Briarwood materials help train Colombia pastors
Beginning of new training Module for Children’s teachers in Valencia:
After completing our third module of training in Monteria in September, we have begun a new series of training with new children’s teachers from nine churches in the town of Valencia. We are beginning a process where we invite students from previous training to participate in teaching with us which gives opportunity for valuable feedback.
Also, please continue to pray for me (Gary) as I continue to develop my Spanish skills while expanding our material. Much of what we gained through From Embers to a Flame and the book Leadership Dynamics by Harry Reeder are proving to be very applicable not only to the teacher training process but also helping us to connect and support the Pastors in a practical way.
Here, Claudia, one of the teachers who completed our training in Monteria, had her first opportunity to teach.
She was very prepared and communicated well the need and means to reach their children for Christ. We are thankful to see the Lord beginning to multiply our efforts with the churches here. The Pastor in Valencia who acts as Coordinator for the churches told us “this will be the beginning of our pastoral care of children’s ministry for our churches.”
If these walls could talk:
Valencia once served as a base for missionary work in the northwest coast of Colombia. Here is one of the houses the missionaries built more than 70 years ago (before the war with leftist guerilla groups broke out).
The house is part of a farm which is still being used as a base for ministry with the NW Presbytery churches. One house is used for training of pastors through their Bible Institute and the income from the farm is helping to support the salary of the Pastor. He told us the church was very blessed to still own the farm. Many similar properties in the area have been stolen by illegal groups.
He related to us that the missionaries once had an airfield on the farm and drug traffickers eventually moved in and took control. One day a plane loaded with traffickers crashed on takeoff and they were all killed. The missionaries since then have left the farm (early 90s) and understandably, the maintenance of the airstrip was abandoned, and is now planted with fruit trees.
Today, without the support from the churches in the US and not enough income from the farm, they lack resources for much needed repair. Pastor Argemiro´s prayer is to incorporate the Bible Institute into a ministry of spiritual retreats for churches. He is also working on plans to provide needed work for families on the farm and hopefully improve production. Problem is, he is a pastor and not a farmer and running the farm takes a lot of time and energy.
In Monteria we were blessed to share during a spiritual retreat with a small group of Colombian leaders and missionaries. We were very happy to get to know and be encouraged by five young people who have a deep desire for God.
As we continue to work in the department of Cordoba, we praise God for leading us to these future leaders in the church and pray He will continue leading us to minister to them.
We continue to meet on Mondays with the Missions youth group. Gary is collaborating with Luis leading the Discover Bible studies. Luis is in the process of applying to study in a seminar in the US. He will need a scholarship to attend and in the meantime, he is looking for work here.
He and Karen (second to left of Luis) are planning on being married sometime this coming Spring. We were very happy that Lily, Daniela, Patricia and their father Jairo were all Baptized this last Sunday at our churches Christmas service which was held on a nearby farm.
Here, Jackie is teaching in the Seminary in Medellin “Women who transform through God´s Word”. We are very thankful to God for the open door in the Seminary and opportunity to encourage women leaders in their ministries to seek God, study and live in His Word as they prepared to teach and mentor other women.
Pastors Jim Maples and Jay Haley from Pleasant Gove Presbyterian church were here with us last week. Pastor Jay taught for one week in a reformed seminary near Medellin where pastors are trained to serve as missionaries while Pastor Maples taught in our local church and visited with us to better know our local ministry context.
We are very thankful to Pastor Maples, Pastor Haley and Pleasant Grove Presbyterian church and their effort to support the churches here in Colombia. We are finding that these types of visits can do much to support efforts to build and encourage the churches here. God Bless you and Thank you!