Joel and I recently returned from a trip to the States – we saw family, played in the fall leaves, drank a few pumpkin spice lattes, and most importantly, connected with friends and family who support us in our work with Young Life in Guatemala. We were able to share updates about what’s happening on the ground and invite people to partner with us more intentionally throughout the next year as I finish my initial commitment with YL International.
Throughout our time, a few common themes arose, so I thought I’d do a Q&A based on our time with people in the States.
Q- What, exactly, are you doing with YL? My job title is “associate area director.” That means that I’m not in charge, but I help the guy that’s in charge. The vision is that YL Guate is 100% owned and operated by Guatemalans; after all, that’s the only sustainable option. I came down during a staff transition where the people who had been in charge left – I’m helping in that transition, and love seeing the daily leadership growth of our Guatemalan staff.
In terms of kid work, I serve as a leader with the YL leadership team in Zone 3. I hang out with and disciple a group of girls who were in my cabin at camp last year. I help out with club and other events, do contact work in the community, and help with leadership training.
I’m also working to develop WyldLife (YL for middle school kids) at a local Guatemalan school. A group of parents asked if we could start working with their kids, the admin gave permission, and we just had our first club this month. There is a lot of opportunity for growth and development here as it’s a start up ministry. The more trust the school has with us, the more we’ll be able to be involved in kids’ lives. My dream is that as this develops, God will provide Guatemalan leaders from this community that I can train to take over.
Add in coordinating with 3-4 work teams / year and we have a very full schedule!
Q- What are you most excited about in YL? We’re one week out from camp, so I can’t think of any other answer! Camp provides the time and space for kids to know Christ in new and different ways, and second timers to enhance their leadership skills. I’m excited for the kids I’ll be working with on the Work Crew as this is an extremely formational time in their lives and walks with Christ.
Q- Does Joel work for YL? Nope, but he used to both volunteer and work as part time staff. YL is a part of his story, and helped take him where he is today. He works for the Center for Transforming Mission, in partnership with CRWM. He’s the training director for CTM Guatemala.
Q- Does your work overlap? Yes. Joel’s organization networks and trains leaders working in high risk communities in Guatemala City. I represent YL at their trainings, and am learning many lessons from Guatemalan leaders who are serving in hard places.
Q- Do you both have to fundraise? Not currently. As of now, Joel’s organization does the fundraising for the staff on the ground internationally. We do have to fundraise the Young Life budget, though. We fundraise 100% of the cost of me being on the ground here – salary, insurance, program budget, training expenses, some camp costs. Without fundraising I could not be here doing what I’m doing. So, “thanks” to all those people who help make that possible!
Q- What happens if you don’t make your budget? Many people assume there is a YL pot of gold somewhere out there over the rainbow that will help cover any deficit we have. That’s not the case. If I don’t make budget, I don’t get paid. As of right now, we have a $6,000 gap between what we have and what we need. We’re trusting that God will continue to provide generous people who have a vision for what’s happening on the ground here.
Q- Are you going to live in Guatemala forever? Yes, no, maybe, we don’t know. We’re discerning as a couple what God has for us both in the short and long term.
Q- How can I support you in the next year? Pray, communicate, and if you’re really up for it – join our monthly support team. We’re looking to increase our monthly donations between now and the end of my initial term (Oct 2013).
Let me know if you have any other questions!