Mary Lou likes to write down the names of the new people that she meets through ministry. It helps her to remember them, even wanting to spell their names correctly, because she wants to get it right. Recently, as she asked one young mother for her baby’s name—which was, Catalella, the mother, Ketty, asked Mary Lou, “Why are you writing my name down?”
Mary Lou has been accompanying our friend, Diana Herrera, who is part of the mission team from the Shalom Covenant Church, which planted a church in the Granizal sector of Bello, is working with the “Community Transformation for Peace” project in the area, and is extending their outreach into the Manantiales barrio. Diana is one who speaks up for and acts on behalf of those who are victims of economic oppression and find themselves in abusive situations. In Manantiales they are working with a group of young mothers and their babies.
Part of the challenging context in this invasion neighborhood of displaced families, involves the presence and work of many organizations, NGO’s, etc., which always want information from the people. Often the people asked never find out what their information goes for. They are part of a survey that leads to nowhere, or leads to empty possibilities, and the person, as this woman expressed, are taken advantage of once again. This is why the woman wanted to know what Mary Lou was going to do with her daughter’s name. It raises the question, “what do we actually do with what we know about others?”
Sadly, in many parts of the world, people ask for information from someone for their own purposes, and not necessarily for the benefit of those who give the information. Diana and Mary Lou, along with the Shalom mission team, are there to serve. In order to be of real service, the mission team knows that they need to meet the people where they are. We have learned that meeting people where they “are” takes time. Where someone “is”, has a little to do with physical location, and much more to do with every other aspect of their life. Meeting someone where they “are” takes time, and “taking time” is an integral part of who Diana Herrera is.
Diana took the time necessary to get to know our daughters, when they were in high school, and be their youth pastor. She takes the time necessary to work with children (check out this recent story from Katie Isaza about Diana). She takes the time necessary to fulfill all the roles and ministries. And she takes the time with these young mothers and has become their trusted friend. For that reason, Mary Lou is able to accompany her in Manantiales and Ketty she looks forward to seeing Ketty and Catalella again—greeting them by name.