Maximize Your Work with Vida en Familia
Answers to common questions that will help you and your team build a productive and lasting relationship with FamilyLife’s national representatives in Latin America.
Why should I try to work with the national representative? I don’t even speak the language. It would be so much easier just to order from the US and take the materials with us.
- Theologically, we need to do ministry so that it will benefit the locals most, not so that it will be easiest for us. Your taking the extra effort to support their ministry (by working through them) will provide you with their resources on the ground and will build your relationship with local believers who are already doing the ministry you want to do.
- Logistically, it frees up your suitcases for other things. Our national reps already have your materials in the country so you don’t have to carry them. Books are heavy.
- Customs officials have the right to tax or confiscate anything they think is more than a “personal amount” of goods in your bags. When you work through our national representatives you don’t have to worry about customs!
- Your purchase supports the local ministry. When you purchase material through our national representatives, it allows them to reinvest in the ministry.
But how do I pay them?
- Pay them in person. When you place the order, they will let you know what the cost will be. You do not have to prepay them or give out your credit card number. Just make arrangements to meet them when you arrive in the country and pay them when you pick up the materials. Make sure you exchange your money so you can pay them in local currency.
- Most are unpaid volunteers. Our national representatives are local volunteers, and many times, the sales of the materials barely cover their transportation expenses. If you would like to make a donation directly to them for their ministry, please feel free to do so.
We want to give away the materials, or put on a free conference.
- That is great! But it is also a very sensitive issue. Several negative scenarios have resulted from well-meaning short term missions trips, for example:
- One of our national representatives had helped a local church organize weekend marriage event. Excitement was at an all-time high, about 100 people had signed up for the weekend.
- But when the day came. only about 6 people showed up!
- What happened? A short-term missions team had showed up at another church across town and announced that they were doing the exact same conference for free the next weekend!
- Rather than multiplying the Gospel, this well-meaning team of foreigners had unknowingly sabotaged an ongoing local ministry!
- When teams from the US hand out our materials for free, it promotes a negative view of the local representative: “Why do you charge for these materials? They (the Americans) give them away for free!”
- So, if you want to give the materials, or the entire event, as a gift to the local church, please do it through our representatives. Coordinate the schedule with them.You could even let them give the materials away! You are giving them the ability to be generous in a way that they would never be able to afford! You are strengthening their ministry and building their reputation in the community, and they will continue ministering there long after your team has gone home.