Do you know how many chapters there are in the book of Acts? If you do, you may be thinking to yourself, they got all mixed up – there are only 28 chapters! What’s up with adding a chapter to this book? Last Sunday, the inaugural service for this 3-month mission, leadership and discipleship school was held at the Covenant Church in Zaachila, Oaxaca. Omar, the Mexican leader of Acts 29 explained that Luke, the author of Acts, ends this book leaving the reader in suspense. We wonder: what happened next to this group of disciples of Christ, to the first Christian community and to the rest of the churches that were planted? The idea behind adding another chapter to the Acts of the Apostles is that the story continues on, in all those who seek to follow Christ, in us, in the church today.
Acts 29 (maybe better known by it’s name is spanish: Hechos 29) began as a partnership between the Swedish Covenant Church and the Ecuadorian Covenant Church, but has now extended to many countries around the world including India, Chile, and now this is the second school held in Mexico. The purpose of the school is to bring together young people from different cultures to live together in community, growing as disciples of Christ, leaders in the church and community and serving together in God’s mission to make disciples of all nations.
The school started on Aug. 31 with an inaugural worship service at the Covenant Church of Zaachila, Oaxaca. They will be in Oaxaca for the first month and in Mexico City for the next two months.
The Covenant missionaries have the blessing of getting to know them and serve them through facilitating Bible classes, and workshops on holistic mission, servant leadership, spiritual disciplines and cross-cultural relationships during the three month long school. Nils and I had the privilege of having the group over to our home for an American-style BBQ on Wednesday evening!
It was fun to see them laughing, sharing stories, jokes and struggling to communicate in Spanish, Swedish or English. At one point, I overheard Pastor Julio teaching a 6 foot 7 inch Swedish young man to say, “Estoy perdido. Quiero a mi mama (I’m lost. I want my mommy!), which of course had everyone laughing. While I was cutting tomatoes, Lucas came up to me all excited because a young Swedish woman had just taught him how to say “My name is Lucas” in Swedish. All the Swedes agreed that I look more Norwegian and Nils and the boys look more Swedish! I guess our roots are pretty obvious (although I’m a combination of both 🙂 The highlight of the evening for me was seeing all 32 of them crammed into our living room, worshipping Jesus in all three languages, and then after I shared my testimony, being surrounded in a group hug while they prayed for me and our family.
It was a taste of heaven to celebrate together God’s goodness and his love for us, demonstrated in hugs, gratitude expressed and joy in just being together and sharing a good meal.
Please keep the mission, discipleship and leadership school of Hechos 29 in your prayers over the next three months. Living in community is fun but also challenging, especially when there are several different cultures represented. Pray that they may grow to love Jesus more and they may grow in love for each other.
If you’d like to read more on their blog, click here.