Well. It has certainly been a different year than anyone in the entire world was expecting. I agree with whoever it was that quipped that everyone in 2015 who was asked the question “where do you see yourself in 5 years time” was most likely answered incorrectly!
We enjoyed being able to be a part of the usual running of Pure Joy in the first quarter of the year, this being our first year as full time staff, and it was great to build relationships with the children, young people, and seniors that we interact with in our different projects. But it’s been quite a change since then.
Other members of the team will be able to recount a bit more about some of the things we have been able to achieve with those we reach during normal ministry times, so I’d like to share about three different things that I’ve been able to lean into as a result of being at home so much during lockdown.
Firstly, I was able spend time getting a lot of administrative work done for the organization, developing some draft documentation which is now in the process of further development. This included some proposed policy documents such as a Child Protection Policy, Crisis Management Procedures, and Health & Safety Principles. These are the kinds of things that can fall to the wayside in the midst of “doing ministry” but are important to have thought through and put in place in case of future need, so it has been great to get these put forward for implementation. It also included developing a staff manual that looks at things like having a clear vision and mission, the structure of the team and various responsibilities or its members, and expectations of all staff. All of these are under review by the Board of Directors, to be followed up by discussion by the team here in Guatemala, so that improvements and changes can be made before they are officially adopted.
Secondly, I have been able to start an online ministry (giving Pure Joy another international reach of sorts) offering training to new missionaries in support raising. As staff from a background with YWAM (Youth With A Mission), we raise our entire financial support to be on the missions field and so have friends, family, and a couple of churches that generously give to support us and our work. Being at home has offered time to use zoom and other platforms to engage with and train those who are preparing to join the mission field who will be raising support to do so. It has been great to encourage new missionaries in Africa, the UK, The Carribean, and the US, with some interest from other places too, and it’s encouraging to be able to contribute to global missions this way, even whilst stuck at home.
Thirdly, I have been able to take advantage of some web-based training opportunities for myself during this time. Part of this has been training related to coaching and support raising teaching, to better prepare and equip myself to teach those that I have been engaging with in that ministry. Another part of it has been training in Member Care (how to care for missionaries), through two online courses offered by the Global Member Care Network. The two of us are also currently completing a leadership school offered by a church in the US called the Square, which is focused on spiritual leadership. Finally, although not ministry-related per se, we have been doing a course called the Marriage Sessions, offered by Care for the Family in the UK.
Admittedly, this time during lockdown with limited options for going out has also involved more Netflix than usual, but it has been good to be a part of all of the things I have mentioned, as well as continue to be involved with the rest of the Pure Joy team. Thank you for your support during this unprecedented (however overused that word has become) time - we hope to come out of it better equipped for ministry than ever, and to make as much of a difference during it as we can.
-Francis & Andrea