Ibarreño Men Choose Community Over Parties
Katy Perry does a pretty good job of putting into song what kind of mischief people can get themselves into Last Friday Night. If you haven’t heard the song, you don't really need to. Just know, it involves lots of booze and it used to be all over the radio. The stigma of Friday night partying isn’t just an American thing. It’s something that our missionaries see on the field all over South America too. The 40/40 Church Plant pair Sam and Jeremias, and their disciples Edison decided they would give the men in their community something to do on Fridays other than drinking the night away. They began to host a Friday night men’s group. “Together with Edison we made a plan to go get together with [a few friends of Edison’s who get into trouble on the weekends] to just avoid temptation,” says Sam about their new group.
The guys that go are pretty excited about the new group and have been inviting all of their friends. About 3-6 guys get together each weekend, some of them cycling in and out. They hang out, talk about work and life, and the Bible comes up in conversation often too. It’s different than any of the other groups the missionaries lead, because this one is not specifically a Bible Study. Almost all of them have a past with drinking and partying, which makes this new community rich with a common struggle they all share. Edison used to be stuck in that lifestyle too, so he understands how valuable it is for these men to find something positive to replace their old habits. All of that is what inspired the men’s group in the first place, to provide accountability and something to do in community.
Even though the group isn’t Bible study focused, Sam, Jeremias, and Edison are constantly inviting the guys to the Ibarra Church. One of the guys went to their church for the first time and then the week after went to the church’s Encounter Spiritual Retreats. “God did a lot of work in him,” said Sam, “and you can tell he’s really hungry.”
Edison is one of the leaders in the church in Ibarra. We praise the Lord to see the way that he has matured in his relationship with God and the compassion that live in his spirit. As the Ibarra Church Plant Team prepares to finish their time in the city, it’s encouraging to see the Body of Christ active in examples like this one.
Lift these men up in prayer as Sam, Jeremias and Edison continue to minister to their hearts. Pray that God opens conversations that lead to the Gospel message and that their hearts will be open to hearing God’s beckoning.