Spring 2017 :: Ryan Hellpap, Kingdom Workers Field Manager: Caribbean
Kingdom Workers does all kinds of mission projects all over the world, from aquaponics in Southeast Asia, to VBS in Michigan, to Disability Ministries in Africa. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes to make sure the greatest need of each community is served. So, how do these programs happen?
First, the needs of the community are assessed. For example, at Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Lucia (a WELS congregation), volunteers had the opportunity to help Pastor Bramdeo Ramgolam assess the community around the church to decide how to best benefit their community.
What immediately stood out is that youth unemployment (15-24) is over 35% in St. Lucia, which is one of the main causes of poverty, violence, and drug rates on the island. From here, Pastor Ramgolam and the KW Field Manager met to discuss goals and objectives for job training to be offered at the church. Then they collected data from the community while training members to help with the process. From that data, they found that 41% of people in St. Lucia say they lack the skills necessary for the jobs that are available. This combined with the 37% that feel the community needs more services for residents to develop job skills shows that there is a definite need that Trinity can provide.
Trinity St. Lucia, with support from Kingdom Workers, is developing original vocational trainings targeting underserved youth in their community. These are people who were previously almost out of reach for the ministry. In the end, this program has the potential to bring hundreds of people per year onto campus who will then be exposed to the Gospel. At the same time, livelihoods will be improved and communities will develop.
KW carefully approaches all projects to be sure that the greatest need of each community is met. In St. Lucia, that need is job training. In other parts of the world, it might be clean water or community development. Always, KW shares the Gospel, which benefits people for much longer than a lifetime.