I’ve had the blessing to travel multiple times to photograph with Adventures in Life in Oaxaca, Mexico and each time I have learned something new about the people of Oaxaca that has blessed me and encouraged my faith. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is the need to build relationships and earn trust with the folks I am photographing. While Adventures in Life is technically an organisation that takes folks on “short term missions” to Mexico, at the heart of AIL is a desire to make a long term lasting impact in the lives of the people they minister to and with.
The only way that happens is by making and sustaining long term relationships.
Dave Miller recently shared a conversation he had with a big church in the US that was wanting to minister in Oaxaca. They had heard about Dave and the work that AIL was doing in Oaxaca, and wanted Dave to introduce them (the big US church) to his friends and contacts in Oaxaca.
Dave understands and really thinks like a Mexican when it comes to ministry and how things “get done” in Mexico. It something he has learned over the years through trial and error and much observation, and he really wants to share the Love of Christ with his friends in Mexico. Because of that, he is quick to listen and slow to move when it comes to groups coming to Oaxaca and wanting to work with him. Or in the case of the big US church, they just wanted his contacts and didn’t want to “work or partner” with him.
Dave has had other big US churches come and want to work with him, but he has had to say no, because they wanted to “do things their way” not taking into account what the local church or long term missionaries wanted or needed. He had to take a pass on working with those churches. That’s what he had to do as well with the latest big US church that wanted to meet his contacts.
At this point you might think its a pride thing and that Dave didn’t want to share his futbol with anyone, but that’s not the case. Dave really eats, drinks, and breathes Mexico! He spends half the year ministering in Mexico and working with local churches and missionaries. Much of that time is spent building new relationships and deepening old existing ones. These relationships have come over time, as he has ministered alongside local missionaries and churches. Dave Miller, with Pastor Chable’s Family
Having sweat, bled, cried, prayed and lived with them over the years, he has earned their trust and respect. Something Dave has come to cherish and guard. The folks he is ministering with, are his friends and he has become part of their family. This isn’t just ministry contacts they, the big US churches, want him to introduce them to, it really is his family.
Don’t know about y’all, but family really is sacred. Not something you mess with. When you meet family, and become family, it’s an honor that you don’t take lightly. Especially since it’s not something that comes easily or quickly, even with the family of Christ, both in Mexico or in the US.
In the end, it really is all about our relationship with Christ and with each other, as we seek to share Christ with those who don’t know Him yet.
Respect the family!
If you want to come experience Oaxaca first hand, feel free to contact Dave at email@example.com
Next door to the church in San Baltazar is a family that has a textile manufacturing business, they make knit ware on the loom, from wool, cotton, silk and other assorted materials. The father, Julian, has been a big help in the past as was part of the team of locals that helped build the church over the years.
Doug, Noemi, Elizabeth and Brian in front of the church in San Baltazar in February 2012
Doug got to know Julian during their time of working together while building the church. Doug took a photo of himself and Julian that found its way back to Julian, via Dave, and now hangs proudly in the house of Julian. Talking with Jaime, Julian’s son, he said his dad still talks about Doug and his experience helping build the church.Jaime and Dave, who is holding the photo of Doug & Julian
Dave shares…As I walked in the door, I saw it. A picture I have seen a million times on my computer. It is one I have used on the Adventures in Life Ministry web site. It was a picture of my friend Doug and the new friend he made in Oaxaca, Julian, Jaime’s dad.Everyone in the family remembered Doug and the day that photo was taken. I listened as they shared about their dad helping us build the church next door and his work with us alongside Doug in Tlacolula.