This is a story from Chris, a missionary in South America. He shares how he used the skills and training he learned through the Life Model to empower others to find joy and make a difference.
I have been involved with pastors and leaders in Latin America for over 30 years. I met Jim Wilder about 15 years ago in Mexico. A wonderfully rich friendship blossomed from that encounter.
This relationship went to a whole new level when Jim began to share some of the concepts related to the Life Model and, subsequently, introduced me to the process of rekindling joy in my life and the lives of those around me.
Since I have been greatly blessed in my interaction with Jim, including his willingness to walk with me through an extremely painful personal crisis, I have been eager to pass on to others what I have received.
Learning by Teaching
Experience has shown me that one good way to get your mind and heart around a new concept is to try your hand at teaching it to others.
Last year I was able to sit in on a course that Jim taught in Chile. It gave me a good feel for the way that Thought Rhyming and Immanuel Healing could be taught to the leaders with whom I have been working.
A golden opportunity presented itself in March of this year, when I was asked if I could teach a course on Spirituality and Transformation to a group of youth leaders in Buenos Aires. I immediately sensed that this was the moment I was looking for.
I began to work on putting together my notes, basing them on the many conversations I have shared with Jim, as well as much of the material he has so generously passed on to me.
My weekly presentations required me to spend much time listening to the Thrive lectures, practicing return-to-joy exercises and diligently working on my Immanuel journal entries. I could hardly contain the growing thrill all of this gave me.
Over the course of three months I shared the concepts with 25 students, all of them committed leaders in their own congregations. We worked to get away from the frustrations found in traditional attempts to bring about change in our lives.
Glad to be with you
We then moved to the place where we were finally able to understand why it is only in the context of “glad to be with you” relationships that real transformation happens.
For me, personally, it was incredibly rewarding to see faces light up as students began to see how everything fit together and saw biblical concepts in a whole new light.
In many of them I could sense a huge burden lifting from their shoulders. They felt God freeing them from the need to “work harder” at being good disciples.
By the end of the course I had the students excitedly trying their hand at becoming God´s poetry, completely sold out on the idea that this was what we were created to be!
My first significant experience in spreading joy has been more exciting than anything I have done for a long time. In some ways I feel that I have been searching for these truths all my life.
I know that there are thousands of desperately lonely pastors and leaders in Latin America who don´t live out of a heart of joy. We can help many of them get their relational circuits up and running again. What a wonderful privilege.
What a great opportunity to see the Kingdom really move forward in congregations and neighborhoods across the land!