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Gulicks July 2004 Highlights

collage of Peru conference photos

cut-to-the-chase monthly updates about what we're doing workwise

Parenting Workshops
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.

One lady 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.

Annette and I listening to parents commentsOne 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.

Continuing Education CD
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 conference.

Besides the 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 website.

The 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.

The logistics 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 :-), throughout.
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 attempt…

Since the 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 it.*
      youth leaders enjoying the conference

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.)

Throughout 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.

*How Compassion came to Sponsor RAICES
When Eduardo Zuniga took charge recently as the new director in Peru of Compassion International (Christian child sponsorship program,, he commissioned some research so he could better understand the reality of the project. Some of the findings were startling, including the fact that only 20 percent of teenagers graduating from the program claimed to have a personal relationship with Christ and that many of the churches who work with the Compassion project have little or no ministry available for teens after they graduated from Compassion's program.

Faced with these sobering realities, Eduardo began to form a groundbreaking plan to fortify the local churches and he chose RAICES (Roots) training for youth leaders as the ministry best suited to provide this training.

Training for Trainers
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.

We're excited the course is ready to be used and have a new enthusiasm to finish the remaining six classes.

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