Helping to Tell Stories that Really Matter
Sometimes, if you stop long enough, you look around and realize that nothing is new under the sun and that really, my generation is just telling the same story our grandparents have been telling us ever since we can remember. Sometimes, if you are quiet enough, you realize that your words are not really your words, but that you are just using new language to repeat things that have been whispered to your soul by the examples and role models you had the privilege to grow alongside. And sometimes, if you are brave enough, God opens your eyes to the unique, strategic and life altering opportunities he places before you that tie it all together. This perfectly describes the journey we have been on since God led us to open the Latino Center for Mobilization (CLM) in Mexico City about a year ago.
My grandparents, Juan and Elisabeth Isais, led a very fruitful and cutting edge missional life serving with Latin America Mission for over 60 years! If you ever shared a dinner with Grandmy you would hear stories of how God called her on the train, racial and bicultural issues in missions after World War II, changes in Mexico´s laws regarding religious freedom, that time God miraculously saved them from the Nicaragua earthquake, the “joys” of raising children on the field, and stories, oh so many stories, of friends and saints that gave their lives for the mission of God. If you asked my grandfather every Sunday during lunch what he had preached about, he would answer with a simple: “about Jesus.”
It is this legacy, that became the stage for the CLM, a new (but not) space, coffee shop, organization, and community in the heart of folkloric and hipster Mexico City. . . seeking to do the same. To encourage Mexican and Latino young adults to give their all, to tell stories that matter, to talk about Jesus and the lives that He transforms in their day to day life. We exist to lift up, encourage and help share with others how God is using broken people to surprise this world with His power and love!
We know many Latino young adults who are sitting at home wondering how to get involved, or simply bored and unfocused because they have not heard the stories of what God IS doing. They are unaware of ministry models (Business as mission (BAM), tent making, etc.), frustrated at outdated websites and videos talking about missions only in English, and the all too common “American” missionary model that, in many ways, discourages them from considering “the field”. They have not heard these stories “in their own language,” and, sadly, they won’t unless a group of Latino young adults makes it a priority to share them in a way that they can understand and relate to them. If they do not even know that it is possible and what it looks like, how do we expect them to rise to the challenge themselves?
The CLM exists to awaken, involve and connect the body of Christ in Latin America with God’s global mission. We are professional story tellers, and each time we share about someone´s vision, heart or ministry model, it connects with someone somewhere in the world that says: “Really? You too? I thought I was the only one!”
We do this mainly by using media, videos, prayer meetings with recorded interviews on Facebook live, Instagram images, social media campaigns, networking events, and lots of coffee dates. We have a database with more than 100 ministries (everything from anti-human trafficking efforts, to business models, to Christian education, seminaries and journalism, etc.), links to their websites, real contact information, updated volunteer opportunities and missions trainings.
As Tim Keller says “the Kingdom of God advances with friends” and that could not be more true for the CLM. One Saturday a month, we invite professional young adults to learn about how they can be missions-minded in the workplace and with their finances, and we spend our time sharing what God is doing through our ministry friends in various areas of work in as many ways as we can. We host parties, events, and anything we can think of to attract those who would not naturally attend a missions event. We are here for the other 90% and hope that God uses us to make that percentage smaller amongst our generation.
If someone is interested in missions and doesn’t know where to start, they can meet with a missions coach. In just three sessions, we will ask them good questions such as “What are you using your time for? What has God already given you? What makes you angry? What are you passionate about?”, guide them through a Strengths Finder test and other useful tools, check out the database so they can find an opportunity that is a good fit both for them and the organization, and share with them about the importance of spiritual formation, the basis we stand by for survival in the ministry world! If they are looking for a longer commitment, we walk with them as they prepare to meet various mission agencies, consider the options, etc. Ideally, we want everyone to be involved locally, go on a short-term, cross-cultural trip, and consider long-term ministry, even if it means using a BAM or tent making model. We have an alliance with Nehemiah Project and encourage the business minded folks to take the training and offer up their future plans to God on mission. We desire effective one on one conversations and will work tirelessly to help eliminate the obstacles for Latino young adults as they consider offering their lives and telling the Jesus story to those that haven’t heard it yet!
As I think of the missions movement and how God is raising up those in the southern hemisphere to serve in difficult and groundbreaking places, I cannot thank Him enough for His training and preparation in my own personal life, the opportunities and relationships that I graciously inherited and the tools and resources available for my friends and me to tell the stories of those serving and inviting others to be a part of it. What a dream! His love and power will never get old. Let’s continue to tell about it over and over and over again!
By: Cynthia Ramirez, Serving in Mexico