During the month of July, a group of eleven students from the CETI-BGU master’s in Transformational Leadership had their first face-to-face meeting in Medellín, Colombia. The students came from different Latin American countries such as Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, and Mexico. Each student arrived with eagerness to learn about the theology of integral mission and its implications for leadership in the Latin American context. Everyone’s enthusiasm for seeing and getting to know each other was evident. We set the table to prepare an atmosphere of unity, community, and experiential learning.
They gifted us with their different faith traditions, cultures, and thoughts. During our time together, the group traveled by local public transportation to visit a community called Vereda Granizal to learn from the leaders working in transforming the challenging realities of their context. We had an adventure riding on the Transmilenio (metro), the metro cable, and a local bus line with the purpose of experiencing the city in an incarnational way. The projects, organizations, and leaders the students and facilitators got to learn from were based on a theology of integral mission and were done in collaboration with members of the community and a local church called Comunidad Cristiana Shalom. During our first stop in the community, we had the opportunity to learn about a project called Gente con futuro (People with a future), a community feeding program that provides 200 lunches a day for the elderly and the children in the community. The second project we visited was Community Transformation for Peace. We learned from a group of young people who run a local soccer league, in which most of the team is made up of girls who promote Christian values in a creative way. The presence of the Holy Spirit moved our hearts and minds as the leaders and members of the community became our professors.
We also participated in the Cathy and Rene Padilla Lecture, in which one of our Colombian students, Laura Casasbuenas, played a leading role on a panel discussion. The lecture was designed and promoted by CETI Continental with the participation of other organizations who joined in a communal learning experience.
On the final day, the role of our students at the event was not only limited to the academic, as was the case with Giovanny Gómez, who presented in the workshop space on peacebuilding and integral mission projects in Colombia. The students also participated in leading worship. Brandon Molina (El Salvador) and Mónica Treviño (Mexico) led communal worship during one of the plenary sessions.
On the last day, we visited a local church, Iglesia Cristiana Shalom, a faith community that practices integral mission.
The CETI-BGU partnership students and professors created a learning community in which a diversity of voices was welcomed. We learned from the city of Medellín, its leaders, and the people from the communities we visited.
CETI Academic Dean
Link to the MATL Spanish Program could be found HERE.
Video about the immersion: