Measuring our impact in ministry
Admittedly, it has always been extremely hard for me to remain committed to my larger, idealistic goals, especially when my every day, tangible goals seem easier to satisfy. Change, however, is the “new normal” for me as I embrace my second year with OM in Ecuador.
In serving here, my immediate responsibilities as the communications facilitator for the Andean Region have morphed into the most important part of my greater life’s work: gathering and sharing narratives that transform lives and communities through service.
Quite often, over the past year, I’ve posed each of the following questions to myself:
- How do I prepare for the years ahead after serving in Ecuador, yet while still serving in Ecuador?
- Am I taking complete advantage of my experience here?
- Are sufficient people paying attention to my message? Enough to create impact?
In this upcoming year with OM, I have pledged to commence my manifesto of present-ality—the mode of making the present moment the most important one, a moment of possible change as the constant focus.
And when I say “focus,” I mean nothing more than an intentional and direct emphasis on proclaiming the glory of God unto the nations through my testimony in writing and in person. This level of focus means that, while Ecuador may be an exciting and adventurous context to expand my horizons in this natural world, my real goal is more pointed toward expanding the Kingdom of God.
After my second year of service in Ecuador, I aim to be braced with an amiable capacity for anything. Even more, if my time on earth were to expire within the next year, I would want my legacy to stand as someone who embraced every moment that life presented me, one who showed-up and performed.
My ministry goal is now to live a life of duality: enjoying my limited time on earth as I prepare for my eternal life with Christ. He is indeed whom I follow, even into the terrains of Latin America.
When I think about “the mission” here in OM Ecuador, I assume a manifesto for accepting my life’s legacy as nothing more than Christ’s legacy—a legacy of being present and embracing the changes in this life because, in Christ, I am more hopeful of what lies ahead more than I am concerned about what may be unstable in this life.
Recently, I saw the importance of being flexible and assuming a present-ality manifesto while on a trip to the traditional Ecuadorian community of Cañar, where life value schemes change so often, from the ideal to the necessary and immediate.
In Cañar, a prospective medical trip aimed at examining eyes and prescribing sunglasses and reading glasses for local residents, evolved into a sports tournament for soccer, American football, and basketball, as well as a Vacation Bible School outreach for youth. These changes actually afforded me the opportunity to serve as a clown as I amused and supported new members of the Christian community from the outreach.
This differed greatly from my plan to translate alongside an ophthalmologist!
Were sports and clowning the plan of OM Ecuador’s outreach? Not exactly. However, the profound lesson for me was that God uses measurable changes in our plans to create moments of humility. Being present—really present—in these moments opens our eyes to the greater impact for eternity instead of earthy, natural measures of inconvenience.
Isn’t this comforting? To know that God has order and balance in a world of inconveniences? My outreach in Cañar certainly has me assured of this.
My larger life question now has become: am I (are we) not meant to assume responsibility to impact the situations I (we) often complain about and dislike, instead of making them bigger than necessary?
As a charge, it is my aim to reinforce two main truths for the experience in missions and in life:
- God is supremely in control of life
- All life’s happenings, including the changes and conveniences, are known to Him
Because of these truths, we can show up and be present in our lives throughout any circumstance. In fact, we can make a daily, monthly, and even a lifetime of meaningful impact in the world by simply showing up and being present in the time of challenge and of change.
Why? Because Christ is at the center of everything in this world and promises to makes all things new (Revelation 21:5), as well as to never leave us or forsake us until the end of the earth (Matthew 28:20).
Even more, because we can measure change as automatically in His will or not, we can therefore create impact in nearly every decision by simply honoring Him and His promises!
Let us, from today, moving forward, go into all the world to create impact by measuring the changes of life as necessary!