One the many things I love about our Latino friends is that they are strong relationally. Whereas, you might say Americans tend to be more task driven, Latinos are driven more by relationships. One isn’t better than the other, but Dawn and I do enjoy the latino culture.
One of my core values, or philosophical beliefs about ministry is that
Ministry flows out of relationship
That belief is not unique to me. The last time I was in Mission to the World’s headquarter’s I noticed they have a big banner that says exactly that, “Ministry Flows out of Relationship.” The point being that if you don’t have the foundation of a relationship with someone it’s hard to move forward. It’s hard to get the task done.
Convivio and the Bible
In Spanish a gathering is called a “convivio” the verb is “convivir” which literally means, to live together. This aptly describes time that is well spent living, laughing and loving with others.
This idea brings to mind some passages in the Bible, that express God’s heart for true fellowship.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. —Acts 2:42-44 (ESV)
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. —Galatians 6:2 (ESV)
“O Lord, that this would be a true expression of the activity and level of relationships exhibited here.”
The Importance of Building on a Strong Foundation
If you need to build on the firm foundation of a relationship in the U. S., it’s even more true in Mexico and other Latin countries. Much ministry is done over meals. Food is a wonderful way to enjoy one another and to get to know each other. When I take our American friends into Mexico I usually remind them of the importance of breaking break together. When we are willing to spend time with someone, it demonstrates that we are interested in them personally.
On the border two very different cultures merge. I see this every time I cross the border and go into Mexico. I also experience it in our church, because we have two languages (Spanish and English) and people from different cultures in our church.
I remember when I started going into Tijuana to get to know the pastors and ministry of Lo Mejor del Trigo. I asked Daniel Nuñez, the leader of the LMT movement in TJ, how I could work with the pastors. He recommended that I begin by spending time with them, and building a relationship with them. That was very sound advice. Since we moved to the border, Dawn and I have worked hard at getting to know the pastors and their wives. We’ve grown to love those that we’ve developed a relationship with.
Also, we’ve eaten some great tacos, and other wonderful Mexican cuisine along the way.
Lord, Hear Our Prayer
One way you can pray for us is that we will build a firm foundation for ministry here that the Lord will use for the expansion of his reign on earth as it is in heaven.
In His Grip, Dave