we can’t see the progress despite our faithfulness. How great a gift it is when God gives us a glimpse of the big picture.
Friday evenings, the Por el Amor building is used for a youth group that meets every week. This youth group is focused on discipleship and leadership training. The intention is that the youth trained on Friday will multiply what they have learned and disciple and train others. Again, we are thankful to be able to provide space. Space for God to move. Space for God’s love and hope.
One of the biggest challenges in the Zone 3 garbage dump community is a lack of collaboration between organizations. In fact, there is a lot of competition and distrust between ministries, churches and organizations. The needs are great in this community which make the need for cooperation even greater. For the Love of Missions has opened its building in the community to be a meeting space for organizations hoping to change this dynamic. In just over a year, trust is growing and new ideas and initiatives of collaboration are being prayed through and explored. Simply providing space has been a powerful catalyst for trust building and cooperation.
The story of Elisha and the widow in 2 Kings 4 provides an interesting glimpse into how God can work in community development. “Elisha asked her, ‘What can I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?’” 2Kings 4:2
Priscilla Shirer highlights our tendency to overlook the assets and resources we already have which is a common pitfall in community development. She states, “How easily we point to our lack. How specifically we highlight our deficiency. How quickly we become consumed with the glaring evidence of all that’s working against us, the hardships that are pressing us into such desperate straits. We are far less inclined to accentuate the gifts and blessings that remain.”
Asset based community development focuses first on the already present assets and strengths in a community, and strengthens those, before considering outside resources. In the story of Elisha and the widow, God is able to multiply into abundance the small amount of oil (resource) she already has. She just had to act in faith that He would. It is the same for those of us working in community development.
Every space in the Por el Amor building is being put to good use. One room has been designated to teach carpentry skills. One of our ministry partners in Guatemala felt led to teach these skills to several men he is in relationship with, but he didn’t have a space to set up and store the needed tools. We are fortunate to have a room available to support this project. As the men learn the new skills, we pray employment and economic opportunities come to positively impact their families and their confidence and dignity grow as they develop skills in a specialized area.
Listen to Janie’s heart about For The Love of Missions…
Why Community Development-
For the Love of Missions believe that life changing community development and discipleship need space and time for God to work. Patience and trust are key when believing that God is moving in leaders and a community. Sometimes this can be challenging. We like action. We like immediate results. We give God the glory for impressing on us the need to be patient and provide space and time. We are amazed at how He is working in local leaders to disciple and create opportunities for more discipleship of their communities and we look forward to what He will do next.