During the summer of 2016, Asbury United Methodist Church in Wichita was pleased to host two interns, Damaris Martinez and Brayan Martinez, from the Lydia Patterson Institute in El Paso, Texas.
Lydia Patterson Institute (LPI) is one of our successful educational institutions supported by the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church. LPI's goal is to provide quality bilingual, cross-cultural academic education by creating opportunities for students to develop skills to succeed and transform a changing world.
The idea of hosting the interns from LPI serving at Asbury came about after to a trip the Asbury pastors took to El Paso earlier this year.
“Pastors Aaron Wallace, Gordon McClure, and myself visited Lydia Patterson Institute in February this year and were moved by the incredible impact the school was having on students along the El Paso/Juarez border, “ said the Rev. Rick Just, Asbury senior pastor. “We felt it would be a great opportunity for both the students and the church to work alongside each other for the summer months.”
The benefits of having the interns here at Asbury were felt by both the church members and the students.
“It was our hope that each of us (here at Asbury) would benefit from the cross-culture nature of having them with us,” said Gordon McClure, Asbury executive pastor, “but primarily we wanted to expose the interns to the dynamics of daily ministry.”
Damaris, who is 17 years old, arrived at Asbury on June 3. Eighteen-year-old Brayan arrived just days later. Both interns are from Ciudad Juarez in Mexico.
From the beginning of their time in Wichita, Damaris and Brayan jumped right into the daily ministry and activities throughout the church. They did everything from preparing the sanctuary for Sunday worship to helping out at both Asbury ‘s central and west campuses' Vacation Bible Schools to helping with office work during the week. But, one job turned out to be the favorite of both interns.
“I loved working with kids and teenagers,” Brayan, said. “I loved making lessons for kids, but I also learned a lot from them! They are more open-minded. I have realized what I have lost. Sometimes, the kids are more mature than me.”
“Before coming to Asbury, I was serious about studying business,” she said. “Now after spending time with the kids and working with Tara and Patty, I want to get involved in the ministry of children.”
Their passion for ministry and especially ministry with kids and teens showed through to the pastors.
“Damaris and Brayan have meant so much to our youth group,” Kane McEntire, Asbury Central youth pastor. “They have stepped out of their own comfort zones and built personal, lasting, friendships with many of our youth. These friendships are inspiring our students to enjoy life and the reality of joy found in God.”
The reality of joy found in God was made clear during the interns’ trip to Colorado Springs and the Desperation Conference July 13-15. This annual event brings thousands of students together to worship, pray and pursue Jesus. It was the highlight of the summer for both interns.