Mike and Brooke Harwood and their three sons ages 6, 4 and 16 months will soon be joining MAF’s Tech Resources Team in San Jose, Costa Rica. Joining the Costa Rica team represents a big step culturally for this Montana family ranch man and his Ohio born and raised wife who met while attending Montana Bible College.
Something big is about to happen at MAF. Learning Technologies (LT) and Information Technology (IT) are merging to create one joint technical resource ministry team. After almost 70 years of offering technology solutions, MAF is continuing to strengthen ministry impact by merging these crafts in order to serve unengaged and isolated communities around the world.
Last year I covered a unique training workshop in Shell, Ecuador (PLM - Training the Way We Learn). I typed notes (love my iPad), took pictures (love my Nikon), and recorded interviews (love my iPhone). For a week I watched, listened and analyzed. The PLM (Participatory Learning Method) workshop impressed me as fun, practical and effective. After returning to the US I presented my report, then moved on to the next project, observing someone else grapple with the reality of bringing light into a grundgy world.
ESEPA Seminary is a Latin America Mission evangelical Bible college and seminary located in San Sebastian, Costa Rica, a suburb of San Jose that for the last three decades has provided quality ministry education designed to equip graduates for pastoral and missionary service. In March 2014, ESEPA’s Director, Sadrac Meza, invited Laura Macias and Tatiana Noriega from the MAF-LT Costa Rica team to present a 3-day inductive Bible storytelling workshop in Spanish for his seminary students and local church leaders. Two days prior to the workshop’s registration, Sadrac encouraged Laura and Tatiana to promote the workshop by presenting a Bible story to 15 local pastors. As a result, five of those pastors registered for the workshop.
La Cuenca means “The river basin or watershed." It is also the name of a slum that was built over a very small creek of dirty water. For years, the government had tried to force the community to vacate without offering them an alternative residence. The people did their best to stay and have remained there for several years, though struggling with poverty, health issues, and abuse. La Cuenca is the location where MAF has begun teaching basic computing classes.
Allow me to introduce you to our Learning Technologies team here in Costa Rica.
MAF-Learning Technologies has been working in Costa Rica in some form or another since 2004. We became officially registered as an organizational entity in Costa Rica in 2009, and the current members of the team have been together for well over a year. We've partnered with over 30 organizations offering education and biblical training to both mainstream church leaders and peripheral leaders who are discipling people tucked away in some of the most remote parts of the country. Our team has supported projects in 16 different countries, mainly in the Spanish-speaking Americas.
Part of MAF-LT’s ministry work in Costa Rica is assisting with Learning Centers. You may be wondering, What exactly is a Learning Center?
Our teammate Brendan explains that “in poor or isolated places, many people do not have their own personal computer or Internet connection; so they need somewhere that they can use computers for research, communication, or printing.” In his words, “Learning centers are community connectivity centers where people can come use computers and/or the Internet.”
Regina Manley and Laura Macias conducted an Oral Strategies Workshop in the Costa Rican jungle town of Laurel, Costa Rica. The Latino church in Laurel hosted the indigenous attendees, many of whom traveled long distances on foot to participate.
The local church leaders display extraordinary commitment to the ministry. They also demonstrate surprisingly clever use of the limited technology available.