Saturday, August 30, 2014

Connecting the Dots

"Where are we now? Where do we want to go? How do we get there?" These are the kinds of questions Fernando and the Garífuna seminary leadership team addressed this past week during strategic planning meetings. Several years ago, the Lord gave Fernando the vision to see Garífuna pastors and leaders receive ministry training, many for the first time, and He has faithfully met needs with his perfect and faithful provision.

For example, there was a great need for training materials and curriculum pastors could study and then teach in their own churches. God provided a link to BILD International, which offers materials for grassroots local church ministry all the way to college-level degrees. Fernando also needed others to help, and God has brought together a team of Garífuna leaders committed to the vision. God has also provided people with experience in theological training to help with teaching and planning.

One of these people is Pastor Al, who has used years of experience in the business world to help people like the Garífuna leadership team make strategic plans for implementing BILD. We met him on a ministry trip to Minnesota last year and were impressed with his kindness and heart for pastors around the world. Since then, Al and Fernando have worked together via Skype and email, and Fernando has in turn met with the other leaders. This week, Al came to Honduras to meet with them, and they addressed important questions and ideas for how to more effectively continue theological training and reach more pastors, who, in turn, can reach more Garífuna people with the gospel.

We praise God for how He has "connected the dots," providing connections to materials, resources, and -- most importantly -- people to carry out the work He has called us to. In the midst of great needs and unknowns, He is faithful. We also thank God for providing you, our partners who have joined with us in this challenge, and please pray for the Lord to give continual strength, clarity, and unity to this team as they take what they learned and apply it to their work.

Left to right: Pastor Jose, who trains people from churches in his home community and helps teach a new group of pastors (you maybe remember from this video); Pastor Eduardo, who leads a Garífuna congregation in La Ceiba; Elvis, who has assisted Fernando, especially while we were on furlough last year; Fernando; and Deiby, who recently joined the team by helping with administration and logistics for training events.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Praise Update

Thank you for your prayers for last week's Bible school classes with a new pastor training group! This time even more participants were able to join the group, and they were very encouraged with what they learned in classes and fellowship. The morning sessions were led by a very experienced pastor and seminary professor from Oregon; he taught about leadership. In the afternoon, a Garífuna pastor, who serves in Houston, led discussions based on students' questions and comments about the practical implications of what had been covered in the morning. We thank the Lord for how He worked in everyone's lives throughout the week and for all who served in various ways to bring the details together. Here are some pictures:

Thank you also for praying for Fernando's family, as two of his relatives were sick in the hospital. Both are doing better and have been able to continue recovering at home. It is always encouraging to share prayer needs and know you all are lifting them up. Thank you!

Fernando is preparing to meet with a pastor with extensive experience in strategic planning in the business world, as well as teaching BILD discipleship classes in a local church setting. Pray for this time to be fruitful and Spirit-led and that, ultimately, the seminary can even more effectively train pastors and leaders to reach and disciple more Garífuna people in the good news of Jesus.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Your Prayers, Please!

Hello, friends and prayer partners. I wanted to share a few prayer needs you can be lifting up in the next few days.

Next week a group of pastors and leaders will come together for classes. The morning sessions will be taught by a man visiting from Oregon, and the afternoon sessions by a Garífuna pastor who lives and serves in Houston, Texas. Here are some specific ways you can pray (in addition to however the Lord leads you):
  • Pray for Elvis, one of the main seminary leaders, as he communicates with the participants, who will be coming from many different Garífuna communities.
  • Pray for safe travels, good health, and God-prepared hearts for the students and leaders.
  • Pray for Deiby, who is responsable for the administrative details (meals, lodging, etc.).
  • Pray for Fernando as he coordinates the training and translates for the English-speaking teacher.

Also, two of Fernando's relatives have been ill and are in a hospital in La Ceiba. Some of you may understand how difficult medical situations can be here. If you think of it, please pray for continued recovery, for strength for the family, and especially for Fernando during this busy time. Thank you!

On a happy note, Baby is J is six months old! We are having lots of fun watching his little personality come out!