For example, after finishing the Equip training this summer I am now focusing on reaching 1st-2nd generation Dominican migrants living in 3 key closely-connected neighborhoods. How do I build relationships to share my faith in those neighborhoods? Research- both online and in those neighborhoods. What’s happening from day to day? Are there any special events? Where do people go to relax or hang out? What time? Where do people eat? What do members of the community do to build relationships? What do the communities care about? What needs are there in the community?
My Facebook newsfeed is currently around 50% posts from pages I’m following about general Dominican culture and community events and news within those key neighborhoods. I am constantly Googling various terms and areas to find out about events, business, or subgroups within these neighborhoods to get involved in. I’ve walked miles throughout these communities noting every business with the potential for networks and long conversations with staff or customers based on its physical set-up or staff interactions. I’ve talked to locals and discussed what needs they notice in the community. I’ve watched how people in these communities tend to start, build, and continue relationships. And I did my best to get creative and think about how my hobbies and skills could make my inroads as natural as possible.
After sifting through the piles of notes and countless stars on Google Maps, I developed a couple pages of inroad ideas into those neighborhoods and prioritized them based on how effective they may be. Currently, I’m in beginning stages of trying out those top inroads. One example is an all-women’s gym I discovered where everyone there is Latina and classes are taught in Spanish. I also found a donation-only bilingual yoga class at a neighborhood studio created by a Dominican woman who wanted to bring her people the opportunity to share in her passion. I love these two inroads because they’re so natural for me to do and get me into a place for authentic relationships.
I quickly learned that many need help with English or English tutoring/homework help for their children. So, I am offering this help as I am experienced and enjoy this type of work and recognize it is meeting a need and helping me establish credibility. Other inroads I am currently utilizing include getting Spanish lessons from locals, visiting carefully-chosen cafes where it is easy to talk to waitresses or customers, volunteering at the local library, and mentoring at a program for Latino youth. Will you pray that these inroads are fruitful and flourish with contacts interested in learning more about the love of God?