By James Sharp
For the last couple of years, part of my work as a missionary has been to serve as an area facilitator for the LCMS Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region. The LAC region has four area facilitators who work as part of the regional leadership and report to the regional director. Each facilitator is responsible for part of the region. The countries I work with are Uruguay, Chile, Peru and Bolivia and, to some extent, Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina.
What I do as an area facilitator varies from country to country. With Peru, which is an LCMS mission, I supervise the mission, meet regularly with the team, approve budget reports and do other tasks. With Chile and Uruguay, where the Synod has partner churches, I might help with a grant request or funnel questions to the right people.
But whatever the need, I seek to facilitate — to make the mission easier — in my area. As a facilitator, I have been blessed to be part of some neat things.
For example, I was able to be present for the first ordination of a national pastor in Peru. I was the one who brought the Small Catechism in the indigenous language of Quechua to the assembly of the Lutheran Church of Bolivia, and I was able to help the Confessional Lutheran Church of Chile get a grant to purchase a handicapped-accessible van to expand its ministry to adults with disabilities. I particularly enjoy the opportunity to mentor and encourage the young pastors I work with.
While I still spend the majority of my time and energy working on planting new churches in Uruguay, I know that my work as an area facilitator is important. I especially like applying what I’ve learned to help other missionaries learn, grow and be happier and more effective in their lives and ministries.
The Rev. James and Angela Sharp serve the Lord as missionaries of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) in Uruguay.
Posted July 20, 2022