By Sarah Agee, Icthus Communication Associate
For those of you who've known Don Weisbrod for a long time, it may not surprise you to hear what I discovered after spending a weekend with him at the Icthus Guides Training in Rosarito, Mexico.
Don loves young people! Don believes with all his heart that the church must do more to reach out to young people. Don is willing to give everything he has, and then some, to make this vision come true.
I've worked with Don for the past 8 months in the Icthus office, and over and over I've seen Don's dogged determination to move forward the cause of Icthus, no matter what. He's not afraid to get his hands dirty: whether it means folding newsletters, printing invitations, making phone calls or whatever needs to be done, Don is willing. But this weekend was the first time I witnessed Don doing what he loves most: empowering, motivating and training Icthus guides to guide young people with the same passion that has kept him going all these years.
From the time we set out for the camp ground in Rosarito, Mexico, I noticed Don's joy and determination. The first obstacle we encountered was that the caravan of cars driving from Tijuana to Rosarito got separated, and the people in Don's car didn't know the way. Nonetheless, this was not a set-back: they simply kept asking for directions and finally found their way to the campground, arriving before some of the rest of us! This little adventure put us behind schedule, but did not dampen Don's enthusiasm and excitement over what we were there to do.
After arriving we found out that the conference room where we were supposed to meet was not available, and the small room where Don and David were supposed to stay was in worse condition than a tent. Though it was dark, and we had no good place to meet nor sleep, Don was not flustered or frustrated. He happily made do with a borrowed tent, and enjoyed the company of the Icthus guides that evening.
The next day Don and David found a small shelter with a half a room made of corrugated tin and half made of thatch. By strapping up a tarp to one side, this small shelter became our conference room. Never mind the uneven dirt floor, Don and David set up their equipment and put on an excellent workshop, complete with outdoor and indoor activities which helped us all think through the dynamics of our own leadership.
So what was it that impressed me so much about Don? Watching an older man from Los Angeles get down on the ground to thread his tent poles through the tent flaps is not something you get to see every day! But besides his love of camping and his joy and flexibility, I was impressed by Don's leadership. He's not the kind of leader that wants to do everything himself. Proof of this fact are the many national, regional and local directors of Icthus across Latin America. Don is constantly encouraging people to think big, and to think outside the box.
During one of the activities in the Lead Like Jesus workshop the guides were challenged to describe their ideal world. Don shared that in his ideal world every church in Baja California would be doing more for young people, using Icthus or a similar program to attend to the deepest needs of families. He challenged the guides that for this to happen every one of them would have to stand up as a leader, moving beyond being a worker-leader to a master-leader and promoter of Icthus, utilizing their entire network of relationships.
Don's vision for Icthus is clear. Icthus is a program to empower the church for its true mission of guiding young people and their families. It is not for just one church or denomination, but for the whole church. It is not for individuals or governments or schools, but for the church, whose job it is to disciple and accompany young people and their parents as they learn the fullness of God's will for their lives. This is the vision that Don has given his life to accomplish, and through your help it is coming true in small pockets across Latin America. The success of the vision depends largely on God continuing to raise up visionary leaders like Don, who will not be afraid to get their hands dirty, and continue this ministry for many years to come.
TO SEE MORE PICTURES OF ROSARITO TRAINING CLICK HERE.
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