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The Key is Relationships – “Convivir”

A great time at the "convivio" at our house on Sunday afternoon
A great time at the “convivio” at our house on Sunday afternoon

One the many things I love about our Latino friends is that they are strong relationally. Whereas, you might say Americans tend to be more task driven, Latinos are driven more by relationships. One isn’t better than the other, but Dawn and I do enjoy the latino culture.
One of my core values, or philosophical beliefs about ministry is that

Ministry flows out of relationship

That belief is not unique to me. The last time I was in Mission to the World’s headquarter’s I noticed they have a big banner that says exactly that, “Ministry Flows out of Relationship.” The point being that if you don’t have the foundation of a relationship with someone it’s hard to move forward. It’s hard to get the task done.

Convivio and the Bible

In Spanish a gathering is called a “convivio” the verb is “convivir” which literally means, to live together. This aptly describes time that is well spent living, laughing and loving with others.
This idea brings to mind some passages in the Bible, that express God’s heart for true fellowship.

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. —Acts 2:42-44 (ESV)
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. —Galatians 6:2 (ESV)

“O Lord, that this would be a true expression of the activity and level of relationships exhibited here.”

The Importance of Building on a Strong Foundation

If you need to build on the firm foundation of a relationship in the U. S., it’s even more true in Mexico and other Latin countries. Much ministry is done over meals. Food is a wonderful way to enjoy one another and to get to know each other. When I take our American friends into Mexico I usually remind them of the importance of breaking break together. When we are willing to spend time with someone, it demonstrates that we are interested in them personally.

enjoying some tacos with Pastor Daniel Nuñez and Pastor Rodrigo Vallarta and their families in TJ
enjoying some tacos with Pastor Daniel Nuñez and Pastor Rodrigo Vallarta and their families in TJ

On the border two very different cultures merge. I see this every time I cross the border and go into Mexico. I also experience it in our church, because we have two languages (Spanish and English) and people from different cultures in our church.
I remember when I started going into Tijuana to get to know the pastors and ministry of Lo Mejor del Trigo. I asked Daniel Nuñez, the leader of the LMT movement in TJ, how I could work with the pastors. He recommended that I begin by spending time with them, and building a relationship with them. That was very sound advice. Since we moved to the border, Dawn and I have worked hard at getting to know the pastors and their wives. We’ve grown to love those that we’ve developed a relationship with.
Also, we’ve eaten some great tacos, and other wonderful Mexican cuisine along the way.

Lord, Hear Our Prayer

One way you can pray for us is that we will build a firm foundation for ministry here that the Lord will use for the expansion of his reign on earth as it is in heaven.
In His Grip, Dave


  • By sustainabilitea
    Posted June 10, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Hospitality, no matter what you can offer, is a wonderful relationship-builder and something Christ used continuously. I agree that forming relationship can be key and breaking bread together is a wonderful way to start. Thanks for the reminder. I can’t wait until the house is sold and we’re together in one place, so I can invite people over again. Some years ago, I started a supper club at our church here in Cleveland and it’s been such a blessing and a foundation for some wonderful friendships.

    • By diasolifeontheborder
      Posted June 10, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      I know what you mean – we were trying to sell our house for over a year, and it really limited our ability to have people over. We are glad the Lord has given us a great house for entertaining now.

  • By Larry Who
    Posted June 10, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    “…Whereas, you might say Americans tend to be more task driven, Latinos are driven more by relationships…”
    This was a kind way of describing us Americans, rather than saying we’re stuck in ruts and can’t change. You are very wise.

    • By diasolifeontheborder
      Posted June 10, 2013 at 11:42 pm

      Thank you – well, there are some positive things to be task driven. Of course, the opposite is also true.

  • By Olive Twist ~♥~
    Posted June 10, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    I found the same kind of “convivio” experiences in Spain, and I miss it already. We sat with people and talked and ate together for hours at a time, even at restaurants where the waiters were patient and never rushed us. My father told me that once you are seated at a table, it is yours indefinitely and everyone understands that.
    It was difficult to in many ways to leave that and return to so much greed and ambition that no one has time for their neighbor anymore. Thank you for this post, which encourages me to slow down and help others to do the same.

    • By diasolifeontheborder
      Posted June 10, 2013 at 11:45 pm

      When you live in a more task oriented culture, it’s hard to slow down and enjoy people. Yet, if you’ve ever lived in a culture that places more value on the relationship, I think it is something that you end up missing. It’s not as easy to find people like that in the U.S.

      • By Olive Twist ~♥~
        Posted June 11, 2013 at 7:21 am

        Very true- ultimately our relationships trump everything else in our lives- our relationship to God and to people.

  • By Debbie
    Posted June 10, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    Thank you for sharing about ministry flowing from relationship. That is good for ALL of us! God bless you and praying for you!

    • By diasolifeontheborder
      Posted June 10, 2013 at 11:46 pm

      I still need this reminder. Sometimes I get caught up in the hustle and bustle.

  • By Pieter Stok
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 6:00 am

    The photo says it all!

  • By theshepherdspresence
    Posted June 11, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    I do pray for you almost every day. So, I added this request to your prayer slip. I’d “like” your post but the like button is not working tonight–at least not for me.

    • By diasolifeontheborder
      Posted June 14, 2013 at 1:35 pm

      Thanks so much – we need faithful prayer warriors, so it means a lot that you are so committed to praying for us. I know God hears the prayers of his people. Many blessings to you!

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