"Zapatero a tus zapatos"


So what's a good translation for "Zapatero a tus zapatos?" We use the phrase often in Spanish. The literal translations is "A shoemaker should make shoes." A dynamic translation might be "Stick to what you know."

Last year, for my father's funeral, I spent some time with my brother Dubside, for whom I credit the following. He's spent a good deal of time with the Greenland folk, a very different culture, learning and teaching kayak rolling. As far as teaching in another culture he shared three points: 1) Are you an expert in the field? 2) Do you understand their context? and 3) Are they asking you for help?

I find those points very relevant to our work with the Quichua. Number one, we are discovering that you should stick to what you know. "Zapatero a tus zapatos." Faby and I have lots of experience and knowledge in teaching the Bible and working with churches. So that's what we do. We enjoy it and do it well. In the photos we are: 1) teaching the Bible FLET program in Sablog; 2) preparing Sunday school teachers in Cachisagua; and 3) again working with FLET in Cachisagua.

Do we understand their context? That's a continual process, but I think we have made great progress. Each time we hold a class or workshop, we are not only the teachers, but students as well, continually learning from them: how they think, how they live, what are their real needs.

As for the third point, we only go where we are invited. Thankfully, we have more invitations than we can handle. But still, we don't just visit a community because we want to go there. We wait until a friend or contact invites us to come and help them.

After years spent in the communities, we are discovering another of their needs: sources of income. The majority are looking for work in the cities, because small agriculture is no longer profitable. To stay in their communities, they need to produce and sell in a completely different way. Sadly, this is not our forte. "Zapateros a tus zapatos." But Luis Moya, who is part of our Foundation, works in this area. So we are looking to him to help in this area. We could use more like him.

Usually we interpret and apply "The harvest is plentiful" to winning souls for Christ. In our case I apply it to the great need the Quichuas have for learning how to survive in a new world. There is much to do to help them. We could use more help.