22 Nov Catching Up With The Servant Team!
by Clark Blakeman, Servant Teams Director
I’ve learned that there is strong spiritual and biblical support for doing this kind of community engagement. I’m now able to connect the practical activities of holistic ministry with the theology and biblical supports for it. This is opening up my heart to value others in the way God values me. – Yevette Garcia
Servant Teams began on September 2nd with two interns, Yevette Garcia and Taylor Massie, plus the new Program Coordinator, Mandee Campos, and me, Clark Blakeman, the Program Director. Our weekly schedule includes two gatherings for group devotions and discussion of our daily Bible reading. The first few weeks were a bit challenging as some participants were not confident in leading the group through a devotional. Others lacked the discipline to spend daily time reading the Bible. However, each team member is now enthusiastic and capable to lead, and we have witnessed God growing each of us into his likeness.
Our growth is also evident in our training sessions and writing, which focus on Missional Theology and Community Development practices. We have two sessions per week where we introduce and discuss specific topics related to our reading of a variety of books. We have set a high bar for interaction on these weighty issues and have seen the team members rise to the challenge. Discussions are rich and meaningful. Sometimes they are so challenging that intense emotions come out during discussions. In addition to the discussions, the individual team members’ written reflections give a clear picture of the discipleship that is happening.
Due to discussions like this during training, my understanding of Missio Dei is shaping my thoughts about ministry. As human beings we are not the pursuers, God is the one pursuing and he comes into our life to show himself in different ways. – Taylor Massie
Discipleship is also happening through the interns’ weekly ministry with vulnerable kids at a low-income apartment complex in East Portland. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, they help run a Homework Club for 10-14 children primarily from refugee families. This hands-on service creates a context for them to practically apply the things they are learning.
Hearing the stories of these hardworking but frustrated young Syrian children who are learning to read English in order to catch up at school is sad. Their parents seem appreciative, but too shy to engage with our interns, and that also seems sad. But, we want to be faithful representatives of Christ’s love toward vulnerable children both in Portland and East Africa. So we show up each week.
In late January, the team will travel to Tanzania where they will continue to serve for another 6 months with the Lahash partner Grace & Healing Ministry. We’ll keep you posted on their growth and contribution there when the time comes. For now, we praise God for this program that is greatly impacting our interns and those they serve.
To follow the 2016-2017 Servant Team – head over to the Servant Team Facebook page.
To apply for the 2017-2018 Servant Team – visit our Servant Team page for an application.