This week I learned about the death of Don Victor, a pastor who answered God’s call on his life to be in ministry of people in a shantytown. I’ve been reflecting on his ministry this week.
Where pavement meets gravel in Cartago, Costa Rica, is where you enter the shantytown of Los Diques. This is a place where people with no other means go. Families escaping abusive fathers. Mothers addicted to drugs. Grandmothers raising grandchildren. Young boys whose only way out is to join a gang; young girls whose only way out is to sell themselves. And this is a place the government would rather not exist, which is why they have been so reluctant over the years to give the basic necessities for these people.
Yet, none of this mattered to Don Victor.
There was a major controversy in the early church ( something I know we are not accustomed to today). Luke documents the controversy in Acts 15. There was one major division between Jew and Gentile.
The Acts 15 controversy centered on whether Gentile Christians should go through the same rituals that the Jewish Christians did. It was an issue of what qualified someone to be welcomed into the community. The Jewish Christians were not recognizing the Gentile Christians membership in the church.
Back in 2005 I was in seminary and making plans to do a directed study in Costa Rica that included a mission trip to Los Diques. After much preparation and great support from family, friends, and a church who caught the vision, in January 2006 the first team made their way to Costa Rica.
Since that first trip in 2006, my experiences in Diques have influenced my preaching, teaching, leadership, and ministry in general in various ways. It’s not uncommon for me to share the story of Don Victor, the pastor at the Church of the Light of the New Day in Los Diques, when teaching or preaching.\
But it has not just been on social media. Websites like Etsy, GoDaddy, and WordPress have also been providing the same updates. Thanks to Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), which has been described as a massive overhaul of online privacy.
What about the church?
Since the 1996 General Conference in the United Methodist Church, local churches have been encouraged to develop and follow a Child Protection Policy (CPP). This ensures that practices are in place to protect children and teens, volunteers, staff, and the church.
Here are six ways to let members and visitors know that your Policy is up-to-date.
Jeremy Camp, the Indiana-born Christian artist, has released a new album, The Answer. The album as a whole seems to be ordained for such a time as this. With the brokenness and darkness, we see in the world on a daily basis, a message of hope and light is needed.
And a reminder that Jesus is the answer.
In the title track, ‘The Answer,” Camp speaks to the questions, hurt and pain that is in our own lives and in the world today. If you watch the official video you will meet individuals who have gone through darkness and pain in their lives and have found light and joy, including Camp himself. The message of the song is clear, Jesus is the answer to the questions of life.