We began a baseball league here a couple of years ago as a way to relax, keep in touch with old friends, make new ones and do some exercise (or try to, lol). Most people in Arequipa have no idea what baseball is, but it is slowly growing and we are now a six-team league where you can find a variety of personalities, cultures, backgrounds, and lifestyles. We play about two seasons per year. As the seasons go on, you can see the different personalities of each team emerging. There are the “we are here to win, not have fun” teams, the “we’re hungover from partying last night” teams, and the “win or lose, we just wanna play baseball” teams. Jake and I are on a team called the “Lonccos,” which roughly translates to “the rednecks.”
One of the assignments of my internship with Team Arequipa this summer was to do a project related to missions in an area of my own interest. I chose to survey missionaries from around the world with some questions related to language acquisition. My objective was to understand how missionaries learn new languages and the specific ways in which ministry goals and cultural adaptation are contingent upon language acquisition. I sent out my ten-question survey through SurveyMonkey to as many missionary contacts that I and my mentors for this project could think of. A mix of 26 short-term and long-term missionaries from 11 different countries and territories shared their cross-cultural experiences as it related to language learning as well as cultural/ministerial goals. I explain some of my most interesting findings in this article.
I wanted to share some of my thoughts after spending just one day with the CUDA team and hope to pass along the excitement I felt working alongside these servant-leaders. I’ve been a member of CUDA’s board for four years and thought I had a good handle on the scope of our mission in Arequipa. However, visiting the city and witnessing first-hand the amazing work of CUDA’s staff and volunteers was an unforgettable experience.
Two years ago we, as a church family, set out to be more servant-hearted and set a goal to do service projects together. Last year we worked at an orphanage fixing up their study room and dining room. From that service project we began further talks with the director of the orphanage (and of several other orphanages), Pastor José, about how we could continue to serve the kids and orphanages. Paty wrote about the way we have been involved with the kids for the past couple of months.
any of you have followed our journey since returning to the states. My last blog post is found here. Since moving to California, I haven’t blogged much. We have almost been in CA for an entire year. That is unbelievable to me. Our 2015-2016 year has been overwhelmingly full, and I would love to share more of our story.
Working with teens in the urban context of downtown Little Rock for many years now, I have seen various paths that young people take, specifically in going from not following Christ, to following Christ. Just as Jesus taught in the parable of the sower, the gospel (seed) has varying success rates in terms of yielding fruit. The task seems to be, from the parable, cultivating soil.
How we understand and practice mission is at the center of all of our questions about how we talk about the church and how we perceive our relationship with our neighbors. Our confusion about worship practices, our ambivalence about authority, our problems with reading scripture, our malaise about the competing moralities of our cultures, our fear of suffering, our surprising incertitude about what it means to be a church member and our ongoing struggle with nominal Christianity—none of these (or any other currently critical issue) will find their resolution without surer grounding in the practice and understanding of mission.
Fortunately, it gets to be me, and already I have been blessed by the team in my first few weeks with them. No doubt, God has some great things to teach me in Arequipa this summer.