In July we finished up teaching a six-week series of workshops
for parents that were the Sunday night program at our local church.
The last class was a highlight because it gave us a glimpse into
some good things God has done through the series.
said that the communication and relationship with her two teenage
daughters has improved markedly. (It was especially nice for us
to know that we've been able to have a positive impact on their
lives because the girls have never been involved in the youth
group and rarely come to church.) Several people explained how
their homework assignments led to positive conversations with
their kids and others told of specific ways their parenting had
been affected. For example, a mother who attends a very conservative
Pentecostal church said that she realized that it was more important
that her daughters have a relationship with Christ than if they
wear pants, cut their hair and have earrings.
of the most meaningful things happened after the class when a
lady came up to me afterwards and asked if there were plans for
any follow-up activities because she was concerned about two families
in particular. When I told her that there weren't, she suggested
that we create a roster of names and contact information so we
could get in touch with people and that the group members could
form a sort of support group for each other. I told her that was
an answer to prayer because we know that we (Tim and I) don't
have all the answers, but God's plan is for His people to support
each other in community, so we were trying to create an environment
in which that community could form.
Just in the nick of time we and our team were able to finish the
14th class of our animated classes on the foundations of youth
ministry in time for our trip to Peru. This was significant because
it meant we could provide a CD which covered the most essential
modules of the program for continuing education after the RAICES
first 14 classes of the RAICES course, the CD also contained a
section on how to organize a training event for youth leaders,
another for parents, another with teaching aids, and another with
all of the best materials from the ParaLideres.org website.
conference organizers created an attractive label (something we
flat out didn't have time for), making 240 copies of the cd, and
selling them for about 3 dollars each. Despite the fact that a
Peruvian friend of ours thought the price was high (obviously
it isn't high considering the amount and quality of the materials
but high considering the amount of cash most leaders would have
had with them), the CDs sold out, which says a great deal about
its perceived value.
This really merits a thesis length treatise to do it justice but
since I don't have time to write a thesis nor do you to read it
I'm sure :-)
I'll try to hit the most important points.
of the trip went very well - travel was uneventful, the timetable
of meetings, the conference, etc. worked well and we were healthy,
though tired at times :-),
So much happened in the eight days we were gone that I'm at a
loss as to where to start telling you about it, but here's an
first RAICES conference for training youth leaders in Latin America
the project has developed in significant ways (including the formation
of a strong leadership team, the creation of a 500 page textbook,
and many other materials, and the in-depth training of 1,000 leaders
and the formation of 200 national trainers) but it has also been
plagued by problems and crises primarily financial and administrative.
These crises reached a peak during the conference in Mexico last
summer and would have prevented the a conference from happening
this summer had not Compassion International in Peru *sponsored
As a result
of this collaboration with Compassion, this conference was a watershed
in the history of the RAICES: a large percent of the attendees
were pastors and for the first time a well organized follow up
program will be carried out long after we have left the country.
And this could turn out to be a model that Compassion projects
in other Latin American countries could choose to follow. (We
are already in dialogue with Compassion Ecuador.)
the week in Peru we had lots of meetings trying to address the
roots of the organizational problems and the future is still uncertain
but it seems like God still has work for RAICES as the possibilities
for ministry keep opening up throughout Latin America.
Compassion chose fifteen people who will be the first students
in our extension program, going through the animated classes and
turning in theirhomework to an official RAICES tutor.
We kicked this program off the last afternoon of the conference
when Tim and I explained the program and walked the students through
one of the classes. Their response, and that of the other members
of the RAICES team, was incredible. For example one of the authors
of the material, Felix Ortiz, is currently studying his masters
in online education from a prestigious school in Spain and he
repeatedly explained to people that he has yet to come across
a course as well done as ours.
the course is ready to be used and have a new enthusiasm to finish
the remaining six classes.