Featured speaker: Joel Van Dyke has lived and served in Guatemala City since 2003 with his wife, Marilyn (Ortiz) ’97, and their children, Joel and Sofia. He is the founder of the Center for Transforming Mission (CTM) Guatemala in Guatemala City and served as CTM’s executive director until February 2014. In that capacity, Joel and his wife nurtured into existence a missional community of grassroots leaders and a vast network of urban leaders learning to see and celebrate good news in hard places.
Currently, Joel serves on the Board of Directors for CTM Guatemala and lives and serves in Guatemala City as an Urban Transformational Network Developer with Christian Reformed World Missions. Prior to moving to Central America, Joel pastored for 15 years at Bethel Temple Community Bible Church in Philadelphia and cofounded the Philadelphia Project for Youth Ministry.
The theme for Global Mission Week 2016 was “Ciudad de Gozo (City of Joy): The Dance of the Spirit in Latin American Cities.” It was a week of exploration and celebration surrounding the work of the Holy Spirit in the barrios, prisons, streets, and slums of Latin American cities.
Due to Winter Storm Jonas on Monday, the week was kicked off on Wednesday morning, January 27, with feature speaker Joel Van Dyke’s message in chapel. He spoke on the call to vision and challenged students to think about the way in which they view cities and their residents. “The way you see something determines the way you behave towards that thing,” Van Dyke said.
Drawing from the story of Hagar in Genesis 16, Van Dyke pointed out how Hagar was considered property, yet the angel of the Lord called her by name and blessed her by giving a promise regarding her descendants. Hagar’s response was that “the Lord is a God who sees.” Using this story to illustrate God’s love for “the least of these,” Van Dyke shared his experiences during his time in Santo Domingo, a city known for its high prostitution rate. He had worked with women from the church who ministered to the prostitutes and helped them come to the Lord. “The call of mission is to learn to see the dance of the Spirit,” Van Dyke exhorted, “working often in the most difficult places and through sometimes the most scandalous of situations.”
Van Dyke continued this series during a lecture and evening event on Thursday, January 28, and a final chapel message on Friday, January 29. During the lecture, Van Dyke encouraged students to love the city that God has placed you in and embrace the process of transformation that will occur when a city is loved with the love of Christ. “Be like the salt of the earth,” Van Dyke challenged. “Be an agent of preservation; rub into the fabric of the community.”
Other highlights of the week included a lecture, “Worship in Song Around the World,” by Virginia Whitney; a lecture and interactive lesson on “Global Mission, Power Dynamics, and the Latino Church” by Dr. Elizabeth Conde-Frazier; a “Window on Culture” movie night, and rich conversations with various missionary representatives.
Listen to chapel services from Global Mission Week below.