Allow me to introduce you to our Learning Technologies team here in Costa Rica.
MAF-Learning Technologies has been working in Costa Rica in some form or another since 2004. We became officially registered as an organizational entity in Costa Rica in 2009, and the current members of the team have been together for well over a year. We've partnered with over 30 organizations offering education and biblical training to both mainstream church leaders and peripheral leaders who are discipling people tucked away in some of the most remote parts of the country. Our team has supported projects in 16 different countries, mainly in the Spanish-speaking Americas.
Our team is made up of a diverse cross section of nationalities, families, and individuals. For example, you've got me, who grew up part of my life in Haiti and part in the U.S., and have lived in Costa Rica since 2008. Mauricio is originally from Colombia, but met his wife Rosalia in Venezuela and lived there long enough to get dual citizenship. Tatiana is originally from Colombia as well, Mauren is a lifelong Costa Rican (but she spent six months recently as a missionary in Spain), Marc is from Switzerland, Tony is a fourth-generation Mexican-American (still loves spicy jalapeños and can roll his r's, but never lived in Mexico), and Laura is a nationalized Cuban-American. Those aren't the only nationalities that have passed through our team—we've also had Nicaraguans help out and a Chinese-Costa Rican. Really, it's pretty much a miracle we're able to get along at all and coordinate on anything.
But it isn't so much a miracle. Our vision to see isolated and marginalized church leaders better trained is a common goal that holds us together. Plus, we all come to the table with similar skill-sets, each specialized in a particular area that allows us to coordinate as a team and come out with products that are better than if we'd worked on them alone. Rosalia and Tony are specialists in instructional design, Mauricio and I have the gift of being able to get nearly any technological gadget or learning platform to work, Tatiana and Laura specialize in oral learning strategies, and without Mauren's administrative skills the entire operation would come completely unraveled. It's a beautiful mosaic of people specializing in what they love to do and going the extra mile in getting it cross-checked by other professionals on the team and coordinating to come out with a better service for the educators and leaders we work with.
Pretty much everyone on the team has had a hand in contributing in some way to the training workshops we've been conducting for a select group of pastors in one of the countries in Latin America where we’ve served for the past year. Our team has helped train over 125 church leaders in curriculum mapping and instructional design, important strategic tools for making sure that their congregation members are learning more than just facts and figures, and ways of implementing and living out biblical knowledge. We've helped distribute digital resources and special technological devices for sharing biblical training materials on traditional computers and more modern portable devices. Working closely with other partners and local churches, we've put our talents together to equip and instruct leaders in five workshops and have helped distribute at least 1,350 digital resources.
If it were easy, it wouldn't be as interesting. If we weren't convinced of the impact it's having, it would quickly become routine and discouraging. But what makes it worth it is continually seeing ways God is using dedicated leaders who long to become equipped to meet their communities where the needs are, and getting excited about seeing how new technologies make connections between church leaders who are separated by distance and culture.