Thursday, January 15, 2015

Best of 2014: Growing Pains

Welcome to Part 4 of a six-part series about ministry highlights from last year. This post is about how Fernando has mentored three young men and how they have grown.

Paul-Timothy Relationships

The Apostle Paul mentored younger men in the faith, such as Timothy, while they were serving in local churches. With this goal, Fernando has developed mentor relationships with Alex and Wilber (see Part 2) and Elvis.

Elvis (middle in the picture) is a young pastor from a community about an hour from La Ceiba.

He has shown outstanding commitment and discipline in his studies with the Garífuna seminary. This is what last year looked like for Elvis:
  • He started a church in his community, which has been growing and reaching people with the gospel, including those who have struggled with alcoholism.
  • He communicates with all of the seminary students, giving them information about classes and asking them how they are doing in their studies and ministries.
  • He has been an invaluable assistant for Fernando in the seminary.

Fernando's role is spending one-on-one time with them and giving a listening ear. As they encounter difficulties in their work or in relationships, he prays with them; when they need to make decisions, he asks them questions to think things through; when they are discouraged, he helps them remember who God is and all He has done. As important as their ministry activities are, this relational aspect is key in developing character and perseverance.

Growing Pains

Not long ago, Wilber (above with Baby J) came to our house, and I (Alison) asked him about his vacation in his home community. I thought he would be happy, since going back "home" is usually the best part of the year for Garífunas who have relocated to urban areas. Instead, he told me he felt so sad because there are very few believers and the church there is weak and struggling. Many people are trapped in alcoholism, including teenager and young adults. Several years ago, this would not have bothered Wilber, at least not much. But this time he simply couldn't just "have fun" while knowing people did not know Jesus, who has changed his life. His question now is, "What can be done?"

Praise God with us for how He is working in Wilber's heart and pray that God will use Wilber to reach many people with the good news of Christ. Pray for his community and others like it, that light will overcome the darkness and freedom will break chains of bondage. And pray for the Lord to prepare and send Garífuna workers to the harvest fields.

Now What? 

The goal for this year is that Alex and Wilber will take on greater leadership in roles where they can use their gifts (for example, Alex is a very gifted musician). The greater vision is that someday these three men will in turn mentor others in the faith!

Coming up in Part 5: I Never Thought I Could

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