Youth ministry San Francisco
Building bridges in the community through teamwork and a labor of love
By Dan Hough,
América del Sur
The bridge you have to cross to get to San Francisco, Paraguay, is made out of wood, but rivers aren’t the only barriers we have to cross to reach the people here. There are also cultural and spiritual barriers. That’s why about a year ago the idea came to Sarah to invite our friend down from the US and ask him to partner with our church to build a playground for the community. In August Jason Miller came with his two oldest kids who are also good friends with ours. Perhaps it was a surprise when, shortly after Jason's arrival, I explained to him that he didn’t actually come to build a playground for the church but rather to give them an opportunity to reach the community.
Jason understood, but we didn't really know what kind of turnout we would get. The idea was that our church members would get excited about this new playground and do the construction alongside their neighbors who don't yet know Christ. Would our church catch the vision? On the day we were to begin we had an encouraging turnout. Our friend Justo and some of the others decided where to put the playground based on where the shade would fall in the afternoon -- something I wouldn't have thought of. The next day we had an even greater turnout with more people from the church and community. Many were youth who come to play basketball on Thursday nights. Others were neighbors I had never met before!
As Jason's time drew to a close, the playground was still not finished. On our last day together, one of the helpers grilled meat while we worked. We celebrated with a Paraguayan asado (grilled steak) over lunch. Over our time together so much comradery had been built not only between Jason and the Paraguayans but also between our church members and their neighbors. We were able to leave the remainder of the building in the competent hands of people like Justo, David and Adilzon. Before the playground had even been finished bridges had been built, and we sent a strong testimony to the community that our church was here to serve in the name of Christ!