About 15 years ago, I heard a representative from NW Medical Teams speak about their work in various third world countries. Their volunteers usually perform Humanitarian and Christian work in two phases : “Service-based evangelism”, followed by “Proclamation evangelism.”
The first category includes such things as providing help for medical, dental, hygiene, food, clothing and shelter needs, as well as teaching/training native people to become more self-sufficient in these areas.
Follow-up Proclamation evangelistic work aims to establish local churches, and develop/equip pastors and Christian lay-workers to spread the Gospel. Most churches begin as community “Bible Club” houses which are built with a combination of local and volunteer labor
When a friend in my church invited me to go on a mission trip to Mexico City and Oaxaca in 1995, I did not want to even consider it.
During the years since, I have taken another 14 trips with NWMTI (now MTI, International), doing a variety of different projects:
It is not always clear to me what God is doing in some of these places, but a few people show very clearly that the faithfulness of God’s people produce the results He intends. We met a young man teaching children in the Huruma school on practically a volunteer basis. Peter was teaching language arts by forming letters, then words, then sentences from little pieces of modeling clay, as the children have no pencils or paper. (He also tutored the children of wealthier people for $0.20/hr.) This Christian man’s love for his people touched us and we are now the proud “Wzungu” big family of Peter Wakori, a junior in Daystar Christian University, majoring in education and computer science. Upon graduating he plans to return to Huruma to develop educational systems.
In the case of Oaxaca and other Mexican locales, God’s blessings have become crystal clear to me. I was privileged to help build the initial Bible Club Houses in certain villages, then invited back years later to help build additions onto rapidly growing churches. On my last trip I was gently informed that the native pastors, teachers, lay-workers and Christian service organizations have assumed essentially all critical functions and that MTI is no longer needed in these areas. In what was possibly my last church service in Oaxaca, I attended a Sunday evening worship service on Feb. 15, 2009 which lasted from 6:00PM until 11:00PM. People sang, clapped, danced and prayed, many coming forward to kneel on the dirt floor of the sheet-meta and cinder-block worship building which they proudly call their church.