by Giselle Gutierrez, Lynn MA
I’ve come to learn that even among the most seemingly different cultural backgrounds, there are always common attributes that bridge believers together as the Body of Christ. I’m a multi-racial American woman, called to serve in the missionary ministry at Congregación Candelero De Dios (CCDD) in Lynn, MA.
Some of the strategies I believe brought about the success of this immigrant church to cross barriers in the U.S. and build cross-cultural bridges on local and global levels have come about by committing to a worthy project, raising awareness, establishing the right connections, and going out into the field.
Raising Awareness. Through the years I’ve learned that everyone has a story. Many here share a similar background of beginning in a foreign country as an immigrant. But it’s in the beauty of early struggle that they begin to reminisce on their current blessings. These thankful people are the ones who will usually commit to serving or giving when informed of a need that they, too, have experienced. The key is to give them a God-given cause to invest their time, resources and talents to, which is most fruitful when generated by God’s Holy Spirit and pure motives on our behalf.
We at CCDD have personally experienced success in raising awareness through mission campaigns/conferences, media outlets and 1:1 personal outreach.
Establishing the Right Connections. Once a project has been adopted, it’s important to connect with the right people (the missions leader of the region and/or VISA Ministries). Once communication has been established, one must become a liaison between the two nations, keeping them well informed about the development process. While it involves a lot of hard work and time, it is crucial to involve both regions in the project.
Going out to the field. I’ve learned people will live and die for a worthy cause. When one church understands others are selflessly working for their well-being and are willing to cross barriers to personally reach them, the Spirit of the Living God begins to revive a fire within them. In the same manner, when the U.S. church discovers the blessing behind giving/serving, the love of God becomes evident, tangible and genuine. Cross-cultural bridges are built when these relationships are established. Barriers are crossed when the love of Christ is the main mission behind the project.