The partnership between Brentwood Presbyterian Church and the pastoral committee APASUR in Bluefields has taken many forms in the last 21 years. This summer, both groups are recommitting themselves to the partnership, and the tangible results are already clear.
In June, a group of 36 people of all ages traveled to Bluefields to get to know the pastors of the committee, visit schools and churches, and simply share time together. At CEPAD, we believe partnership is more than a one-way transaction of financial support to a community — it’s a commitment to work together for radical transformation of both the physical realities of the two communities and the spirits of all involved. We’re so excited to see Brentwood and Bluefields embrace this type of partnership, relying on CEPAD to help coordinate logistics and support communications.
In just a week, the 36 members of the group and dozens of pastors and community members in Bluefields learned about each others’ homes and families. Laughter and prayer abounded. The Brentwood group also worked to address some of the direct needs of the communities, including buying basic food packages to distribute to the neediest families from each of the churches.
A partnership is not always easy. During the week leaders from each community reached across language and cultural to decide what the goals and structure should be. The struggles were worth it, says Brentwood pastor Roché Vermaak, and the group is excited to move forward with its partnership. Brentwood is already planning its next trip for June 2015, and Vermaak said they plan to focus on supporting water infrastructure and schools around Bluefields.
“The challenge is to create awareness and participation with 700 congregants who have never been to Bluefields, for them to share our passion for this 21 year long friendship. And for APASUR and their congregations to experience that we care about them and are in this for the long haul,” he said.
We are so thankful to all of our partners, whose longstanding commitments to communities and CEPAD enrich relationships between Nicaragua and other countries and create opportunities to serve one another in the name of God. Although it’s not easy, its worth is clear. After each challenge, we are blessed with the opportunity to lift our voices to God in prayer together.