Thursday, November 16, 2023

How to Pray for Sowers4Pastors during the "Off Season"

Just for kicks, today seemed like a good day to see what would happen if AI was used to write a Sowers4Pastors blog post. Rachel had already shared what’s going on with the ministry during this off season, so the instructions for AI were to “write a blog post about the off season.” The results weren’t nearly as bad as this writer might have hoped! (gulp… gasp… sputter...)  The first suggested sentence was:

“The off season is a great time to relax and recharge, but it can also be a great time to get ahead on your work.(emphasis, mine)

So, yeah. That pretty much brings us to the point of this post, which is to talk about how the people with S4P are using this off season to get ahead on the work for seasons to come. Well played, AI. Well played. 

What AI doesn’t seem to understand is that the off season for Sowers4Ministry isn’t the same as a vacation where one might choose to do something productive or not. It pretty much just means that there aren’t teams on the ground and that the containers filled with backpacks haven’t arrived yet. But that will all change soon enough. 

The containers are on their way! One of the two containers is already at the port in Honduras and heading toward customs. If all goes well, it should arrive on the property in about a week. That means that the bodega needs to be ready to receive the shipment. Over the last two years, the bodega that stores all of the backpacks and other supplies has received a lot of deep cleaning and organizing. Rachel explained that the scene is similar to what it looks like when a church in the States hosts a major backpack filling event. There are a lot of extra boxes of supplies (crayons, pencils, pencil sharpeners, etc.) to complete any backpacks that aren’t totally filled with the needed items. The office workers have been getting a jump on things. There were some extra generic backpacks in the bodega that have already been filled and are ready to hand out to children that don't receive a designated backpack from a sponsor.

Christmas letters from the children to their sponsors are also being completed. The ministry is checking to make sure that each of the kids in the program is still attending school, by checking whether or not they receive a letter from each child. They are getting the letters translated and packed, as well as working out how these boxes of letters will be shipped to the States. 

There are some meetings coming up, too. One will be a teacher training with a small, Christmas-themed dinner to thank the Sunday school teachers involved in the program. A separate meeting will be for the directors of the schools–addressing how the ministry is making sure that the children in the program are attending school.

Team visits for the coming year are being coordinated. As the teams begin prepping on their end, S4P begins prepping, too. There are dates to figure out, hotels to book, and scheduling of any extra activities that teams want to do. 

The first team will arrive in January to register children and hand out backpacks, so S4P is already thinking about registration forms for the children and making child profiles. Secia will be getting the registration forms printed soon. They are also preparing the forms for letters that will be handed out in March. It takes a long time to print that many forms, but Secia is on it!

The first coffee harvest is happening now. Even a smaller coffee harvest requires people to pick the coffee. That means that the guys on the staff are driving back and forth an hour each way to pick up the coffee pickers in their pickup trucks. 

Speaking of trucks… The vehicles are receiving extra maintenance to be sure they are ready for team visits. It’s important to have each vehicle operational so that there’s always a backup plan for transporting teams hither and yon.

Oh, and plans are in the works for the end-of-year staff Christmas dinner, too. 

If you’re thinking that the off season sounds just as active as every other season, you are not alone. Rachel put it in perspective by saying, “When you have a team visiting, that takes precedence over other work. Everything else gives way to that. Some of the work that can't bet done during team season can be done now.”

- posted by Christi

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