After years of not including any mention to our faith but allowing our work to speak for itself, we have found that it is necessary to verbally explain our faith as we have done often to those involved in our efforts. If you feel as though you must assume this text to have a specific tone, read it with a confident, paitient, and sensitive tone.
It is important to clarify that Project Esperanza is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. Everything we have done has been in our efforts to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, and to take care of the orphans, widows, and strangers. Our programs that take on responsibility of child development, such as our grassroots schools and program for street boys are also Christian based with Bible study and devotions built into the curriculum. However, we are, as well, a community organization that seeks to include anyone and everyone wishing to serve with us (on the volunteer/employee end) or wishing to cooperate peacefully with us (on the beneficiary end). Therefore, other programs that do not give us the responsibility of the participating parties' childhood development such as our summer volunteer program are not necessarily Christian based and do not require participation in Bible studies or devotions. This is not to say that we don’t have rules or boundaries based on our faith – we do – we just know that a participant’s beliefs or religion can be complicated, sensitive, and sadly, dividing factors. Our primary method of sharing the Gospel is not going door to door but instead doing all that we can to love others as we love ourselves.
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have
love for one another” (John 13:35).
And we express our love through our actions: assessing needs, developing solutions to meet needs, and overcoming challenge after challenge to carry out the solutions.
“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).
In response to our actions, we have many opportunities to share our faith, since we are told to be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks us for a reason for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15).
And of course there are times when our faith is evident as it pours out of us. We don’t seek to hide our faith and are not ashamed of it but rather choose to represent Christ by expressing our love for God and for others, focusing on the service, setting an example, and sharing our faith gently, when invited to do so, not pressuring or imposing on anyone and not excluding anyone. As far as churches are concerned, we hope to partner with Christian churches of any denomination but are not interested in adopting any denomination. Project Esperanza is non-denominational, inter-denominational, and community based.
Not sure of who Christ is? We are certain that he is God in man form who came to the earth to show us how we should live. He introduced several concepts that were never before practiced. We conclude that everything beautiful and amazing we find in impactful spiritual leaders such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. was learned from him, whether they gave him full credit or not. He is the source. We are called to follow his example by living with sacrificial love.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters (1 John 3:16).
There is much more to be said about Christ, how one can follow him, the things that can hinder one from following him, misunderstandings about him, why he died the way he did, what his death means, and more. However, first and foremost we just wanted to recognize him as our leader.
Along with this recognition of Christ as our leader, we declare that if you love our work, you must also love Christ. We're not declaring that if you love our work and are involved then you must worship Christ or join a Christian church, but we believe that "every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit," (Matthew 7:17) If you enjoy the good fruit then you should also enjoy the good tree and have an opened mind about what makes it good. This is not meant to exclude anyone as, we repeat what was stated above, we are a community based organization, hoping to include anyone willing to work together.
We declare that the opposite is also true: if you love Christ, you must love our work, as it is led by him. If you disagree that our work or any aspect of it is led by Christ, feel free to send your concerns along with verses to back them up. If we find that there are reasons to your concerns, we will most definitely do what we can to change. Therefore, not all parts of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12) have the same sight as each other and there is value in such communication.