One of my (Ben) and our biggest passions is to see fruit, not just the fruit of our lives, people coming to our ministries but the deeper fruit of them changing and becoming producers of fruit themselves. Working in prisons, poverty inflicted neighborhoods and similar places this is not always an easy task. So many of the lives we interact with are so burdened with basic needs it is hard for them to think of more than what is in front of them. How can you ask someone who makes less in a year than I have spent in the last three weeks, on normal life things for us, to concentrate more on others than themselves.
Yet that is what we are seeing. Aluiso a 26 year old from the church and Rosalie his 22 year old wife have become a tremendous asset in our(you and us) soccer ministry that I don’t know what we would do without them. The reality is they live monthly on less then my rent, about what I spend on our lunch service, less then the kids tuition payment will be, less then I spend on gasoline, probably about what we spend on relaxing. Yet Aluiso is passionate to help, to see kids in his neighborhood have an opportunity to escape a life of drinking, doing drugs and making more babies you can’t take care of.
Alusio and his boy
They showed us their humble one room house with pride. They constructed it one day with help from the church and are excited to have us over for dinner. They aren’t afraid of having been to our 3 bedroom home, they want to return the favor. They are excitedly hoping to come up with a couple thousand dollars to build a bedroom, they are expecting their second child.
This is the beauty of missions, at the same time as we are evangelizing lost kids we can invest in a young believing family. Their start wasn’t perfect and their understanding of God is very tied into church. How joyous it is to be able to poor into them, encourage them to personalize their relationship with the Father. To offer someone who is here a part of the neighborhood, the city more understanding and more tools to pour back into his neighbors.
All ministry is full of direct impact and byproduct. We are directly targeting kids on our streets our byproduct is often more important. Who is watching, who is joining, who is growing by proxy. The reality is many of these kids, though 5 or 6 snuck up a hand to say they wanted to follow Jesus last night, will simply go on to live the same hard life their parents live. Through byproduct we get the privilege of investing in people who are long term residents and disciples of Jesus. Through byproduct we get to strengthen the existing church, help it focus outward, change perspectives. This will have far more impact on these kids then we could ever personally have.
This is an exciting time for us. God is beginning to open many doors, shut a few others. The kids are getting into a private school, need prayer for testing but are committed to the course. Things in our neighborhood are opening but that limits our ability to be on the river or in Bolivia. These three areas are still the three areas we are passionate but at the moment the prominent one is our neighborhood. Pray for our ability to disciple those around us. From our continued work with TT, Kaela and their family to Aluiso and others from the local body. Pray the kids who gave their hearts to Jesus have that little spark of the Holy Spirit kindle a great flame in their hearts. Thank you so much for your partnership.
God bless and keep you,
Ben and family