Jeyachandran Family

Facebook and Missions

24 Aug 2012

I met with Robbye Fielden who has a really interesting story on how she got involved in missions.

Each of us have a unique set of skills that may be incredibly useful in missions. Robbye says "Whatever skill you've got, God can use that - even if it doesn't look like the typical". Missions is not just for Bible teachers and doctors. We need accountants, English teachers, engineers and even cowboys. Why not check out some mission opportunities today?

SIM Opportunities - Where can I go?
Mission Platform - a new Aussie initiative to connect people with mission opportunities

More to Read:

It's so important that Mission agencies embrace new technologies and be where the people are. Recently the Bible Society spoke to a few people working in missions including myself. Here is the article - Brave new world of missionary communication

4 Tips for Running a Sustainable University Ministry?

20 Aug 2012

There's so much to learn! I'm at a conference with students and student ministry workers from several countries in South America. We're all part of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES). Each country has its own national movement which partners with IFES.

Students Studying the BibleStudents studying the Bible at the conference

This is the second post where I speak with Josué Olmedo, an experienced university student worker from Ecuador. In the first post we discussed "Why is University Ministry Important?" I now ask what advice he could give to someone new to student work. He gave me the following four...

1. Empower students to take the initiative

Don't be tempted to get things done by doing them yourself. Students need to take the initiative. When you start you have lots of energy and ideas and it's easiest to just do things by yourself. Remember that it's their ministry and you're there to support them, encourage and train them. You are not there to try to do all the work.

2. Train leaders

Right from day 1, train leaders to take your place. Don't wait till a year before you have to leave to find others to do your work. Right from day 1 train two or three people to do your job.

3. Focus the ministry on the university

Run events in the university, do ministry in the university, pray in the university and do get-togethers in the university. Keep the focus on the university. There's lots of other ministries that you can do. For example you can run programs to reach street kids but that's not our ministry. Our ministry is students reaching students. Students have a unique opportunity to reach students. After they finish university there are a lot of other ministries that can be done. It may be convenient to run events off campus but wherever possible run events inside the university. Other students will notice and it reduces the barrier to them coming if the event is in the university.

4. Not just for students

Think of the university as a whole - with teaching staff, students and other staff. Aim to reach the whole university - not just the students.

See the video where I ask Josué why is university ministry important.

Do you have more tips for running a sustainable university ministry?

Photo courtesy of Andres Vicente Narvaez, our official conference photographer

Why is University Ministry Important?

13 Aug 2012

Why is university ministry so important? I spoke with Josué Olmedo, an experienced university student worker from Ecuador. He is part of a national Christian university group which is part of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES). Josué gave me two reasons why this ministry is so important - the first reason was not one I expected.

1. Universities are where we cultivate the production of knowledge

Universities are an important part of our culture. It is here that we cultivate the production of knowledge. So it's important for us as Christians that we be part of this process so that we enable this to happen in a Christian way.

2. We have the opportunity to minister to and to serve the future leaders of the country.

Students who graduate will serve in key positions in the country - in the political arena, in business and in health, etc. We hope we might influence them and in turn they can influence others.

Read more:

Why University Students?

Why is university ministry important to you?

More than what we bargained for

18 Jul 2012

20 young people come from a church in the USA for a short-term mission in Arequipa. They performed in several places in our university campus - they did a dance, a skit and then gave a testimony. As a result,we had 7 students who wanted to follow Jesus and lots of others to follow up. We're really excited!

Short-term mission team from USA and CarlosCarlos (left) along with some from the short-term team

Now the challenge is for us to help them grow! The students are busy with so many activities and the concept of follow up is new to most of them. So it's been a challenge to communicate the priority of this. Please pray that we can be faithful - making disciples for our Lord Jesus and not just "converts". We can praise God that two students who gave their life to Jesus a year ago have continued to grow in their faith. Also praise God that one student took the initiative to find a Christian and asked for more information.

Teaching in the University

When the US team were performing on campus, they created  quite a crowd. Some computer science lecturers came down and asked what was going on. A Christian student introduced them to me. I've been keen to work with students and teach them web development. It's been a good way to connect with non-church people. The lecturers took me to meet the director of Computer Science. She was excited to hear what I had done as a programmer and was open to the idea of running a course. We had 30 students who expressed interest in the course, 12 of those completed an exam and 5 were selected. Praise God for this opening to connect with students and staff.

Connecting through English Bible Study

As a result of the US team, lots of people want to learn English. Christine and I already meet with several people and practice English with them. After speaking with the pastor, we've started a Bible study in English. We promote this as an opportunity to practice English with a native speaker through studying the Bible.

Thank you!

Thank you for your patience, generosity in supporting us and your long-term vision. We pray that God will do great work through your faithful prayer and generosity. More than ever we see the strategic nature of student ministry.

David with some studentsDavid chatting with students after a presentation

Please Pray

  • thank God for the students who decided to follow Jesus
  • pray that new Christians will be discipled
  • praise God for the opening to teach at the University
  • thank God for the opportunity to teach the Bible through English
  • thank God for the short-term mission team. We are so grateful for them.

 

More to Read

Why we can be optimistic?

Our next post will be about using social media to connect people with missions.

Can you believe a year has passed?

16 Jun 2012

Christine reflects:

It has now been a year since we arrived in Peru! WOW! It seems like a good time to reflect on all we’ve seen and done.

We touched down in the Peruvian capital of Lima on June 1st, heading 'home' to the city of Arequipa a week later. We were welcomed in many ways, with the first being the snow-capped mountains, standing out clearly during our dusk arrival. What a beautiful backdrop to the city!

Arequipa Airport

The volcano ‘El Misti’ at the centre, and on each side, a large volcanic mountain range covered with snow. Even now I feel happy to catch glimpses of them as I push a child on a swing, catch a bus to language school or have a moment where I can see all three peaks/ranges at once.

The second welcome was from the SIM team at the airport: as we struggled to gather our bags from the conveyor belt and smooth the children’s frayed nerves, I heard faint voices calling my name and turned to see people waving from the doorway.

Could they be waving at or calling me, I wondered? As we got closer, it was indeed for our benefit, as the SIM Arequipa team proceeded to hug and welcome us ‘home’. This memory still brings a tear to my eye.

The welcome continued, as we have been thoroughly orientated by our mentors, helped with everyday decisions and encouraged through cultural blunders and language difficulties. We now meet with our team every week for Bible study, prayer and fellowship. Praise God for our team!

Our third welcome came in the form of the language school. The teachers are friendly and celebrate all student birthdays with a cake (from a shop that makes delicious cakes).

Departing students are required to give a speech, after which the directors provide empanadas (pastry with meat or cheese) and pray for their future ministry.

Our language teachers have given us lots of homework, showed much patience with repeated mistakes and pulled many a face when we say things wrong. They also give us cultural advice and love to hear about our culture and traditions, which is great therapy when you are dealing with so many new things!

Christine with her language tutor Juan Carlos

I have to give my farewell speech at the institute in the next week or so. I still make a lot of errors and have a limited vocabulary, but can use the subjunctive (hardest part of Spanish grammar) from time to time, so am making progress. I recently completed the “Perspectives on Missions” course in Spanish, which greatly expanded my vocabulary. I will continue with informal language study.

The language institute was also helpful in providing friends for us in our first 6 months here in Arequipa. We initially tried to keep up with a British couple in our class, but to no avail. We also have a lot of German friends from the institute with kids of similar ages to ours, and it was great to see how the kids really connected despite the language barriers. The sad thing was that they were all bound for different parts of Peru, but we visited them recently and got to have some fun times together.

We have since moved away from making friends in the institute, to making local friends. We love our pastor and his wife (Efraín and Dorcas), whom we often mention in our blogs. Efraín has been a great mentor to David and an eye-opener to life in Peru. The sweet man even lets us know when we are breaking cultural rules, such as last Sunday when I forgot to kiss him hello, so he pointed to his cheek, leaned in and said “kiss!” How embarrassing! But we love his honesty and know he does not take offense.

We have also had a couple of play-dates with a mum from church and her daughters, which has been great for our kids and enabled me to make new friends, too. Another friend often visits me at home with her sister or boyfriend and recently announced her engagement, so we are now looking forward to our first Peruvian wedding.

There are also regular events at the preschool, so we hope to soon invite a few of the preschoolers over to play, which is something Annabelle keeps requesting.

Amelia and Annabelle at an event at preschool

I also enjoy chatting with Mums (and sometimes Dads) while watching our kids at gymnastics class. I did the same thing when the girls did ballet last year, as it is 2 hrs a week Spanish practice I could not otherwise 'fit in' while looking after the children. Please pray for opportunities to share about God's grace in this setting, and that my Spanish will improve so I am up to the task! David is also blessed with several outlets for friendship, including web developers and students, who often visit our home.

This year has brought a lot of change for us: we found the language homework commitments and required memorisation extremely difficult. Sometimes homework went undone and verb conjugations require continual practice.

Having both of us doing Spanish classes made it hard to balance the children's needs with our own. David often wanted to get out and have peace to complete his homework, but so did I. David felt a bit constrained in the classroom, preferring language learning while out and about, so switched to this approach after we completed all the grammar. Another adjustment is that David has to do a lot more traveling and often must attend events on public holidays and weekends, which I find hard at times. Please pray for me and the children as we adjust to this challenge. Another adjustment is missing friends, play-dates and playgroups from home. Sometimes I feel lonely or down, but God is gracious and I am learning to use these moments to work on the most important relationship of all.

We have come a long way in just a year’s time. Having arrived with 9 suitcases, travellers’ Spanish and 3 cranky children, we are now settled in our own home (with ample provisions), an intermediate level of Spanish and kids who seem less cranky, know quite a lot of Spanish and even play in Spanish at home.

We have settled into life here in Arequipa and see the promise of many rich friendships in the years to come. Having reached this first milestone, we will now get more involved in student ministry, the reason we are here. Thank you God for your provisions for us this year, and thank you everyone at home for your support and prayers.

Starting a Church in an Andean Town

01 Jun 2012

What would it be like to work at starting a new church in a little Andean town? Our friends, James and Julia Henley from the UK are up for the challenge. We met at Spanish school in Arequipa and it's great to catch up with them again. We're spending a week as a family visiting some of our friends who've now moved away.

James and Julia Henley

James and Julia live in Urubamba, a beautiful town in the Sacred Valley, close to many famous Inca ruins. The people living here are the Quechua, who are descendants of the Incas. James describes one of their biggest challenges is to build trust and friendships with the local Quechua people as they work to start a church. Quechua people are naturally reserved and their history has given them reason to be suspicious of outsiders. Huge numbers of the Quechua were killed when the Spanish invaded in the 1500s and this began a long history of oppression. The Quechua suffered during the years of terrorism with the "Shining Path". About 20 years ago there were hundreds of forced sterilizations as part of a government anti-poverty programme that aimed to reduce the birth rate among the poor. There are still stories of babies been stolen from mothers and then sold internationally. Given all of this it's no surprise that as foreigners it's a challenge to earn the trust of the Quechua people of this village.

James and Julia are however confident in knowing that God has already been and continues to be working among these people to bring them to a relationship with Him.

Urubamba

Please pray:

  • thank God for sending James and Julia to this town
  • that God will help them break down the barriers and build strong friendships through which they can share Christ's love and hope
  • that many in this town, Urubamba, will love and follow Jesus. 

 

Do you have any ideas for James and Julia as they work to build friendships?

Video of our life in Peru

30 May 2012

We had lots of fun making this video. In 3 minutes we try and share our ministry and a bit about our family.

Thank you to David Moroccoyri Choque and his band for the music. David is from our church.

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More to Read...

 

We'd love to get your feedback on our first video...

ReachOut e-track - Saturday 26th May

20 May 2012

If you're interested in Missions and you're in Sydney check out the next ReachOut E-track. ReachOut is a Missions Network that includes our mission - SIM. Christine & I have been to the main ReachOut conference several times and it's always inspiring.

WHEN?

Saturday, 26th May 2012, 6:45pm. Supper at 9:15pm. All over by 10:30pm.


WHERE?

Sydney Missionary and Bible College (43 Badminton Road, Croydon). 


SPEAKER?

Tim Blencowe lectures in preaching at Morling College and serves as pastor of Macquarie Baptist Church as well as Baptist Chaplain to Macquarie University. Tim is a friend and we studied together at the University of NSW.

For more info...

Keep up to date with the ReachOut Missions Network events with their Facebook page.

Our next post will be a video of our family in Peru. We can't wait to share this.

Perú and the Ends of the Earth

17 Apr 2012

One of the things that inspired me to do university ministry in Perú is the possibility of getting students excited about God's mission. Students in Arequipa come from diverse backgrounds - imagine if they were inspired to take the gospel to unreached parts of Perú and beyond! I've just been part of a training course where Pioneers is working towards this goal, not just with University students, but with the larger church community. The aim is to give people an understanding (and experience) of missions and then give them the opportunity to take on further study. Christine is actually doing the in-depth three-month course at the moment.

Experiencing food from a different culture

So in just three jam-packed days (9am-7pm) we looked at how missions was part of God's plan from the start: the history of missions, cross-cultural ministry and mission strategy, just to name a few aspects

Learning about cross-cultural communication through a game

Allen George from our mission presented a training guide for potential Latino missionaries. This is an amazing resource and has been over a year in the making, thanks to Chris Conti and her team in Lima.

At the end I found out that several people had a strong desire to take the gospel to the Quechua people who live in the Peruvian highlands where there are still many unreached communities. They connected up with people who were fluent in Quechua and are making plans. There was also one person who was willing to go to a strategic nation that is generally closed to western people. Thanks Pioneers team. What an exciting and inspiring conference!

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