A commitment to the whole mission of the church – this is one of the affirmations of the Evangelical Covenant Church and definitely an affirmation the infuses and guides our ministry in Colombia. How are we as Christians and the church being the hands and feet of Jesus in our communities?
At the beginning of October we had the privilege to be a part of meetings that were hosted by Covenant World Relief and brought together people from Latin America and the Caribbean who have been working in the areas of community development and disaster relief. Read more about Covenant World Relief here. The week together was really a dream come true of what it would be like to have these people together who are experts in their respective fields – agricultural development, cooperative neighborhood banks, micro-enterprise consulting, conflict resolution, biblical response to violence, sex-trafficking, and prostitution, community health programs, outreach to victims of forced displacement or economic displacement, education programs, human rights advocacy, and the list goes on.
It was a time of listening to one another, learning from one another, sharing how God is at work, talking through the challenges of these types of projects, etc. It was truly collaboration at it’s best. Julio and I were able to host one of the meeting times in our home (which literally meant transforming our dining room/living room to accommodate over 25 people), as well as accompany them as they visited different ministry sites in the city of Medellin. We walked away from the week encouraged, challenged, blessed by the opportunity to participate. We walked away thinking about how God is calling us to serve the community here in Colombia in tangible, practical ways. How do we stand up to injustice, to love mercy, to foster community development?
Let me leave you with a quote that resonated with Julio and I from Richard Stearns book The Hole in our Gospel: “The kingdom of God, which Christ said is ‘within you’ (Luke 17:21 NKJV), was intended to change and challenge everything in our fallen world in the here and now. It was not meant to be a way to leave the world but rather the means to actually redeem it. Yes, it first requires that we repent of our own sinfulness and totally surrender our individual lives to follow Christ, but then we are also commanded to go into the world – to bear fruit by lifting up the poor and marginalized, challenging injustice wherever we find it, rejecting the worldly values found within every culture, and loving our neighbors as ourselves.” (p. 17-18)