In Peru, Evangelism is Ducky
“Bishop, thirty ladies have given their life to Jesus.” Norma, a deacon, calls me in excitement. It wasn’t an ‘evangelistic campaign’, but a duck rearing project in the extreme poverty of Lima’s shanty towns. It’s a three month course for 90 women. It aims to improve nutrition for their families (protein from meat and eggs, or added income if they’re sold), raise self-esteem, and enable learning to work together.Sharing faith is to be a natural act, the way one shares a good book, movie or recipe. If God is doing good things in your life, how can you not share it? This is evangelism. The project above works because the duck initiative is for the purpose of raising income, self-esteem and a sense of community and has the side-benefit of sharing faith. If the duck project were ruse, a front for an evangelism campaign, then it wouldn't ring true to the participants. That's my take anyway. What do you think?
Often one of the first questions to Norma and her helpers is, “Are you nuns?” “No, we’re married and have children.” Over the weeks the women discover the team are inspired by faith, but the issue’s not pushed. By the end of the course, however, there’ll be prayers, for their families and the sick, open conversation about faith, and all in the most natural way.
We believe social outreach and the proclamation of the Gospel go hand in hand. This practical project is good news for the women and very often changes lives. It could be any project, but in this case it’s ducks and faith in Jesus. Gospel -good news- was the word chosen by the apostles as the best way of describing Jesus, what he taught and what he did. There is no conflict between the two. Serving others and the proclamation of Christ’s name belong together. “If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example... (Jn.13:14-15). To him be the glory.
The Rev. Frank Logue, E-evangelist
Bishop Godfrey, at right, at a baptism in the River Chillón, Peru