Part 5: In the Marketplace
By: Kristen
Photos: Connie Rock

One fun element of traveling overseas is being immersed in a new culture and discovering the unique world of your temporary home. AIM trips are really intentional about making sure that we follow the model God set forth at Creation: that we work hard during the week but take time to rest as well. Sundays are usually reserved for ministry and are often the busiest days of the week.

Our “play” day on this trip fell on Friday, when our team took a boat to Panajachel, a local village with a big market. We spent the day walking in the sunshine, laughing with friends, and buying souvenirs. It was a beautiful day, full of fun and lots of memories.
The truth is that if you’re a Christian, you never really have a day off. The same is true if you’re a missionary. We need to always be ready to speak about our faith, always ready to minister to those who need Christ.
Our participants were sent out with four instructions: have fun, to stay in their groups, be on time when we’re supposed to leave, and to find at least one person to share the “Cinco Pasos” gospel tract with while in the marketplace. The “Cinco Pasos” tract is an incredible tool that has been used for over thirty years to successfully share the gospel with those who don’t know him. It’s written in Spanish and is unparalleled by those written in English. A career missionary, Gary Lengkeek (Connie’s father), sat down with the team one morning, read it with us, and explained how to use it. So when the team learned about the challenge, they were excited.
Throughout the day, walking through the market, you could see groups of girls moving from booth to booth. They bartered and haggled for great deals, laughed and exclaimed over items that they loved. They had a great time. But they did more than just shop. They took the time to go deeper with those they were interacting with. Some of the vendors read the “Cinco Pasos” with our girls; some children did as well. In one restaurant, five children gathered around a missionary as she clearly read the gospel to them in Spanish and asked if they believed in Jesus Cristo. 
It’s fun to get a great deal on a souvenir and even more fun to hang out with friends. It’s great to have an off day. But the most fun of all is being ready-in season and in out-to share the gospel. Even the simplest task, like going to the market, washing clothes by the river, or walking to a meal becomes a ministry opportunity when we become aware of those around us. When we are able to see them with Christ’s eyes and not just focus on our next task, when we are able to live our faith instead of just talking about it. And that’s what ministry is all about.