Jeanette Salley, Mission Co-worker
How would you describe the mission of our partner in Nicaragua?
The mission of our partner in Nicaragua is focused on improving their understanding of Christian Education and sharing with other Moravian churches every facet of Christian Education and how Christian Education impacts their understanding of God through the culture of the people of Nicaragua.
How do you fit into their mission?
I feel that I fit into their mission because of my experience in teaching Christian Education in a variety of church environments. And also, their understanding of the necessity of education in the church as a way to help interpret the spiritual, cultural, social, political and economical life of a people.
What led you to engage in this calling?
First, I love working in the Caribbean and Latin America area. As an African American, I am very interested in the historical movement of ships carrying people of African decent from Africa to the Caribbean then to North or South America and back to Africa (sometime known as the Triangular Slave Trade or the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade). I am also interested in people that were brought to the Caribbean from other countries/continents. Second, the gathering of God’s people from different cultures becomes the best communion one can experience. That communion takes place when we share from our context our perspective on life, on our history and on the impact of God’s love, mercy and grace through Jesus Christ. Third, I believe this communion helps us to clearly recognize how we are connected as children of God. Finally, I feel I was led to engage in this calling because when we are open to let the Holy Spirit help us to understand the tenets of injustice, misuse of power, greed, suffering, etc., we can engage in activities that will change those tenets for the Kingdom of God.
Is there a passage of scripture that carries special meaning in your daily work?
Mark 1: 7-8 according to the Message translation says,
7-8 As he preached [John the Baptist] he said, “The real action comes next: The star in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will change your life. I’m baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. His baptism—a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit—will change you from the inside out.”
This passage of scripture will be my guiding light during my mission work in Nicaragua. Why? Because of my unconventional use of baptism as a metaphor for the foundation of Christian Education—a “baptism” that will change you from the inside out.”
What are some of the challenges facing the people of Nicaragua, our partner, or yourself?
The biggest challenge facing the people of Nicaragua would be inclusion in the political process; and the access to basic resources for daily life and for education.
What is a lesson you have learned from our partner that you feel should be shared with churches in the U.S.?
Try not to let Sunday morning worship become so mundane that we forget as a community the joy of being in the presence of God, Christ and the Holy Spirit and joy of being a community together in fellowship .
Which books have influenced your understanding of your country, work, or theology?
- On Job: God-Talk and the Suffering of the Innocent, by Gustavo Gutierrez
- The Caribbean: Culture of Resistance, Spirit of Hope, by Oscar L. Bolioli (Ed.)
- Jesus and the Disinherited, by Howard Thurman
- The Scandalous Message of James: Faith Without Works is Dead, by Elsa Tamez