Joanna McCree interviews the Step team setting off for Ecuador
Joanna (our Assistant Head of Programmes): Every year we send out Step teams made up of all sorts of wonderful people to live and work with Latin American churches. Given the probability of cold showers and sleeping on the floor, I’m always interested in what motivates them to do this.
This April, Abi, Jessie, Kate, Charlotte, and Lily arrived in Santo Domingo, Ecuador for three months. Before they left, I had a few questions for them.
Firstly, why did you decide to go? And what are you expecting?
Jessie: Step is an incredible opportunity for me to deepen my faith. I’m heading to university next year but don’t feel ready as a Christian to go yet. I think Step will give me the skills and confidence I need to share my faith with others, as well as stay connected to God as I move on to the next step.
Lily: In 2020, I watched a series based on travel in Latin America, and felt drawn to go! I don’t remember there ever being a moment where I thought, “yes, this is what I am going to do”; I just kept being drawn back to Latin America and I felt my heart changing.
Abi: I want to be involved in a project that’s not only an exciting adventure, but also allows me to grow my faith and meet new Christian friends!
Kate: I want to use my gap year to serve the Lord, meet new people, explore new places and
develop my relationship with God.
We have been amazed by all that God has done through our members this year, and we want
to be a culture that keeps asking and expecting more from him.
My next question to our lovely Steppers is this: what are you excited for and hoping for from God?
Kate: I hope that God will teach me to trust in him for everything, and that I’ll learn to live more
fearlessly and faithfully.
Jessie: I’m looking forward to spending time with the rest of my amazing Step team and growing
in faith and learning with them.
Abi: I’m excited to be immersed in the local community and learn about their culture!
Lily: I’m excited about meeting the community we will be working with, getting to know the people of the local church, learning from and worshipping Jesus with them.
So how can we pray for you?
Abi: Please pray for peace and spiritual growth for our team.
Kate: Please pray for our health and safety out there.
Lily: Please pray against homesickness, and that we’ll build connections quickly despite the language barrier!
Joanna: As I hear from the Steppers, I wonder what I am expecting from God for them? That their faith will be deepened as they rely on God; that they will see him in new ways – in both the
everyday and in big miraculous moments. Above all, I hope that they return from this trip bigger and bolder versions of who God has made them to be, and with a new heart to get stuck into his
mission, wherever they go next.
What’s their mission?
This team will work alongside La Primera Iglesia Bautista de Santo Domingo (First Baptist Church of Santo Domingo).
In 2018 a family from the church donated a plot of land to create a campamento (camp) in memory of their eldest son who died in a motorcycle accident.
The vision is for the campamento to be a place for church groups to take retreats in the countryside – opportunities to get away from everyday life, focus on God and strengthen friendships.
Due to the pandemic and other urgent priorities, the project hasn’t got very far yet. The Step team’s mission is to help push it forward, helping local builders and church members to construct the cabins and clearing ground for a sports pitch and footpaths.
They may also visit the village primary school and help with English and other classes –
developing relationships with this community that the church can pick up.
At the weekends, the team will get involved with the church’s young people’s groups.
Throughout their stay, Short Term Coordinator Abby Murphy will be looking out for them. She‘s excited for all that God’s got planned.
“Step teams are a great way of partnering alongside longer-term involvement to bring fresh ideas, perspectives and energy to encourage the church and local projects. It’s so lovely to see members of the church here excited about meeting the team and touched that a group of people want to come all the way over to Ecuador to help. I can’t wait for the team to experience the warmth of the Ecuadorean people and culture. It’s a reminder that God invites us all to play our different parts in his mission!”