During the first semester of 2018 we have accompanied groups of leaders of different churches with trainings on creating healthy families. From our Christian witness and missionary work in Mexico, we consider it of the utmost importance to strengthen pastoral work aimed at promoting and guaranteeing the fullness of life of all people. In contexts where different types of violence occur, especially domestic violence, it is necessary to address the issues related to families from a biblical, pastoral and social perspective.
The seven workshops facilitated with groups of Pentecostal, Presbyterian and Nazarene churches occurred mainly in communities of the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca in southern Mexico. Both states are part of the most impoverished territories of the country, with a great cultural and natural wealth, an extensive and rich history of indigenous resistance, and hit by socio-natural phenomena such as the earthquakes of September of last year. The churches participating in the workshops were interested and committed to a comprehensive mission for families, not only of the churches, but also in their communities. From the study of Psalm 23, three actions were identified for pastoral accompaniment that seeks the holistic wellness of individuals and families: to sustain, to guide and to protect.
The workshops were developed through a participatory and experiential methodology. The reality lived by families was the starting point to assess not only the signs of brokenness and violence, but also the signs of fullness of life. Family life is presented as a journey through time, where it is essential to look at the past, review the present and move towards the future. It is important to recognize that all families have lived and experience painful and broken experiences, but there are also times of blessing and joy. It seeks to heal and restore life by providing spaces for forgiveness, reconciliation, welfare and justice. The signs of full and abundant life are celebrated in the workshops, and the churches are encouraged to continue affirming, defending and promoting this demand of the gospel: “That all may have life and have it in abundance” (John 10:10).
The other emphasis in the workshops is to provide tools to churches for constructive and positive resolution of conflicts, thus overcoming all types of violence and abuse. Recognizing that violence is an issue that affects us all, it is essential to seek solutions and improve the quality of interfamilial relationships. In the workshops we learn to see conflicts and crises as opportunities to grow and improve in life. We develop tools and skills to accompany those who suffer effectively and affectively. We exercise the language of love to express and communicate our feelings affirming the dignity and value of people. We recognize the need to eliminate all types of violence, abuse and mistreatment especially towards children and women.
As a product of the workshops, people, families and churches plan actions to improve and move towards the fullness of life. The plans seek to heal wounds and restore relationships, empower families to seek their integral well-being and develop capacities for resilience. We work with the three pillars of resilience to evaluate the resources we have to face the adverse situations of life: we are, we can and we have.
We thank the pastors and leaders of the different churches for facilitating the coordination, making possible these formative and experiential processes. And we thank Global Ministries for giving us the opportunity to serve the most vulnerable and in this way give witness to the love and grace of God.
Cindy Moraga-Selva serves the Theological Community of Mexico (CTdeM). Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, WOC, OGHS, and your special gifts.