We trust you are doing well in spite of a the weather. From all accounts it has been a long and cold winter. We almost, in all honestly, feel sorry that we enjoy such glorious days here. We have settled into life here in Guadalajara and have begun to feel at home.
Some of you asked us before we left if we needed support, and if there was a way you could help. While we don’t want any of you to feel obligated, we do have an opportunity available whereby you could help us reach our target group. The project is called:
Allow me to explain a little bit better. One of the challenges of doing urban middle-class church planting is finding areas where one can connect and begin to build relationships within this group. We have found that one of the things that seems to be a high priority among the middle class in Guadalajara is physical fitness. We believe that joining a fitness club, and participating in fitness classes, such as Aerobics, Pilates, Cycling, etc. will give us informal opportunities to get to know people and to build those connections. Joining an aerobics class affords the opportunity to get to know 15 other people in the class, that you wouldn’t get to know otherwise.
We have looked into various options, like Country Clubs where our neighbours have memberships. This was just too far out of reach. The fitness club idea seemed to be a possibility and so we began to investigate. Although expensive, comparing with what people at home pay, it is still the most reasonable. The Club that we investigated has several pluses for us: it is close to our place, has good hours of operation, has lots of members within our target group and has a variety of options for group interaction.
This Project is a pilot project, meaning that it is something we want to use to try to make connections. Diane has been able to get into the group of ladies that meets regularly in our gated community. Ernie has the bigger challenge, as the men work long hours, often leaving at 7 a.m. and returning at 8 p.m. However, many men go to the gym during their lunch. When I say pilot project, I mean that we are prepared to discontinue it after a year if it doesn’t produce the desired results. We will also be giving our partners regular updates.
Here are the ’nuts and bolts’ of the project. The initial membership fee is just under $500 (lifetime) plus the monthly maintenance fees of just under $240 a month. Although we feel we could manage the initial membership fee we can’t afford the monthly fees without help. The EMC Board of Missions has given approval to our finding supporters who would be able to help us cover these monthly fees. Any monies donated to “Ernie & Diane Koop Personal Ministry Funds” via the Evangelical Mennonite Conference office can be receipted and can be used for this purpose.
The EMC office is located at: 440 Main Street, Steinbach, Manitoba R5G 1Z5 and they can be reached at: 204-326-6401 (www.emconference.ca)
Ernie & Diane