Editor’s Note: Overseas Lay Missioner Anna Metzger speaks about her active call to ministry while in Bolivia. As she awaits both the welcome of another FMS missioner, Nora, and an official ministry site in Cochabamba, she reflects on the life giving relationships throughout her day to day.
As followers of Christ, we are all called to be active in ministry. Being active in ministry can take many different forms and look different for each person. You don’t have to be a regular volunteer at a non-profit organization to be in ministry. Being active in ministry simply means to be aware of Christ’s presence in your life and engage in the moments where He invites you to participate. We must be attentive so we can see or hear His invitation and take hold of each opportunity He gives us.
While “formal” ministry has looked different than I expected this year, the Lord has taught me to recognize the day to day ministry I have been in all along. From the very beginning of my time in Bolivia, I knew God was working in and through my friendship with my language teacher, Viviana. Simply walking alongside one another brings glory to our Father in Heaven. God created us to be in communion with one another and desires us to treat each person as our brother or sister. The more intentional we are in the relationships in our life, the more we see God moving in and through the people around us.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” -1 Peter 4:8-10
Since being back in Bolivia, my language teacher, her colleagues, and I have been serving one another in the ways we are able. As I wait for Nora to arrive, I have been “alone.” While I am alone in the sense of being the only FMS missioner here, I am not alone in company. Their giving hearts and welcoming spirit have been such a gift to me. They have filled my belly with yummy food and my soul with joyous laughter. As I graciously receive their hospitality, I am called to love deeply in return. They have embarked on a new journey and created a new language school, CLIMA: Centro Lingüístico Intercultural. I love and serve them by simply being present with them during their first few weeks of class, supporting where I can. Because the Lord brought us together a year ago, I can now walk with them on their new journey, just as they walk with me during my new beginning here in Bolivia. As I am hopeful to be plugged into a ministry site soon, I recognize the current opportunity God has invited me to embrace is to be present with my friends as they start a new business and help welcome their new students to Cochabamba.
Cochabamba felt like home before, and I quickly settled back in at home once again. It feels like home because of the people who have loved me well and invited me to be a part of their family. Because my Bolivian family is intentional in caring for me, I can see God moving through them. Just as much as I am practicing my Franciscan ministry of presence with them, they are practicing it with me, and may not even know it. I am always amazed by the way the Lord weaves people’s lives together and unites us in His family. May you, too, be attentive to the present and step into the moments where God calls you to be in ministry.
“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” –Psalm 133:1
Reflection: Think about the relationships in your daily life. How are the people surrounding you ministering to you and how are you loving them in return?
*** If interested in taking online classes (or in person classes in Cochabamba) to learn Spanish, Qhichwa or Aymara, check out the CLIMA language program!