Application and Preparation for Long-term Commitment
Definition: Long-term commitment is considered to be any commitment for longer than 12 consecutive months.
The process for selection and preparation for long-term commitment service at Loma de Luz requires many steps. Among them are the following:
1.) Calling: “Make your calling and election certain.” In this case, your specific calling must be to serve the Lord at this place with these people in this ministry. There is no reason that will sustain you through the trials of preparation and of everyday life on the field, other than a sure knowledge that as best you can determine, this is what your Master wants you to be doing.
2.) A need for your skills, which is recognized on the field as fitting into the overall work. This requirement will be discussed and determined by correspondence ahead of time. The pre-commitment exploratory correspondence is generally carried out between the interested candidate and the Volunteer Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org), some correspondence with Dr. McKenney (email@example.com), and often your point of contact or missionary on the field known to you.
4.) An interview on the field is generally required. This means that once you have determined that the Lord would have you serve long-term at Loma de Luz, then begin the correspondence to arrange a trip of roughly one week’s duration to Loma de Luz. You may have been there before, but that would be different than being there with the eyes and the potential commitment for long-term service. This trip generally requires at least 5 days. It will allow you to visit the entire work, pray and ask questions, for us to get to know you and you to get to know us. If such a trip is not possible for sufficient reasons, we can work out something else. But, it is generally agreed to be a pivotal time well-spent.
5.) A Sending Organization: A body of believers from your country of origin that is called and equipped to deploy you and support you. It usually has a missionary-sending program, and it is designed to train you and prepare you for overseas service. It most commonly also has the facilities to receive and distribute your support funds, provide you with health insurance, support you in times of crisis, help you with communication, and generally uplift you in prayer and assistance as your state-side organization. It can be an individual church or a para-church organization. The specifics of this relationship will be worked out through your pre-commitment correspondence, and your exploratory trip/interview on the field. Loma de Luz is a rare trans-denominational, multi-sending agency work. We generally have about a dozen sending agencies represented on the field.
6.) A budget and funds: Domestic issues such as funding, timing, newsletters, medical insurance, etc., are usually discussed with your own particular sending agency & generally would probably be more demanding than the minimum recommended by APAH/Loma de Luz, but as far as we are concerned, you should not come to the field on a long-term commitment unless you have at least a round trip ticket to your home of origin, and at least 3 months living expenses in hand.
7.) Language acquisition: Prior to beginning a long-term commitment at Loma de Luz you should speak, read and write Spanish at least well enough to function in your area of service and to communicate sufficiently in the greater community. The general tendency of missionaries is to want to get started before they have a sufficient framework to become fluent with ongoing study and practice. This typically takes a monolingual adult 1 year of organized and disciplined immersion language study. There are a number of good language schools and settings that we can recommend, but they all require immersion, dedication, and time. (insert here to edit) Language fluency is a non-negotiable requirement. We recommend strongly that you take it. It will prove invaluable.
8.) Miscellaneous: Any and all of the above, plus day-to-day important logistical issues, from getting groceries, to buying a car, to housing, to schooling for children, to visas and residency will each be addresses as appropriate. It would be helpful to make a list of questions and concerns and begin discussing them in correspondence and particularly in your initial visit to the field.