Happy New Year! May this year be a time of renewal, new horizons, and deep joy in our Lord. These are times for us of re-orientation, even of a “rebooting,” and God is opening new doors for what we trust will be effective service. Our favorite N.T. prayer, from Hebrews 13:20-21, is our prayer for you at the cusp of this new year, and we ask you to pray it for us.
“Now may the God of peace,…make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (NRSV)
Barbara continues working to expand the Talita Cumi Girls’ Clubs project. The focus of her doctoral studies is to make the Girls’ Clubs method “evidence-based,” that is, document that it produces measurable change and growth in virtue and character development.
She assembled a team of experienced editors who are reviewing the materials and contextualizing them for Bolivia. This should be ready by May. Sarah Nash, Global Servant in Bolivia is coordinating the implementation of the Girls’ Clubs there, recruiting and training women to be mentors.
In November, Dwight traveled to Ecuador and Costa Rica. Pablo Villarroel, Dean of the Baptist Seminary and a leader in the Convention in Ecuador invited Dwight to explore areas to collaborate in their mission and development activities.
We visited a camp, several local churches, and a school. Volunteers are needed to help remove and reinstall the roof at the school, and we talked about teams from the U.S. coming to serve. The school is already working on a virtues/character development project and they expressed interest in integrating the Girls’ Clubs program into their curriculum. We identified other churches where the Girls’ Clubs program would be welcomed. So Barbara will probably travel to Ecuador later this year to begin preparing for that.
Ruth Mooney, retired IM missionary at the Universidad Bíblica Latinoamericana in Costa Rica and the Rector, Elizabeth Cook, invited Dwight to help them design and implement a rainwater harvesting system. The plan is to implement rainwater harvesting for use in the washing machines and toilets, training students in the method, also.
Water scarcity, will be the largest global problems over the next decade. I encountered this first-hand in Chile, and now believe it is time for it to become a priority in Christian missions. Rainwater harvesting is an ancient practice that actually imitates natural ecosystems, a way to create local solutions and help people regain control or care of their water sources.
Ricardo Mayol, IM’s regional consultant in Guatemala, invited me to work with him on a new ecumenical project, Water for All, addressing water scarcity issues in Central America. Dwight will help with one component, rainwater harvesting. The goal is to set up demonstration systems in each of these countries, addressing particular local problems. I’ll be doing training, site assessment, design, and coordinating installation.