Erin Lee is a part of the ELCA’s Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) program. She’s spending a year in Montevideo, Uruguay. The YAGM program is reliant on coordinators who facilitate the young adults’ ministry and provide mentoring and spiritual guidance. To support a YAGM coordinator, go to www.elca.org/missionarysponsorship.
In theory I love the idea of accompaniment, the ELCA model for global mission. Everyone coming together as equals, and supporting each other so that together we can further the work of the church. So what you might ask is the problem? Well, living out accompaniment is not as simple as it sounds (or at least sounded to me). Because the focus is building relationships, there is often not a tangible project to work on, thus there is also no tangible result.
But every once in a while I have a shining “ah ha!” moment where I feel like I really get it. This is the story of one of those moments:
I recently went to Buenos Aires for the weekend for a churchwide assembly. One of the people who went with us to represent Nuestro Salvador (my church here in Montevideo) was Marisol. She is the mom of the kids the pastor and I work with on Saturday mornings, and she also works in the church. She is really nice, but I hadn’t really talked with her. But in Buenos Aires we drank a lot of mate (a traditional tea drink important to the culture) together and had some bonding moments. Then on Saturday morning when we got to her house she wasn’t there, but she had left her mate and terma with hot water ready for us on the table. Drinking mate together with someone is how you share community here. When someone offers you mate, they are inviting you into their life. I felt so loved and included by the simple action of Marisol leaving her mate there on the table for me.
I felt like for the first time I really understood how accompaniment could work. I pray that God will continue to remind me of this when I get focused on “achieving” things so I won’t lose my focus on the people I am here to love.
on November 28th, 2011 at 3:18 pm
Thank you to Erin for sharing this “aha” moment! And thank you for following the ongoing call to walk with the people you serve. I’m going to use this story in a sermon pretty soon!
on December 4th, 2011 at 4:14 pm
Thanks! I’m glad you liked it!