What is Normal?

Katie Isaza is a Covenant missionary living and serving in Colombia with her husband, Julio, and their two sons.

What does a “normal” “or “typical” week look like for us as we minister in Colombia? This is a great question that we are often asked. And my answer is often that there truly is no typical day or week. I imagine the same goes for other missionaries serving in other parts of the world– every day, week, month, and year looks different.

While I am generally a routine person, someone who likes consistency and a schedule, God has taught me to also enjoy the flexibility of change and contrast, to balance my desire for order with a willingness to be open to what is needed in the present. We do not have an office or a local church that we go to during the week to work. Discipleship, leadership development, mentoring, and theological education all take on different forms and happen in different places. Many times we work out of our home, hosting meetings or gatherings. We may attend meetings at some of the local Covenant churches or visit the local social ministries of the Covenant located throughout the city.

This morning our kids got out the door by 6am for school (this is a typical day for them), and we will be attending a breakfast meeting with friends. This weekend a few teenagers came over to make cookies to share in the 20th anniversary celebration of Fuente de Salvacion Covenant Church.

One of the things that also factors into ministry is that we live in a very urban setting, which means that we have to incorporate unexpected traffic delays as we plan to visit different ministry settings that are located from one end of the city to the other. Thank goodness for the Metro and good public transportation.

However, ministry often takes us out of our city and into other contexts that are quite different. For example, Julio went to spend time training church planters in the Departments (States) of Cordoba and Sucre last weekend. These areas tend to be more rural, as well as hot and humid because they are inland coast.

Julio started in Monteria, a city smaller than Medellin, with a group of leaders and church planters in an air-conditioned church. The next day he took public transportation to spend a day in a very rural town where the church planters’ training happened under a thatched roof. The architecture of the church is very typical of this setting, and no one is bothered by the heat. The leaders all learned by sharing their own experiences and stories. Together they enjoyed a typical soup for lunch, “sancocho,” which includes chicken, potatoes, yuca, plantain, as well as a full plate of rice, salad, and fish.

Again, this was not a “typical” day for Julio, and yet in other ways it was. This is a context in which Julio loves to serve. This is what brings us joy in ministry–the opportunity to be with people in their context, to listen, encourage, teach, and learn. Whether it’s here in Medellin or in a small town in Sucre, our prayer is that God would use us to accompany others on their faith journeys. This is what normal looks like for us.

Used with permission. Originally published on http://blogs.covchurch.org/isaza/

 

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