In his book Cross-cultural Servanthood, Duane Elmer cites a study done by the Canadian International Development Agency, seeking for the principal aspects that foster effectiveness in overseas endeavors.
The CIDA study, replicated several times, demonstrated that, far and away, the most powerful factor in overseas effectiveness was the ability to initiate and sustain interpersonal relationships with the local people. Solid, long-term relationships with host country people was the most important contributor to (1) satisfaction in one’s overseas assignment, (2) transferring technology to local people, and (3) the ongoing success of the projects (sustainability).1
Our outreach here is primarily oriented towards establishing and maintaining relationships with the intent of sharing the good news of the gospel in the context of a relationship. People tend to listen to you better if they are convinced you care.
So we do all sorts of things to communicate compassion and incarnationally transmit truth, the gospel truth of the person and work of Jesus.
This week, along with the local church here and a group from Pathway Community Church we did several events of this nature. On Monday we were able to distribute 5 wheelchairs to needy people. We’ve seen several of these recipients since, happily cruising local streets in their chairs. On Tuesday we set up a soccer tournament at a local park, running 4 soccer games simultaneously. 20 teams registered, with a total of 103 kids and young people participating. Saul, a Christian who helps lead a Christian drug and rehabilitation center, gave his testimony. On Wednesday Tina did her annual Easter Egg Hunt, complete with sugar cookies, hard boiled egg painting and of course a gospel presentation, given by Ivonne this year. You can see what co-workers Tina and the Cottrills have written about these events by visiting their blogs at Finding Direction (Cottrills) and in avoidance of the perfunctory (Tina).
Below, some pictures of the events this week.
1Duane Elmer. Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility (Kindle Locations 953-955). Kindle Edition.