COVID-19 might have limited our ability to connect in person, but technology has allowed us to continue to build meaningful relationships.
World Renew’s Global Partnership Program facilitates the formation of relationships between a church or group in North America and a community elsewhere, usually outside North America. These relationships allow for the deepening of connections as Christians as well as fellowship on the journey to get closer to the vision God has for us.
Partnerships are usually strengthened through annual visits, but COVID-19 travel restrictions put these visits on hold.
Through the GPP, New Westminster Christian Reformed Church in British Columbia has partnered with El Coyolar, a rural community in Honduras. Hank, an active member in the New Westminster community, looked forward to his annual trips to El Coyolar for more than 20 years. But for 2021, the visit was virtual.
Hank and New Westminster’s Pastor Andrew Beunk were expecting only two El Coyolar church leaders to attend the Zoom meeting because internet connection isn’t reliable in El Coyolar.
But Dulce, the pastor of the local CRC in El Coyolar, said, “We climbed a hill for a better signal.” And Hank and Pastor Andrew saw not two, but many familiar faces.
“It was a great emotion to know that we’d see them again,” Dulce said. “It’s always exciting to hear from our brothers and sisters because they’re very special to us.”
“Goodness, how big you’ve grown,” Hank noted with the affection of a favorite uncle when he saw one of the children in the huddle of faces. Roland Pinzon, World Renew’s bridger in Honduras, said the relationship formed between the North American church and the local community goes beyond partnership. “It’s more like family.”
New Westminster shares God’s love with El Coyolar through support in community development programs and emergency response efforts, and while El Coyolar appreciates this support, it’s the meaningful bonds that have developed that make it worth climbing hills to maintain connection.
If your church or group is interested in partnership, a World Renew Global Partnership coach will be happy to meet with your team to determine if a partnership is right for you and to identify the unique skills and assets that God has given your church to further the kingdom. If it is determined that a partnership is a good fit, then the real work will soon begin as you explore the process of preparing your church for this partnership—this extended family.
About the Author
Laurisa O-Brien is a Communications Writer with World Renew. World Renew works in about 30 developing countries worldwide, living justice, loving mercy, and serving Christ.