That's a question we had to ask ourselves as we started working with the Yanesha 9 years ago. Yanesha church leaders asked for training...in truth, they wanted a formal seminary. As we built relationships with the communities and the people, we could see and hear the needs, but we just couldn’t imagine who would attend a seminary, because there were only 3-4 younger pastors (not enough to start an entire formal educational institution). So we tried training modules and had a wonderful pastor trainer to help us twice a year for four years.
Perceiving the multiple needs of the next generations (e.g.: the lack of places to study post high school, places to just hang out and have fun) got us thinking. We began praying and consulting our leaders and some of our supporting churches about the idea. The Yanesha leaders jumped on board since it would be a place for church-based training too. The Lord began to open doors we didn’t expect, and here we are!
This blog outlines a bit more about the whys and hows of this project. We hope it inspires you, answers your questions, and perhaps encourages you to get involved in some way. We covet your prayers, the opportunity to work together, and thank you for your interest.
So how could a building help Yanesha ministry?
In our context, there are no buildings for rent. If the community church owns a structure of some kind, it usually holds 20-40 people. Schools are not available to be rented for church services. Hence some practical ways we anticipate this training center serving the surrounding communities:
Ownership: This is the first training center of any kind built in this area of 40 plus Yanesha communities. It will belong to them. Our prayer is that it will be a place of ministry, growth, blessing and transformation for the Yanesha church and community.
People: Buildings are worthless without the right people utilizing them. The location in Villa America is strategic for growth, especially now as they're offering land to outlying communities to live nearer the high school and medical post.
Perspective: Jesus said "I will build my church," as long as we submit to His leadership in our lives, we will see the church as people, and the building as secondary
Youth Discipleship: Soccer Ministry will provide the opportunity to disciple youth.
Career Building: finishing a 4 year degree is out of reach both geographically and economically for the average Yanesha young person. We plan to offer agricultural modules, and hopefully an institute that would maximize the best resource they have...their land. Coupled with discipleship, the focus would be practical and spiritual.
Training: Outreach oriented classes for families, youth, and church taught by believers with the freedom to share, pray, and use Biblical principles. Equipping the believers is also a priority.
The 2 story guest rooms/classrooms (Photo #2)
Building Pros and Concerns
Brings people together, builds community, allows for group study, worship and learning
Gives freedom to have a space for ministry whenever needed
Gives a local longterm presence to influence children, youth, and families, for the Gospel
Unites Yanesha people with teams of believers from the outside as they work together
Gives the opportunity to set an example in the managing and use of a Christian center
Ownership: Who's is it? Who will run it in the long term? It will belong to the community...and we'll work towards having the right people in place by the time we leave to keep ministry on target.
Maintenance: Is it sustainable? the for-profit single rooms for guests will be attractive to teachers and medical staff who visit the community for months at a time. Some agricultural experiments currently growing on property (lychee and vanilla) could yield future earnings. The agricultural school would probably require some basic fees that would also be used for upkeep and repairs.
Kitchen/Dining/bunkhouse (Photo #3)
How can you get involved?
The 2 story guest rooms/classrooms (Photo #2) just lacks a few finishing touches. The Kitchen/Dining/bunkhouse (Photo #3) is halfway complete. Here are some practical needs: Installations Kitchen/Bunkhouse (building #2):
Bathrooms: 4 toilets and sinks-$400 All wooden doors and installation-$1200 Light fixtures 1st floor $100 Light fixtures second floor-$120 Outfitting Bunkhouse: 20 Bunkbeds-$150 each for frame and 2 mattresses 40 Pillows-$5 each 40 Twin sheet sets-$20 Kitchen: Pots and pans-$150 Utensils-$50 Blender-$100 Stove-$300 Refrigerator-$800 Plates for 50-$150 Cups and glasses for 50-$150 Silverware for 50-$150 Work table-$200 Dining Hall: 20 benches-$20 each 10 chairs-$8 each 10 tables-$150 each
30 plastic chairs-$8 each
speaker with microphone-$200
There are still 3 buildings left to go: auditorium/sanctuary, agricultural school building. plus the perimeter wall and small locker room for soccer field.
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