Hello from Lubbock

Hello from Lubbock!! Hope your Summer is getting off to a great start! It's still pretty quiet in the AIM basement - but for now, that is a good thing. With this email I wanted to share some ideas with you. I wonder how many AIM students get to their fields and struggle with meeting people or feeling significantly involved in ministry like they had imagined? I wrote to AIMers on the field several years ago to give me ideas of what they actually did to connect with people and here are some of their answers. Maybe this will help you as you look into ways of making a difference in someone's life. If you have other examples of what you did or are currently doing send them to me and I'll include it in the next email. Read through these and see if any of these are possible for you: "I spent my field time in Mexico City. I was able to work a lot with the Mexican ministers/leaders at my church. This gave me a lot of Language practice. Also by tagging along with them I was able to get to know church members on a deeper level. And by getting to know them on a deeper level, I was able to meet their needs on a more personal level and minister to the non-Christian people in their lives. Towards the beginning it was really tempting to only work paired with the other Americans I was sent to Mexico with. But I found that I could embraced the culture (and it's shocks) and pick up the language faster because I allowed God to put me in uncomfortable situations early on. The ministries I found myself most involved in were ministering to the Church. However it's always important to have a balance on any ministry team; because we can't only focus on the unbelievers, nor only focus on the saints." "One thing that has been good here is to become a "regular" somewhere. And this isn't hard to do. Always go to the same grocery store, video store, restaurant, movie theater, clothing store, gas station, wherever. Then look for the same people and get to know their name and build a relationship that way. It's pretty simple! This might sound kinda funny, but I find reading the newspaper in your local area can be quite informative! It's helpful to find community service projects going on in the area, services needed, community events or fundraisers, all kinds of things! It can help you connect with your area! It might depend on the country, but meeting your neighbors and visiting with them is a simple relationship to build. Having a meal together or just a coffee and a chat! To get to know church members, visits were really good for us! Just going over for 30 min. to an hour and having a coffee and snack and chat. We did that at the beginning of our time to get to know diff. people in the church and it really helped and connected us with people! Also having meals together was good for that!" "If they are on the field it would be good for them to seek out an activity that is popular in their area. For example in Thailand people liked badminton a lot. Well my teammate and would play tennis pretty regularly but because badminton was more popular we stopped playing tennis so much and learned badminton. Then, many Christians were able to use our times that we went to go play as an opportunity to spend time with their not-yet-Christian friends. In Ukraine AIMers learned some Ukrainian form of knitting. In Japan an AIMer took dance lessons with someone." "It will take people getting out of their comfort zones and actually GOING out and being with people. AND they will need to be willing to DIE to their own wants and desires of how to do things and making a sacrifice. You have to die in order for God to be able to use you. (Jn 12:24-26) When we surrender our life to Him, He gives it back to us in its fullest most abundant form" "I really wanted to connect with the community, so I went to the school where the kids from Casa attended and volunteered one day a week to help out in their English classes - whether it was talking with the class as a whole, tutoring a child or two who were struggling, or working with smaller groups of students. The teacher really appreciated the help, I was able to reach out to some kids, and even became friends with some of them... and that opened up the door to help teach the kids from Casa how to use friendship evangelism - they had a door opened for them to help someone out and open their own door to share their faith with the other kids." "The only other advice I would give would be to frequent the same shops/food stands/bus stops, etc. If you get tacos or an horchata every day (ok, so that's specific to those in Mexico, but oh well) then the store owner will begin to recognize you, and that opens a door, too. And other frequent "patrons" of the business might open up to you, too!" "With Christians, I tried to find out what things they were interested in...like cooking, running, movies or whatever. If they are into something I have not tried or was not very good at, then I got to learn something new. That was pretty cool." "One of my teammates made friends with the owners of a small restaurant and he went there to help them with anything he could for a few hours each week for free." "Another way is to meet people at coffee shops or even get to know coffee shop workers. It can also be any place like a restaurant or a store where you go often." "Get to know your neighbors! Do something nice for them like cook a dish or invite them over for a meal." I hope this helps spark some ideas for you. I think the key to your success and feeling like you did make a difference is to get out of your house and out of your comfort zone. Be out with people, stay off Facebook and the internet so much so you can keep your focus on the very people right in front of you. I've seen pride and selfishness cause so much heartache on mission fields around the world so please, if you get only one thing out of this email - simply be a humble servant! Be positive, willing to do whatever needs to be done at any time it is needed! Everyone loves a humble person - be humble! You are my heroes! Kris Smith
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