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Latinfile THE MAGAZINE OF CONTEMPORARY LATIN MISSION

SPRING 2017

Short-term mission: long-term impact

(pages 7–9)

Trees of life Caring for creation in the Andes pages 4–6

Eradicating child labour

To Scotland with love

Launching out

Holistic work with children at risk pages 11–13

Incoming Mission breakthrough pages 14–15

Meet some of the latest Striders pages 16–17


Contact us

What is Latin Link

Latin Link 87 London Street Reading RG1 4QA t 0118 957 7100 f 0118 957 7115 e info@latinlink.org.uk w latinlink.org.uk

Latin Link’s vision is to see vibrant, Bible-believing Christian communities in every part of Latin America, impacting their neighbours, their societies and the wider world.

Latin Link Ireland Unit 1, Ravenhill Business Park Ravenhill Road Belfast BT6 8AW t +44 (0)28 9045 7567 e ireland@latinlink.org w ireland.latinlink.org Latin Link Scotland Gartgreenie House Forestmill Alloa FK10 3QG t 01259 752728 e scotland@latinlink.org.uk

facebook.com/latinlinkpage twitter.com/Latin_Link vimeo.com/latinlink instagram.com/latinlink Editors: Jeremy Weightman and Sarah Smith Design and Print: KSD Associates Ltd Latinfile is printed on paper from sustainable sources. Latin Link is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England 2811525. Registered office: 87 London Street, Reading RG1 4QA. Registered charity no. 1020826 © Latin Link, April 2017

We work in partnership with churches to send and receive individuals, families and teams, to or from Latin American communities, to share the love of God. We do this through three programmes: STEP is Latin Link’s short-term mission and discipleship programme for teams. Step provides hands-on, practical experience of living and working with local church communities in Latin America or Spain. We select and send teams for three to seven weeks during the summer, and for four months each spring. We welcome applications from individuals of all ages, and from groups wanting to create a team from their church or university. STRIDE is an opportunity for individuals, couples or families to spend six months to two years putting their faith into practice in Latin America, working with a church or Christian-run project. It’s a chance to use and develop skills during a gap year, career break, university language year, sabbatical or early retirement.

A two-year Stride is also the pathway into longer-term service with Latin Link. STAY. We currently have over 100 members of 14 nationalities living and working in Latin America and Europe on a longer-term basis, from three years upwards. Their work varies from training church leaders to caring for children at risk, from supporting university students to generating employment opportunities. Members are based in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Britain, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Peru, Spain, and Switzerland. See latinlink.org.uk or ireland.latinlink.org for a taste of current opportunities, or contact your nearest Latin Link office.

Latinfile can be viewed online at issuu.com/latin-link/docs/latinfile_spring_2017  ownload the Latin Link App from all the usual stores (Apple, Google, etc) D to keep right up-to-date with all things Latin Link.

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Latinfile Spring 2017 | What is Latin Link?


Making a difference! Welcome to the Spring edition of Latinfile, which is full of stories about how God is making a difference in people’s lives, and enabling us to make a difference too.

In a fascinating article, Suzanne Potter writes about the ways in which short-term mission (like our Step team and Stride placement programmes) can have a lasting, beneficial impact, both on those who serve and on the communities to which they are sent (pp 7–9). In ‘Trees of life’ (pp 4–6), Juliana Horne shares about the importance of projects caring for God’s creation, bringing hope in the face of threats from climate change and deforestation. We also meet Sadoc and Vivi Chongo, the first mission workers sent from their church in Guatemala, currently making a huge difference to people’s lives with a church in Dalry, Ayrshire (pp 14–15). And it’s not just members who can do this, but supporters too. Latin Link is a community that makes a difference, wherever and whoever you are. That can include hiking along the River Thames, buying coffee to support Latin mission, praying through the On Location podcast, giving to support members or projects, or running a plant sale to raise funds (pp 18–19). Thank God, he loves and uses each of us to make a difference in his world! And thank you for making a difference for him. Every blessing

Sarah Smith Head of Development and Communications

Making a difference! | Latinfile Spring 2017

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Trees of life At the end of last year, Juliana and Ian Horne had the opportunity to promote three projects that engaged their passion for the world and the people who inhabit it. Juliana reports. The highlands of Cusco, Peru, are among the regions on the planet most affected by climate change. Talk to any Quechua farmer and he or she will tell you how things have changed in recent decades: the rains can no longer be relied on to arrive at certain times; there are unusual droughts called veranillos during the growing season; changes in temperature mean crops have to be grown at an increasing altitude; and there are more unpredictable events, such as hailstorms that destroy crops. ‘Before, we knew when rains were to start and to end during the year. This helped us in our farming. But that’s no longer so. Crops don’t produce well. The climate has changed,’ said one Cusco rural farmer.

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Latinfile Spring 2017 | Trees of life

Victor, another farmer, put it this way: ‘These days, seeds don’t grow as they did before; the day isn’t long enough to finish our work. And then… everything is expensive.’

Woody solution Trees have a vital multi-faceted role in countering climate change and mitigating its effects. They remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, capture water, and help protect and restore moisture and fertility to soils, improving agricultural conditions. They also serve as barriers to protect high Andean crops (as well as livestock) from potentially harmful frosts, hail and strong winds. Yet many of Peru’s mountains have long been denuded of native trees as

Quechua communities have sought wood for construction and cooking. As a central part of my ministry, I am passionate about helping churches to understand their biblical call to appreciate and care for God’s wonderful and diverse creation. As well as teaching, I also seek to get churches, and especially Christian youth, involved in practical environmental initiatives that can help them grow in understanding and commitment and be a witness in their local communities. This past December a series of tree-planting initiatives, all supported by our sending church (Guildford Baptist), provided the perfect opportunity to achieve these ministry goals.


increased local water reserves, while other surrounding regions are experiencing increased water shortages.

Local church leads the way

Juliana and a church volunteer get planting

Planting a forest! Just imagine… 350 people from three rural, highland Quechua communities of the Sacred Valley, dressed in bright red traditional clothing and joined by a number of volunteers, each carrying between 50 and 100 queuña saplings to plant, marching in a line up the mountain. We climb and climb… and then together, two by two, carry out this massive tree-planting task. This initiative, called Queuña Raymi (literally, Queuña Festival), is a true celebration. The day, led by Amazon Explorer and local conservationist non-governmental organisation Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN), saw us plant 32,000 native queuña trees in the Rumira Sondormayo community, about four hours from Cusco City, at 13,800 feet above sea level! ECOAN has been carrying out massive tree plantations once a year for 14 years, aiming gradually to form a forest of one million trees that will cover the bare mountains and replenish the watersheds below. Many of the Quechua families involved are evangelical Christians. So, besides planting, there was opportunity to greet these amazing brothers and sisters

whose livelihoods are affected by climate changes. They were so surprised and appreciative that Christians were supporting them in this initiative: not just in the actual planting, but also in the cost – 715 of the trees were paid for by our supporters. This 14-year-old planting initiative even made the national news (see http://bit.ly/2nIWX0b). As the article from La Republica highlights, these queuña (Polylepis) forests are helping to address climate change in the region. Besides reducing the carbon footprint and generating oxygen, they have also

A church spurring on its community to plant trees? Yes. On 11 December, we arrived in the highland community of Chilchicaya (a couple of hours south of Cusco City), with a truckload of 1,500 trees, for a second tree-planting initiative. Marcelina, an amazing and charismatic Assemblies of God church planter and evangelist, had helped to promote the tree-planting campaign. As a result, 35 people from the small AOG church and their surrounding community, and a small group of church volunteers, including our family of four, set out on another climb to plant trees.

...the church gave a vibrant Christian testimony... The men dutifully opened the holes with big picks, followed by the women carefully planting the trees around large cultivated areas, with a view to protect crops from winds and extreme weather conditions. We worked from 9 to 5, with a break for a meal prepared

Unloading the truck in Chilchicaya

Trees of life | Latinfile Spring 2017

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by the church. In this way, the church gave a vibrant Christian testimony in their community. Also, thousands of miles away, in the UK, another church shows its concern and sense of responsibility for how climate change has affected this community, by sponsoring initiatives like this. Tree costs are low, so money goes a long way. The main limiting factor is always the numbers willing to plant and care for the trees. Marcelina said: ‘I think that planting trees is a wonderful way to show that Christians care about others in their community, and about the environment. I wish we could do it in many more communities that really need it! We had never seen Christian brothers and sisters supporting this kind of work before.’

Prayer mountain The third initiative involved a church with big vision in Cusco, which literally bought a mountain on the outskirts of the city (years ago, when land was cheap) to turn it into ‘a mountain of prayer for the nations’. The leader, Pastor Americo, is environmentally aware and has already

Church youth getting practical undertaken some reforestation on the mountain. In this latest initiative, 40 volunteers from different church denominations in the city, including youth groups, some local families and a couple of mission workers,

It was a great (exhausting!) time of fellowship...

joined forces under the scorching sun to do the planting. Fortunately, Pastor Americo and other volunteers had previously prepared the holes. The local municipality donated 1,000 trees. It was a great (exhausting!) time of fellowship as we worked together in restoring God’s creation. Pastor Americo and his church have been reforesting for three years, and the fruits of their labours are already apparent. Cesar Ramirez, youth pastor at the Grau evangelical church we attend, commented: ‘I was excited to be able to bring a group of 13 young people from our church youth group, because practical opportunities to serve like this tree-planting day are not common, and are so significant and formative for the young people taking part!’ Three initiatives that are helping local people to make a difference that will affect towns, regions and the world. Now that’s a witness!

Passionate about creation care Quechua planters at work across the hillside

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Latinfile Spring 2017 | Trees of life

We have Stride placements that fit the bill. Apply now – 0118 957 7101 or stride@latinlink.org.uk


Short-term mission: long-term impact? Critics suggest that short-term work in foreign countries can do more harm than good. Suzanne Potter, a member of Latin Link’s International Core Team, considers the Latin Link perspective. Ever since travel and communications became relatively cheap and easy in the West, short-term mission activities have flourished. Recent years, however, have seen significant discussion around the rights and wrongs of these trips. Is short-term mission just a Christian version of ‘poverty tourism’, which robs people of their dignity while throwing cash at their economic needs? Are we really helping the communities where we

send Step teams, or the churches where Striders serve? What is the long-term impact of these trips?

Go and receive In Latin Link, we want to engage with the issues, and undertake short-term mission programmes that are ethical in every aspect and honest with everyone concerned. There are always at least two groups of people involved in short-term mission: those who go, and those who receive them. You can read comments from people in both groups throughout this article.

‘Receiving people from another culture opens a dialogue, it helps each of us to grow as we each bring a different perspective.’ (Jomara Pineda, Director, Puerta de Esperanza, Guatemala)

‘Being on Stride confronts you with aspects of your character that you never knew you had, and the mentoring programme helps you to work through your identity in a foreign culture.’ (Geoff Baines, Strider 2015–present)

‘Step removed my safety nets – family, church, everything familiar – so that there was just me and God. And I found I could depend on him.’ (Dave Cornish, Step 2010)

Short-term mission can provide a boost to a participant’s spiritual life Short-term mission: long-term impact | Latinfile Spring 2017

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Age is no barrier to getting involved in short-term mission, as this Step team to Costa Rica in 2015 proved

Sharing responsibility Latin Link is committed to partnership with the local church, and this impacts the way in which we organise short-term mission. Both those who receive and those who go are mutually responsible for the success and long-term impact of the activity. Both groups invest (emotionally, spiritually and financially) in the experience, and both groups benefit from it.

‘Latin Link mission workers have made significant contributions to our ministry. They have helped launch sports programmes, enhanced our social work department and brought joy to a ministry that can often be difficult.’ (Corbey Dukes, Director, Oasis home for girls, Guatemala)

In practice that means that we look for partner churches and organisations who share our commitment to integral mission (mission embracing both evangelism and social responsibility) and who are able to invest in the personal and spiritual development of the Steppers and Striders they receive. Equally we look for Steppers and Striders who can share vision with those they visit, and invest in their long-term sustainability.

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Latinfile Spring 2017 | Short-term mission: long-term impact

Being honest about that shared responsibility is key. On more than one occasion, when I have talked with a pastor and explained that the Steppers soon to arrive will be looking to them to learn and grow in their Christian life, a look of excitement and pride has crossed their faces as they have never before realised that they have anything to offer the foreign mission workers who visit. They are empowered in their role in the lives of the Steppers, as well as recognising the benefit that their church or project receives.

Long-term benefits

We organise short-term mission with an eye on the longer-term effect, on both the development of the individuals involved and the projects and churches

‘Step was a vivid reminder of God’s immensity and love for his people. I learnt that everyone has something unique to offer and should be respected and valued as individuals; a lesson which continues to shape my attitude to everyone I meet.’ (Helen Ingram, Step 2009)


‘Coming from Guatemala to do Stride in the UK was full of challenges! It inspired me to use my professional skills in mission in the future.’ (Pamela Sikahall, Strider 2014–15)

‘Receiving a Step team has helped us to understand teamwork. We have had a good experience with the Striders. They were not only co-workers, but also became life-long friends.’ (Nydia Cabrera, General Secretary, GEU (Guatemala’s Christian student movement))

who receive and care for them. We partner with projects and placements where short-term workers contribute alongside local Christians and where their efforts become part of the long-term sustainable vision and plan. So Latin Link continues to invest in multi-directional short-term mission, because we have seen its impact on everyone concerned. We don’t always get it right, but we strive to work alongside our partners so that together we see more of the kingdom of God transforming both the churches and communities we serve and also the lives of the Steppers and Striders who serve there.

‘Stride has had a huge impact on my faith and understanding of God’s world. I had my understanding of suffering in a nicely packaged box, but working with victims of sexual abuse who are six years old, ripped that box apart. Every day I’m learning and growing in faith. I’m putting my box back together but I’ve accepted that it’s going to look rather different!’ (Kate Fisher, Strider 2015–17, now a Stay member)

Short-term mission gives opportunities to make a real difference

How about you Find out how you can be involved in short-term mission. Contact 0118 957 7100 or info@latinlink.org.uk

Check out the new website! The Latin Link Britain and Ireland website is having a complete overhaul. The aim is to make the site more navigable and user-friendly, and help you find what you want more quickly and easily. There will be some new features compared to the old site, assisting you to stay better informed and more up-to-date with what is happening both in Latin Link and among our members. The launch is scheduled for mid-May, so visit www.latinlink.org.uk to see the updated version.

Short-term mission: long-term impact | Latinfile Spring 2017

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GBC Step team in action at a children’s camp

Everybody wins! Sending a Step team from your church can enhance your community and bring long-term benefits. If we believe that God calls people from one part of his global Church to partner with and learn from another part, sending a Step team from your church could be a great experience and investment in your church’s mission to reach the local area and beyond.

Key partner The sending church is a key partner in short-term mission – it invests financially, spiritually and emotionally in the individuals going, and on their return can reap a harvest. People often come back with a renewed willingness to serve, a greater passion for the gospel and a heart for mission locally and internationally.

‘The team was very supportive and caring. Our team times of prayer and Bible study together were among the many highlights of the trip. We lived and worked together and got to know each other well. This has had a lasting impact on us in our church. We made friendships that continue with people who we wouldn’t necessarily have had opportunity to get to know in such a large church.’

Cross-cultural returns For instance, Guildford Baptist Church (GBC) sent a team of 11 to Cusco, Peru, last summer. Rachel White, one of the team leaders, writes: ‘Peru was an important place for us to go as a church family because of the longstanding connection we have with Ian and Juliana Horne and family [see pages 4–6]. As a church we have supported them and journeyed with them over many years. ‘It was such a privilege to spend time with them. We experienced first hand the work they’re involved in and got to know some of the people they work with. It gave us an insight into their lives – the joys and the challenges. We were able to benefit from the relationships they have built over many years. This was a huge honour and very humbling.’ The team was a diverse group made up of a family, students, professionals and retirees. Rachel reflects:

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Latinfile Spring 2017 | Everybody wins

Such partnerships can work both ways. In 2015, Keynsham Methodist circuit sent a Step team to work alongside a church in Guatemala. Then in May last year, the church reciprocated, receiving Pastor Juan Manuel and his family to visit, preach and share about his ministry in Alotenango. The cross-cultural relationship is continuing through financial support, prayer support and visits. Short-term mission can be the catalyst to crosscultural partnerships that enrich and strengthen communities as well as individuals. Everybody wins.

Interested in sending a church Step team Contact 0118 957 7112 or step@latinlink.org.uk


Providing a place for children to be children

Eradicating child labour According to the International Labour Organization, worldwide about 168 million children are involved in child labour, around half of these in hazardous work. Katharine and Dan Harris report on some of their work with children at risk in Ecuador. The big issue ‘Childhood is for study and play, not for work’. That’s the slogan of Niños con Destino (Children with a Future), the foundation where we worked. Based in a market town called Sangolquí, near Quito, Ecuador, the project aims to eradicate child labour through a combination of educational support, practical help, social work, promotion of children’s rights and workshops for parents. As many children are sent from rural indigenous communities to work in the cities, the foundation also helps in three rural areas in the sierra and jungle regions of Ecuador, to combat child labour from the other end. We saw and heard about child labour in Ecuador first-hand. We spent a couple of months at the beginning of 2016 in the rural

town of Alausí and among the surrounding Quichua communities. While there, schoolchildren told us that they worked on the land or cared for animals when they weren’t studying, and would have to leave school to work if a family member was ill. In Sangolquí, we knew children who were originally from these remote communities and had been sent alone by their family to earn money in the city. They could be doing anything from selling on the streets, working on construction sites, or shining shoes, to recycling, shop-keeping, mechanics or domestic service.

Road to freedom Niños con Destino tries to help the children by providing a holistic approach to bring transformation in their lives. It includes a reading

I taught Alfonso to read. When he arrived at the foundation, he was so timid (he has an aggressive alcoholic stepfather). But since learning to read, he has started to come out of his shell, find his voice and become independent in his studying. It has been a joy to seem him grow as a person. My colleague gave him a Bible, which he has started to read at home. club, homework support, daily devotionals, a nutritious lunch, fun days, and trips to places that the children would not normally go to (the planetarium, national parks, swimming pool, etc). It also provides parents’ workshops, covering issues that affect many families, such as employment, values, alcoholism, health and hygiene, and discipline.

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Toothbrushes Early on, we identified dental care as a key issue, as we noticed the children have huge holes in their molars and some have rotting front teeth. Dental products are outrageously expensive in Ecuador, so aren’t affordable for many large families. So when my parents visited, they brought 40 toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste. I invited small groups at a time to participate in a ‘dental care chat’ where we discussed diet and how to brush teeth. The foundation also received a donation of mouthwashes, which we gave to each family. After the chat, I got the children to practise brushing their teeth – for some of the younger ones, this was their first time using a toothbrush! We also sent a letter home for the parents, to let them know about the toothbrushes and highlight their responsibility to teach their children to care for their teeth. Blanca is a bright, chatty girl, who follows us around like a shadow. Her mum is a single mum of four, who sells mangos near the project. Blanca helps out when needed. However, she and her siblings are in desperate need of dental treatment, as so many of their teeth are rotten. It was good to be able to teach them about dental hygiene and give them toothbrushes and toothpaste.

The girls get brushing practice

Life skills Niños con Destino seeks to provide educational support to the children who come along, focusing particularly on aspects not covered by the Ecuadorian school system. So, during the week, I taught a life-skills course. The course had evangelistic and practical elements. We always started with a devotional, often related to the life skill we’d be covering. For example, when we learned about leadership, the devotional focused on Jesus’ example as a leader. The children received the devotionals with enthusiasm and commented on how important they were to them. The classes sought to develop independent and critical thinking,

Dan and Katharine making new friends

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Latinfile Spring 2017 | Eradicating child labour

There are many, many children in the Costa family. The father(s) are absent and the mother recently died. The seven children are being looked after by their older, grown-up sister. However, this sister also has a husband and three children of her own. Even with a regular income, the financial burden is too large. The foundation is able to support the children by providing school materials, a big lunch, school support and a safe place to play while the older sister is at work. leadership and teamwork, creativity and innovation, logical thinking and responsibility. These were taught through a combination of group discussions, independent learning, games and team activities. The kids embraced the lesson style, as it was so different to school classes. The most practical element was the computing and programming: most of the children didn’t receive any IT instruction at school. Many of the IT activities built on the lessons in life skills. As well as Windows programmes, we used a children’s programming software called Scratch, which allows


Creating the Easter Garden children to create their own animations using basic programming – perfect for teaching logical thinking and creativity. I felt privileged to teach such a great group of children and teenagers. They participated well, were keen to learn and soaked up what I taught them.

Easter garden In the run-up to Easter, we decided to make an Easter garden with the children, to help them understand and remember the Easter story. They loved planting and watering the garden, and Diego is a bright, friendly and polite little boy. He lives with his younger brother and sister, his alcoholic dad and mum who has a speech impairment. Every morning he and his brother wake up at 4am to help their mum clean the pigs, ready to be roasted. His mum sells pigs’ trotters. It’s a long day for a little boy, waking up so early and leaving for school at 6am, followed by an afternoon at the foundation, where he is always the last child to finish studying.

each day we covered a different part of the story: Palm Sunday, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Cross and the Empty Tomb. The garden remains as a reminder to them, and recently we received a message from our colleague at the project, saying that the children are still caring for the garden. It has been such a privilege and honour to give a little bit of input into these kids’ lives. They face daily challenges, but there are also so many joys and blessings. They have people fighting their battles with them: they know

they’re not alone and have a safe place to come and chat, eat, learn from the Bible, study and play. It’s been heartwrenching yet amazing to work with them. Ernesta doesn’t attend the project regularly. She has a tough time at home with an abusive father. She tried to report him to the police, but her mum forced her to retract her statement. She comes to the project occasionally for a safe place to chat.

Letting kids be kids

Your prayers make a difference. Get resources to inspire your prayers. Contact 0118 957 7100 or communications@latinlink.org.uk

Eradicating child labour | Latinfile Spring 2017

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To Scotland with love Strange accents, Communists, and copious cups of tea... Martin Haworth finds out about some of the new experiences that Sadoc and Vivi Chongo have had during the early days of their Stride placement.

From Latin America to Scotland with love Sadoc and Vivi are the first mission workers sent by their church, Camino de Vida (Path of Life). Yet it’s a church that’s received Striders and knows the contribution made by those who serve for a few months. And as a whole, the Guatemalan Church is not new to sending mission workers. So as Sadoc and Vivi left for the UK to be part of Latin Link’s Incoming Mission ministry, they felt supported and understood by many. Mission is in their blood – Sadoc’s parents are church planters in Mexico and Vivi’s are mission workers in Spain. Sadoc came to study at Bible college in Guatemala, Vivi’s home country,

where they met. Sharing their expectations to serve Christ cemented their relationship and eventual marriage. Through their church in Guatemala City and contact with mission groups, they became more involved in outreach to the slums and led youth teams to serve needs far from the capital. Friendship with Suzanne Potter, Latin Link’s team leader in Guatemala, opened the opportunity to come to the UK.

In readiness to better understand the Scottish accent, they listened to online sermons from Dalry Trinity Church. They were encouraged, both by becoming more familiar with the accent and by the rich content. As they listened they were amazed that here was a church primed to warmly receive them, something reflected on their arrival by the giant, home-made card signed by all the church members, together with welcome parties and outings. The sermons also indicated a church that encourages its members to be open to fresh ideas. It showed how a partnership with Latin Americans could bring breakthrough to outreach into the local community.

Breakthroughs The early weeks were both joyful and challenging. The couple had to tune in so much to pick

Getting ready Sadoc and Vivi arrived in Dalry, Scotland, in August last year. Realistic orientation had prepared them for the challenges in the UK.

Sadoc in ministry action back in Guatemala

From Latin Partners to Incoming Mission

The Latin Partners ministry – assisting and serving Latin Americans to come to Europe as mission workers – has been a core part of Latin Link for many years now. We want this to become even more central to what we do. To facilitate this, the ministry is now known as the Incoming Mission ministry.

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Latinfile Spring 2017 | To Scotland with love


up Scottish vocabulary and slang that they sometimes went to bed exhausted with headaches. Different eating patterns, amazement over the amount of tea drinking, being shocked at how cold a Scottish summer was (and daunted by what winter would be like), have all been part of adapting. The biggest impression though was the church’s demographic. Mainly made up of retired people, this was in stark contrast to the many youth and young families in church back in Guatemala. ‘The older generation back home,’ remarked Sadoc, ‘are truly retired and not very involved in church ministry. But here, older people still have passion and great commitment.’

was invited to a cultural evening at the church entitled ‘Guatemalan Voices’. Over 140 people turned up to hear about Sadoc and Vivi’s mission experience in the slums of Guatemala City – double what had been expected. Seeing these needs prompted many to ask, why come to Scotland? This opened an ongoing dialogue about how all mankind faces big issues when we turn our back on God and of how a relationship with God directs us to be involved wherever. Many at that evening remarked about how they had warmed to the easy-going and open attitude of this couple with whom they can explore life and faith questions.

This raised an issue: how to reach the young generation? It had been 16 years since the church’s last youth group. Just before Christmas, though, six teenagers from church came to Sadoc and Vivi’s house to get to know each other better. Sadoc and Vivi have begun an afterschool club for older primary schoolchildren, and they have been invited to take monthly assemblies in the local primary school. A good number are signed up for a forthcoming Christianity Explored course. What’s been the secret?

This breakthrough has encouraged the church. An encounter with an aggressive Communist, whom many felt intimidated by, illustrates this well. Sadoc responded to the man’s confrontational approach with politeness and respect, finding common ground in books they’d both read containing some Christian reference. Attending ‘Guatemalan Voices’ was this Marxist’s first visit to a church, followed soon after by a mince pie party at the manse. Sadoc encouraged him to bring a fiddle and joined him on guitar, the two men playing Christmas songs that led to folk music and an

A couple of stories are revealing. In November, the local community

Partnership agreed: Martin and Sadoc sign along the dotted line (note the ubiquitous pot of tea!)

Making music to break down barriers

impromptu ceilidh. Hostility and confrontation have been replaced by genuine enquiry. A willingness to serve and be led by the Spirit wherever he directs, coupled with a naturalness and openness that comes from your culture – all factors that help Incoming Mission workers to have impact.

Welcome a Latin American to bless your community. The first youth group meeting in 16 years!

Contact 0118 957 7105 or im@latinlink.org.uk

To Scotland with love | Latinfile Spring 2017

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Launching out Where are you from I was born and grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Where are you going I’m going to Cochabamba in Bolivia for about 16 months, with a view to longer service in the future.

Why are you going

Daniel Allen

I spent six months in Bolivia in 2014–15 and fell in love with the country. Since coming home I’ve felt called by God to go back. God showed me this opportunity with Latin Link and it suited me perfectly. It gives me the chance to develop my faith and reliance on God.

What will you be doing I’ll be working at Mayorazgo Christian daycare centre, where I’ll be helping in the classroom and working alongside individual children with special needs.

Where are you from I’m from Stoke-on-Trent, but am studying French and Spanish at the University of Sheffield.

Where are you going I’m going to the city of Santo Domingo de las Tsáchilas in Ecuador, from February–August 2017.

Why are you going

Emily Macdonald

My degree requires a year in a Spanishspeaking country. I’m keen to see what God is doing in South America, and felt called to work with people with disabilities. I can’t wait to see what God has for me to do, and what he wants me to learn.

What will you be doing I’ll be working with Vida en Abundancia (Life in Abundance) in its project that supports children and young people with learning disabilities. In the mornings I’ll

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Latinfile Spring 2017 | Launching out

I’ll also be involved in home visits to families with children at Mayorazgo, building relationships with them.

How do you feel about the prospect I’m super excited! I’ve been desperate to go for ages. I can’t wait to see how God uses me and teaches me during this time! Also, I can’t wait to see people I’ve not seen since 2015 but also to make new friendships through Mayorazgo and my new church out there.

What is your biggest prayer request That I, and my fellow workers, can be examples to the kids and their families, showing God’s love through everything we do by being Christ-like. As a guy, I think it’s extra important to be a positive male influence, when many of the kids may not see this much.

give practical assistance one-to-one or in small groups. In the afternoons, I’ll help either in the Vida en Abundancia project with women in or at risk of abuse, or at the Orphaids children’s home.

How do you feel about the prospect I’m looking forward to going, but am apprehensive about certain things – in particular about my Spanish, and also about adapting to the different culture, especially after having just spent four months in France.

What is your biggest prayer request For the project and the children I’ll be working with. I pray that God would show me the role and plan that he has for me, and that despite the language barrier I would settle quickly into life and work in Ecuador.


This spring sees a number of Striders heading out to serve. We find out about a few of them.

Where are you from

What will you be doing

Originally, Norfolk but for the past few years I’ve been studying languages at Newcastle University.

I’ll be studying Spanish and helping out in the evangelism café at El Alfarero. Food is one of my passions, so the placement fitted nicely!

Where are you going I’m going to Santa Cruz in Bolivia, for six months.

How do you feel about the prospect

Why are you going

Very excited but also nervous. Honestly, I’m not too sure what it will be like but I’m ready for a challenge!

I chose Bolivia because on my course I studied a module on the country’s politics, which sparked my interest. I am also keen to be involved at El Alfarero (The Potter) ministry to the university students in the city. As a student myself, I realise what a great opportunity it is to share the gospel with people at this stage of life.

Where are you from I’m originally from Aberdeen, but am currently living in Edinburgh studying Medicine.

Where are you going I’m going to Salta, Argentina, for six weeks.

Why are you going South America has always been on my heart. This placement gives me the opportunity to do my medical elective there, and to engage with how God is working in the Latin American Church and serve in any way I can.

What will you be doing I’ll be doing my medical elective in a hospital in Salta. In addition to my

What is your biggest prayer request My prayer requests are that while I’m there God would use me to make disciples, and that whatever it’s like I would know the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.

Victoria Clarey

hospital placement, I’ll get involved in local church activities.

How do you feel about the prospect I am excited about going! It will be quite an adventure, trying to speak Spanish and meeting people from the hospital and church. I’m looking forward to seeing how God uses and changes me.

What is your biggest prayer request I would love you to pray that I would go with an open heart so that I’d be able to serve the church in Salta, build good relationships with those I meet at the church and hospital, and share my faith with the people I encounter despite the language barriers.

Elspeth Hayes

Interested in Stride Why not download the Latin Link app to find our more or email info@latinlink.org.uk

Launching out | Latinfile Spring 2017

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What can I do Join us for a trek! Latin Link is taking part in the Thames Bridges Trek on Saturday 9 September 2017 as a fundraising event.

We plan to have a team walking the 23km route and crossing 16 of the most famous bridges in London. The route takes us through the heart of London, starting at Putney Bridge, zig-zagging across the Thames and finishing beside Tower Bridge. On the way, we will have the opportunity to enjoy the skyline, find out about some of the history of the bridges, and meet and get to know others. And raise funds for Latin Link at the same time! You can join our team or walk as an individual for Latin Link. Liz Chang, who did the event last year, says: ‘A perfect excuse for talking to friends, family and colleagues about the work of Latin Link! A couple of us took on the challenge in 2016: after some training sessions together (which involved lots of tea, cake and laughter) and a Latin American-themed fundraising dinner party we were ready for the 23km route, a memorable way of exploring the London riverside. It’s motivating as there are lots of other trekkers too walking for different charities so there’s a great atmosphere. All in all, a fantastic day out for a very good cause!’

To find out more and register your interest, contact Paula on info@latinlink.org.uk or 0118 957 7107.

Making your coffee count Want to make the coffee you drink at church raise funds for Latin Link? Then why not purchase Pura-Vida Fairtrade Plus coffee from Kingdom Coffee? As well as supporting Fairtrade, if you buy a box of Pura Vida then Kingdom Coffee will make a donation of £5 to Latin Link for every case purchased. The donations will go to important work, including the Los Guido community project in Costa Rica and Vive Foundation in Colombia. With a box costing £41.50 (which works out at about 5p per cup), it’s a great way to make your coffee count for more.

Order online at www.kingdomcoffee.co.uk and search for ‘Pura Vida’. Or call Kingdom Coffee on 0118 986 8786. Remember to name Latin Link as your charity of choice.

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Latinfile Spring 2017 | What can I do?


Latin Link On Location! Latin Link has a new, exciting podcast.

the sounds of the communities and environments they serve in.

Called On Location, each edition is recorded by members in the country where they are serving – so now you don’t just get interesting and relevant news about their work, you also hear

This first On Location features reports from Mexico and Peru. Sample the atmosphere and noises of Lima city, or teaching in a Mexican theological college. Find out about and pray for the work there.

To listen to On Location, either download the Latin Link app or visit www.latinlink.org.uk/on-location

Plants with purpose

As spring gets going, so do gardeners! And at Wokingham Baptist Church they are raising funds for Latin Link, while growing their own fruit, veg and flowers.

or are ready to divide plants, and lots of people enjoy getting new plants for bargain prices. So we thought it would be a great way to raise money.

houseplants are all very popular,’ Sarah says. ‘This year I’m bringing young strawberry plants, as I have loads to spare… my cat is guarding them in the meantime!’

‘We really enjoy bring-and-buy plant sales for Latin Link,’ explains Sarah (a member of the church who also works in our Reading office). ‘Often, keen gardeners have spare seedlings,

‘We just pick a Sunday and advertise it, people bring along what they have, and then we have a sale after church, with our coffee. Everything goes! Tomatoes, bedding plants,

Why not get together with others at your church and hold a plant sale for Latin Link

What can I do? | Latinfile Spring 2017

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: e d i r t S placements e s o p r u p with

SERVE with a community in Latin America DISCIPLESHIP and MISSION TRAINING to last you for life Striders join us for 6–24 months (as individuals, couples or families) and work with churches and local projects to meet a wide range of spiritual and practical needs. We are currently recruiting for February 2018.

Apply or find out more latinlink.org.uk/stride e: stride@latinlink.org.uk t: +44 (0)118 957 7101 Download the Latin Link App now and find out more w latinlink.org.uk/stride e stride@latinlink.org.uk t +44 (0) 118 957 7101 Latin Link, 87 London Street, Reading RG1 4QA. Registered charity no 1020826

Latinfile Spring 2017  
Latinfile Spring 2017  

The Spring 2017 edition of Latin Link's bi-annual magazine. Full of stories of how God is using his people to make a difference in the lives...

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