July 25, 2016

A HANDS Reflection

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It is amazing how fast a year can go. After my first year as EduDeo Ministries’ HANDS Coordinator, it’s time to look back at the great memories and look forward to new possibilities.

LOOKING BACK

Missions has long been a passion of mine. I love working with mission teams and being part of their cultural and spiritual learning process. So when I was offered the position at EduDeo, where my role would be to “engage and equip communities of Canadians to go, serve and be a blessing to international partners”, I knew God had opened the right door for me.

It has been a joy to engage and equip HANDS leaders in preparing for their HANDS trip – a process that has looked quite different with each team. As I walked through our program with team leaders, I learned more and grew in my passion for EduDeo’s work.

HANDS ON

There have been many highlights from this past year. The one that stands out was going on my first HANDS team to the Dominican Republic with the Burlington HANDS team. It was an important time for me in my role – to experience EduDeo’s thoughtful mission process first-hand. I loved seeing the impact Christian education has had in the DR. What a blessing to interact with students, teachers and administrators and hear their many stories of transformation and the impact EduDeo’s partner, COCREF, has had on communities.

SEEING TRANSFORMATION

One of the most eye-opening experiences of the trip was walking through a batey community where the COCREF school, Peña de Horeb, is located.

I struggled to see the living conditions many students come from. I felt a strong sense of helpleness, then God graciously allowed me to witness a moment of hope. A bright-eyed, teenage boy ran up to Billy, our translator, as we were touring the batey.

The boy was thrilled to see us and shared the story of how his life was transformed after attending one of COCREF’s schools.  He spoke of the dedication and love of his teachers. He told us how they teach and model the love of Christ, and how that teaching had not only affected his life, but his family and his community as well. Praise be to God!

LOOKING FORWARD

As a HANDS trip comes to an end, we ask teams to evaluate their HANDS experience. (We use this to help us grow and improve the HANDS experience for both our teams and our partners.)

I’m amazed at how being the HANDS Coordinator has caused me to grow personally as well as professionally. I look forward to applying new ideas that will help expand our program and help serve teams and communities better. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me – for us – in this next HANDS season!

We are still looking for HANDS teams to serve in our partner countries. One of our current projects is to extend one wing of Belen School in the Dominican Republic which will include a two-storey addition with a classroom, a new stairway and cafeteria/kitchen area.

If you or your church is considering starting a HANDS Team or wants to learn more about our ministry, please contact me at kponce@edudeo.com.

– Karla-Maria Ponce

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