Cross Cultural Orientation in Costa Rica, 2018

Costa Rican districts unite to equip dozens of people in their call to missions

Thirty-seven participants from both districts in Costa Rica attended a Cross-Cultural Orientation Sept. 7-9 at the Poas Church of the Nazarene. 

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Sixteen volunteers, including district and field leaders as well as missionaries, helped make the event possible.  Regional Coordinator of Nazarene Missions International, Ana Maria Crocker, shared in several sessions.  Pastor Felipe Flores, Costa Rica North District Superintendent Rev. Johnny Calvo, and Costa Rica Central District Superintendent Rev. Sirlene Bustos all shared the word of God.

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Nazarene Global Mission coordinators at the district and field levels organized the event.  Nelson Vega serves through Global Mission in the Central District, Estefania Amador in the North District, and Freya Galindo serves in the Mesoamerica Central Field. 

“To see happy faces and people believing that they can do a little more, to see them wanting to answer a call with conviction – it’s priceless.  I feel very satisfied with what we achieved. I know that God used me as part of his plan, and that’s the most comforting thing a person can feel.  Even though he does not need me, He decided to let me be a part, and that’s an indescribable feeling,” said Nelson Vega about the CCO.

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Below are a few snippets of testimonies that the participants shared.  You can read the full testimonies on the Costa Rica Global Mission Facebook page: 

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Christopher Quinto, Los Ángeles Church of the Nazarene: It was an experience where I rediscovered my call and got excited again like the first time. I rediscovered that “The sky is the limit,” and now I believe in my abilities and virtues. The event challenged me to not stay still; it was the impulse that I was lacking to move forward and not give up when obstacles come my way.

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Xavier Yadir Diaz Chavez, Cañas Dulces Church of the Nazarene: A lot of things happened during this camp, but the one that impacted me the most was that God clarified a thousand doubts that I had. I never thought that I could be so sure of where I am, and from where God has brought me. My life is sealed with God’s name and that will never change; the best is just beginning, so let’s prepare ourselves for unimaginable things in our lives. 

DSC_0295.jpgDaniela Solano, Tibas Church of the Nazarene: As a pastor’s kid, for a long time I took on responsibilities in the church only because “there was no one else to do it,” but it was not something that I ever saw as a calling. A few months ago I began to ask God to take control of my life and to show me what He wanted me to do. During the CCO I was able to see how God for a long time had been working in my life. I could see how I had missed a lot of details and that my call to missions had been there the whole time. To see the full picture of the little confirmations that God had been planting in my life was what made me finally state during this camp, “Here I am, send me.” 

DSC_0299.jpgDanah Webb Leandro, Desamparados Church of the Nazarene: I can say that every workshop, every activity, every devotion, every word I heard and hug I received during these three days marked my life and created in me a Christian reality totally different from the one I had when I came. This camp gave me a new vision and a new purpose, and it filled me with strength and hope. The CCO gave me a new calling and a new direction to work with my NYI, my church, my community, my country, and even to other far-away places! I don’t have words to describe these three days; what I can say is that this has been one of God’s greatest gifts for my life.

Written by Ana Hernandez in collaboration with Estefanía Amador and Nelson Vega,  Global Mission Costa Rica.

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Every Career is Mission

Scott Armstrong

“An attorney? God could use an attorney on the mission field?”

Her mouth was agape.  She had come to a Cross-Cultural Orientation to learn about missions, and this was the first time she had heard that her “secular” career could be used on the mission-field.

Did you see how I put that word “secular” in quotes? We have grown up in Church and have been told that only pastors, evangelists, and missionaries serve the Lord “full-time” and are called into “ministry.”  Farmers and bankers and stay-at-home dads and moms are relegated to “secular” vocations.

What if God wants all of our lives – regardless of our job – to be ministry? What if God views all of our work and play and rest as part of our mission? What if nothing is truly secular for a follower of Christ?

The division between “secular” and “spiritual” has infiltrated our concept of missions, too. If you are called to be a missionary, shouldn’t you jettison your college major in psychology or dietetics or music in order to focus on what’s really important: theology and preaching?

Let me state this clearly: studying theology and Bible is essential for any believer and especially for missionaries.  You will need it on the mission field and in your ministry for sure!

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But a degree in something else as well may make you even MORE useful in your missions’ assignment.  Check out what some of our recent GENESIS missionaries have to say:

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“My diploma is in Theology, but I grew up in a family of cooks, caterers and chefs.  This talent I have utilized greatly over the past two years, catering for Church board retreats, brunches for visiting church heads and hosting special guests at the manse by preparing lunches, dinners, and everything in between.” –Crystalla Williams (sent from Trinidad and Tobago to Grenada)

 

21246416_1842539019094464_7988360317864889418_o.jpg“I graduated with a degree in Business Administration, and my career has helped me to: manage finances, keep a good budget each month, write reports and newsletters to my donors, plan and organize ministry events, and in general work with anyone I come in contact with.” –Alejandra García (sent from Guatemala to Santo Domingo)

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“My experience in music has been very helpful in the mission. I was able to teach Scripture using music as a means of learning, as some kids could not read and write. We have tools that can be used for kingdom growth; it just calls for creativity.” –Cleon Cadogan (sent from Guyana to Grenada).

 

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“I give thanks to God for allowing me to study the major that I always dreamed of: fashion design.  Now I realize that my career is an indispensable part of my ministry, not just because I have been able to meet so many people with whom I have shared the gospel, but also because I can teach them basics of sewing and use my creativity to artistically make different materials for all of the events and projects we have organized.  When I reflect, I see that my sewing machine has been transformed into a vital component of my ministry.” –Marlene Valadez (sent from Guadalajara to Querétaro, México)

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“I’m a lawyer.  That major helped me to think of the neediest in our society, and be a voice for those who have none, defending them.  I can enter prisons easier than a pastor could, and I can bring words of life, hope, and love when I do.  I have been able to help the elderly so that their properties are not taken away from them, help the undocumented with immigration issues, etc. The opportunities are endless.” –Daniela González (sent from Oaxaca to Veracruz, México)

And that’s only five testimonies! I received other testimonies from our missionaries who have studied biology, tourism, medicine, psychology, social work, and teaching, and I have decided to share them at www.transformtheglobe.com.  All of these missionaries have been effective in planting churches in urban contexts. But they have been effective in large part because of their “secular” degrees.

The point is: God can use you and your career for his glory – especially on the mission field!

This article was originally published at: Revista Línea

 

 

“Ascribe to the Lord”

Annual Report of Global Mission & Genesis

As Global Mission and GENESIS coordinators we have spent the last month remembering 2017.  One thing has been clear: God has done amazing things and will continue to do so!

Just a reminder: The Mesoamerica Global Mission ministry seeks to Discover, Develop, and Deploy missionaries from our region. GENESIS seeks to make Christlike disciples in the urban centers of Mesoamerica. Mobilizing our entire region to send missionaries, as well as focusing on the transformation of our cities has proven challenging and, at the same time, endlessly rewarding.

Here are a few of the exciting things that have occurred in the past year:

  1. In January and February 2017 the entire region dedicated the first 40 days to praying for the cities of Mesoamerica. This initiative has been launched again in 2018 and is proving highly effective.
  2. Three new Genesis missionaries were trained and deployed last year: Joselyn García was sent from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico to Santiago, Dominican Republic and AJ and Chelsea Fry were sent from Florida, USA to become the Coordinators of construction of the new Center of Missionary Formation (CMF) in Los Alcarrizos, Dominican Republic.
  3. Current Genesis missionaries in Santiago (DR), Grenada, and Guadalajara (Mexico) have done a stellar job planting five churches, and encouraging dozens of other existing congregations. Their testimonies are amazing, but I lack the space to tell them all here; thus, seek them out on the new Genesis app available in the App Store on iTunes.
  4. Five Work and Witness teams have come already to better the seminary campus and prepare the land for the CMF, and fifteen more are scheduled for the coming year.
  5. Although for nine years we had published articles and reflections on culture, leadership, missions, and much more in the transformaelmundo.com blog, on April 9, 2017 we began to do so as well in English at transformtheglobe.com.
  6. In May of 2017 we launched the Worthless Servants Podcast in both Spanish and English. Each episode includes a conversation on missions, culture, the Church, or other topics, and we currently have hundreds of listeners through iTunes, WhatsApp, and other platforms.
  7. Created in 2016, the 10 Characteristics of a Genesis Church (i.e. healthy and missional) have been further developed and publicized throughout the region in district training events, on all social media, and through the podcast.
  8. Two promotional videos were created in Spanish and English to be used in promoting Genesis in the local churches and at District Assemblies throughout the region.
  9. At General Assembly in June 2017 we utilized this once-every-four-years platform in order to promote Genesis in the region and in our entire denomination. We literally came in contact with thousands of people, shared information more closely with hundreds, and recruited dozens of potential missionaries, prayer partners, Work and Witness teams, and donors.
  10. Ten Cross-Cultural Orientations were held across the region with a total of 181 youth and adults interested in missions attending. This includes the first-ever CCO in Haiti held in December 2017. God is truly raising up his church in missions-sending!
  11. A multitude of inter- and intra-field short-term trips have been offered with an estimate of a whopping 112 volunteer missionaries dedicating over 2,000 days in service to the mission-field! I should also note that an estimate of 2,500+ people have participated in Maximum Mission or similar trips in the past year.
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Cross-Cultural Orientation in Guatemala, 2017

Looking back has been encouraging, but we must also look forward with expectation.  What do we sense God calling us to do in these ministries in 2018?

Goals for 2018:

  1. Discover, develop and deploy 12 volunteer missionaries to 3 priority Genesis sites (Monterrey, Querétaro, and Panama City).
  2. Receive 15 teams in 2018 that participate in the refurbishing of the seminary and construction of the Center of Missionary Formation in the Dominican Republic.
  3. Acquire 7 new partnerships for Genesis development, 2018 priority Genesis sites, and the CMF.
  4. Utilize technology and creative strategies (podcast, social media, etc.) to promote dialogue regarding issues of urban mission, missiology, and the 10 Characteristics of a Genesis church.
  5. Create “Continuing Education” training classes for Genesis missionaries to participate in during their 2-year deployment.
  6. Offer 1 or more Cross Cultural Orientation and short-term missions experience in each field.
  7. Recruit and deploy at least 18 youth and adults in six different “Urban Immersion” programs according to field.
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Genesis missionary serving in Grenada

Please pray with us that these goals would become a reality!

As we evaluate 2017 and as we plan for 2018, we must proclaim with King David that any fruit we have seen or any positive things that will ever be done in our ministry are only due to God’s strong hand and his astounding grace.  We ascribe it all to him!

“Ascribe to the Lord, O mighty ones,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.” (Psalm 29:1-2)

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Youth in Mission serving in Haiti