Go, Team, Go! A Mission of Healing Story in Several Parts

Plan. Train. Go!

In a nutshell, this describes the Mission of Healing 2022: Plan, Train, Go. If you are coming into this story in the middle, you really should take a moment to click on PLAN and then on TRAIN. This episode celebrates GO. 

CELEBRATES!  Yup, that all caps shout-out is so all of you sister church relationship coordinators and international companion synod cheerleaders in the back row can enjoy a celebratory trajectory moment with our Mission of Healing North team. Whether you've been working on a ministry project with your companions for 3 years, 5 years or 25 years, we suspect you know the challenges of visioning mutually, adapting with time and circumstances, and developing local sustainability - sustainability not only (or necessarily) in terms of local economic independence, but in terms of local local leadership, local leadership development, local creativity, and local enthusiasm. 

During the Teach the Teachers event, we collected names and WhatsApp phone numbers of those who participated in one or all of the training days.  Pastor Conchi set up WhatsApp groups for the two northern region health promoter teams (about 20 in each group - organized so the promoters are with the same people who were in their training group). Pastor Conchi and I are in both groups. The idea is to maintain and nurture via WhatsApp the "safe sharing space vibe" that we created during the training days.  Group members can ask questions, share ideas, and share reflections about how things are going with their local efforts.  Pastor Conchi can use the groups to send out updates and set up follow-up training sessions to review and expand upon the themes from February. 

Each training group met in April (as planned in February) to review the Digestive and Circulatory systems with Pastor Conchi and each other. However, the health promoters were so excited about doing their replica teaching events in their local communities, that they plunged right into their work before the review sessions took place.  One week after Teach the Teachers, our phones started chirping with WhatsApp group alerts. These were the first photos which were shared:

"We are preparing our space for our first replica."

"We are meeting to go over the materials and decide who is doing what charla."

"We are walking house to house in Santa Barbarita to invite families.
Our goal is a minimum of 20 families participating."

Members of the group responded to these posts with "Excellent!" and "Well done!" and "Que viva la Misión de Sanación Norte!" 

These little messages from Santa Barbarita were encouraging for others and the groups became super active.  Promoters shared their plans for replica workshops, such as: "We are going to do part of the Digestive System and part of the Circulatory System first, because the local clinic doctor will come to our second event to do the more complicated charlas in each of those themes. We are doing the basic ones [charlas]." Messages like this one illustrate that the health promoters feel comfortable adapting the health education implementation plans according to the resources in their communities. Pastor Conchi and I were very diligent in responding to these posts with encouragement.

Each week throughout the month of March the health promoters shared photos and little reports via the WhatsApp groups:
"We did our first replica!" 
"We are keeping our commitment."
"We could only do 2 charlas, but we did it."
"We can't do anything until April, but we already invited the women's group." 
The members of the group love to share and are very supportive of each other with messages like "thanks be to God" and "we see the Mission of Healing in action."

During the first month following Teach the Teachers (February and most of March), I loaded all the photos and videos shared in the WhatsApp groups into an album, and then I created a video.  I used the images which the communities sent and only excluded photos which were nearly duplicates of others. I did not organize them by community or theme, which creates a sort of "Where's Waldo?" experience in the communities when they look for themselves in the video.  

My role in the WhatsApp groups, just to clarify, is animator. We don't use that word much in English but the Spanish verb animar catches this idea of encouragement or cheering on or motivating.  I think it's important for the communities to be able to celebrate their own efforts and see the impact of their collective efforts across the region. I think it is important to thank God and these enthusiastic promoters for their faithfulness. I think it's important for those of us in partnership with the Salvadoran Lutheran Church acknowledge endings (the flops and the fabulous) and to embrace new trajectories.  

The title of this simple, celebratory video is: Mission of Healing Local Teams in Action.  As you watch the video, look for all the different ways in which the communities are teaching and learning together.



The images and reports from the health promoters show the fruits of their training which grew in just one month.  We have already seen more multiplication of basic health education in one month than we could have imagined when we developed the 2022 plan.  And, if you are wondering if the WhatsApp notifications are still chirping and if the replica workshops continue, the answer is YES. Yes, they are.  

There will be more stories and more reports to share as the health promoters work to bring better health education to more families in ways that stick and improve individual and community health. The Mission of Healing North continues on its new trajectory.  Go, Team, Go!!

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