KW Editor's Note: Arron Landgraf is a Kingdom Workers teacher in Chile.
What do you and I have in common?
We are both people. We may have the same favorite color, maybe we both like the same TV programs, and we are definitely both breathing. However, one thing you may not know we have in common with the people in our lives is what Spanish speakers call confianza. This is a very important outreach tool in Chile and other parts of Latin America.
Confianza (roughly translated in English as “confidence”) in one another is the drive or ability to continue a relationship. It could be a relationship we have with friends, family or even people we have just met. This relationship tells us how much we can share about ourselves and even how much they will share with us. The level of confianza between two people determines the present and future of their relationship.
Confianza is like any plant really. You start with nothing bigger than a little seed, but with work and the right elements, that relationship will grow into something bigger, stronger, and more beautiful.
After arriving in Chile, I discovered that personal relationships are still extremely important here in all facets of life; these relationships are fueled by the advancement and growth of confianza. I started looking at my task as building confianza, or growing a garden of friendships. Rather than trying to use a sales pitch for evangelism, I had the chance to see how much easier it was to do outreach based on friendship.
A sales pitch can get some people interested, but the true key to getting someone to honestly hear what you say, both in Chile and across the world, is by taking the time to plant the seeds first. Some people just click, and the confianza is built up effortlessly. A few times it’s been as easy as telling a joke or sharing an embarrassing story, but the real power of confianza isn’t the stories being told. It is the bond made between two people telling them.
In my time in Chile, I have found opportunities to see confianza grow between myself and other people, and through these opportunities I have been able to share the Gospel truth. Door-to-door and cold-calling has its place, but most reached by those methods are only listening out of courtesy. When you build a relationship through confianza, I can tell a parable or a biblical story and know that the other person is actually hearing me. They often have shown me that they actually know the stories as well. Who knew that all of the memorization in grade school would actually be useful? I know I never enjoyed memory work, but now it has helped me immensely to bring up a passage for the situation I’m in or for the answer one needs.
During class, we were making a zoo when one of my 3rd graders asked me what my bracelet meant. It was a gift I was given before I left the United States, and I wear it regularly in classes. I took it off and handed it to her while I explained. The first arrow means Jesus came, the cross she knew meant that He died, the tomb was a mystery for her, so I explained how it was the best part. The tomb is open because Jesus is no longer dead. He conquered death for us, and because of this, we don’t have to be afraid of death. After I said that, she said, “thank you”. She then went to one of her classmates, who has been sad lately, and said, “Don’t be afraid, Jesus saved you.” I didn’t know what happened at first, but after class, the same girl came up to me and gave me a hug saying thank you. She didn’t know what to tell her friend whose grandma just passed away.
I never would have expected that this little 3rd grade girl would hear the words of how we are saved and then immediately use them as encouragement. At times in our lives we can try to find the perfect moment to share our faith, but often it’s when we don’t think it is being noticed. When I talk to my students and ask how they are every day, I build confianza, but no one could have told me that when one student asks me about a bracelet, that they would keep that knowledge and let their light shine. I pray that my students are always watching and listening because for the faith of a child, the kingdom of heaven has been given.
Throughout my time in Chile, I will continue to build confianza and let my relationships grow. I will continue to use those passages I memorized as a child as encouragement. More importantly, I will let the Holy Spirit take root in the hearts of all. I know that you will be praying for me as I pray for those in the United States and around the globe. Let your light shine and use la confianza that you have with those around you to share the Gospel truth.
En Jesucristo nuestro Señor,
Arron M. Landgraff
In : Chile