If you’d like to learn more about how LightShine could be a part of your church’s mission focus we’d love to talk! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. When Tarahumaras migrate to cities they normally group into colonias, or ghettos. If your church is being called to the Tarahumara people group as a permanent mission focus, then your church might be able to adopt a Tarahumara colonia and child sponsorship would be available to your members. As a sponsor, you will know your Tarahumara child and your mission field intimately and be an important partner in discipleship. Your church’s partnership allows a team of mature Christian teachers, a director, and a pastor or missionary to develop a permanent presence in your Tarahumara colonia and become a part of their life. Together, your church, LightShine, and your Tarahumara colonia will develop impactful long-term relationships. Each Tarahumara community that we work in is ‘adopted’ or ‘sponsored’ by one or two churches.
The sponsoring church’s philosophy that underpins the adoption of their Tarahumara community is critical: Through a vision trip to Chihuahua with LightShine, the church leadership must become fully convinced by the Holy Spirit that God has called their church to reach their specific Tarahumara community with the Gospel. In other words, LightShine is helping the church to fulfill its calling, rather than LightShine is fulfilling its calling and the church is helping them. The church becomes deeply committed to their Tarahumara community, and the colonia has to occupy an integral part of the church’s missions strategy. Adoption of a colonia by a church includes the following commitments:
- LightShine and church leadership educates the church body and communicates their vision and calling within the Tarahumara nation regularly. The body should develop a passion for the Tarahumara and specifically for their community.
- Church members are given the opportunity to sponsor a child in their colonia. This is the foundation of the ministry model. Each enrolled child in the church’s colonia becomes available for sponsorship. A child packet is developed by LightShine that includes the child’s picture, brief biography, and prayer requests. Church leadership facilitates the child sponsorship opportunities during which members can choose from the available child packets. Child sponsorship is a long-term relationship. The sponsor can easily become one of the most important people in the child’s life. The sponsor should see the relationship as engaging in ministry through long-term discipleship. Communication through letter writing, and committed prayer are important aspects of the relationship.
- The church takes a minimum of one and a maximum of three mission trips per year. The teams can be composed of sponsors, youth, college students, or families. These trips are vital for long-term relationship. Although we’re located only four hours south of the border, missions team members from your church will experience one-on-one, longterm, cross-cultural relationships in immersive settings that result in eternally impactful short-term missions. LightShine is responsible for all the in-country logistics which allows ‘turn-key’ missions for your church with a low financial burden and easy travel logistics. Each trip includes a balance of relationship building and spiritual enrichment with the children and families, relationship building with the LightShine staff of your community, work projects, community outreach, team spiritual growth, and tourist fun. We’re available to train your leadership how to prepare, pastor, and lead a short-term missions team.
- A financial commitment of $38 per month per sponsor is collected by the church along with their tithes and offerings. The sponsorship finances are aggregated by the church finance department and sent to LightShine as a lump sum once per month. This process reinforces the philosophy that this is a calling and ministry of the church.
- LightShine receives a fixed contribution each month from the church missions budget that is used for your colonia. There is no minimum, and the amount is decided upon by church leadership. Where your treasure is there your heart will be, therefore the goal of this is to help ensure that their Tarahumara community continues to occupy an integral part of the church’s mission vision.
- The church internally develops a volunteer ‘LightShine Ambassador’. The LightShine Ambassador is a member of the body who has a heart for the work and interfaces between the church and the LightShine team in the community. This person is responsible for helping administrate sponsorship, assists in communication, helps organizes church LightShine events, and helps coordinate the short-term mission trips.
- A minimum five-year commitment to your Tarahumara Community.