The Next Step
Team Arequipa is very proud to release its first newsletter. As we take this next small step in our journey toward the mission field our excitement grows, and we are hopeful that yours will as well. God has continued to bless us all along this path with support and encouragement. We hope to continue fostering support for the sake of our work and to give encouragement in return with the monthly testimony of what God is doing in us.
Most of all we desire that this newsletter means of bringing our work before God in prayer. We ask for many partners in this, so that God's will might be done. Thank you for all your love and support as our journey continues.
A Brief History
Team Arequipa, of course, was not always Team Arequipa. A group of students at Harding University (Searcy, AR) met just before Christmas 2001 with little more than a general interest in South American missions. The next semester it condensed into a group of students with more than passing thoughts of going into the South American mission field. This core of around 12 members scheduled to team retreat with some of the Harding professors in order to begin work on team dynamics.
After this the “South America” team met biweekly to continue work on a team formation packet begun at the retreat and to discuss doctrinal issues. Having tentatively set an arrival date of summer 2007, the major concern was then to target city or population. Nearly everyone's interest lay in urban missions, but the team had no method for choosing a city. Providentially Dr. Bill Richardson, an associate professor of Bible at Harding and former South American missionary, was initiating the Latin American urban project the following summer. The projects continued aim is to address precisely the difficulty of intelligently selecting a city in Latin America for mission efforts.
The team decided to choose from one of the three cities targeted y the research project that summer, and four of the “Team 2007” members participated in the research. After presenting the findings the following semester, Arequipa, Peru was unanimously selected, and Team Arequipa was born. An overview of Arequipa can be found on the Team Arequipa website (teamarequipa.net), and the research data is available at the Harding Center for World Missions website.
The team composition has changed considerably since its inception. Team Arequipa is presently composed of nine members. Four of those were present at the first team retreat. The arrival date has been changed to January 2008. We are still accepting team members, but a rapidly approaching deadline for meeting new prospects has been set. A final commitment deadline for prospects is set farther down the timeline.
Only about four months ago the date was set for 100% commitment among those who had been hanging around since the beginning. We felt like setting that date would give us a point at which we could begin teamwork in earnest, knowing that everyone is on board and ready to invest fully. This also serves to avoid direct input, e.g. in strategy formulation, from those who might not be in the field with us. We are now meeting monthly, which is less often than we would like, but it is the reality of being spread over Nacogdoches, TX, Memphis, TN, and Dalton GA.
Our first meeting after the commitment date was a retreat at Megan’s home in Tullahoma TN. There we began afresh on the team formation packet we had begun when the team was forming. The product of that weekend, including much wrangling of words, is the Team Arequipa vision statement and mission statement.
As we have discovered in the process of team formation, defining such things helps us understand one another as much, if not more, than the final product allows us to explain ourselves to others. Hopefully these statements communicate something to the reader, but for us each word is packed with all the other words that didn’t make the cut. If you don’t know what we mean, we do!
Perhaps, though, it will help to give a brief explanation of both vision and mission. A vision statement, most simply, is a short, direct articulation of the imagined final product. This is what we want to see when we look back from the flight home. The mission statement gives us a chance to say some of the things that just wouldn’t fit in those seven words. Here we mention key functions, means, values, and standards for completing our task among the people of Arequipa. “Official team definitions” for each of our core values can be found at our website.
Another development is the formalized advent of mentoring under Dr Bill Richardson and his wife Holly. The Richardsons have long-term missions experience in Argentina and Chile, providing an indispensable resource of knowledge and insight. Their friendship and guidance has always been a blessing, and we are thankful that they have decided to continue holding our hand as we navigate the sea of preparations ahead.
Our ninth and newest team member is Sidney Holloway, who recently proposed to long-time member Ingrid Esparza. We rejoice with them as they plan to be married on Dec. 17th of this year. We have been praying for additional team members. God certainly answers prayer!