Saturday, July 28, 2007
A short term mission team from McEachern UMC just returned from Punto Fijo, VZ Our week there was focused on ministry to the children in the community, both church members and others in the nearby community. We were able to try something new, an "Upward" styled sports camp each morning. Our presence alone drew many curious children to see what was going on. They joined in the fun playing ultimate frisbee, soccer, American football, and many other games. They even taught us a few of their games. We held VBS each afternoon. The kids did crafts, each with a lesson about Jesus or the Cross. Of course, we had worship service each evening and managed to make some "building improvements" in our spare time.
It was a wonderful experience for everyone, including a guest on our team from Iglesia Metodista de Mayaguez, another of our partner churches in Puerto Rico. We were also able to participate in our own worship service at McEachern on Sunday morning courtesy of a video Skype call and some wi-fi technology.
Unfortunately, Pastor Juvenal was in the hospital the entire time. He had an acute infection in his right leg above the ankle. We were able to visit with him the afternoon we arrived. We anointed him and others in his room with oil and prayed over each. Praise God, Juvenal is now home, recuperating with his family and doing much better.
In just a short visit, the Spirit of God can be seen moving in this humble church. They have a faithful congregation and devoted leadership. We long to see them grow in their faith and understanding of the Gospel, and to continue to be a beacon of hope to the community.
You can read more about our trip on our blog site, http://mceachernmissions.blogspot.com
Friday, July 13, 2007
Asuncion International Conference Update
12 July 2007.
Dear Carlos ,
Greetings in Christ's name. It is a joy for me to write you directly from Asuncion, Paraguay. God has blessed with a venue that gives us internet access, so I will be able to send regular updates from the international conference. Please expect to hear from me every few days, as the busy schedule of leading this historic event permits me.
A Warm Start in Cold Weather
The first ILI international conference in Spanish began two days ago with the ILI vision session taught by Dr. Wes Griffin. The group was enthusiastic and seemed to catch the vision through the translation into Spanish.
Though the weather was cold and humid, there was nothing cold about the presence of God or the enthusiasm of the leaders. The weather here in Paraguay "threw a curve" at all of us. Just a couple days ago it was a pleasant 25 degrees celsius, but as our participants began arriving Asuncion, temperatures plunged to about 8 degrees and the pouring rain and cold winds made it feel even colder. It was a surprise for some of our leaders coming from the tropical nations like Colombia and Venezuela who are having a hard time coping with the cold nights.
The temperatures are begining to warm up, but the spiritual climate in the conference room is much higher than that, as you can see by the picture of participant Walter Omar Villagra from Paraguay. Leaders came from nations ranging from Mexico to Argentina. They represent a wide range of denominations. Some are local pastors with great potential to train people locally and nationally, while others are national church leaders with hundreds of thousands of people under their leadership. Some are young and others are older and seasoned men and women of God.
In the first day of the conferece Joy Griffin brought God's challenge to go deep as she taught the first session on Intimacy with God. She reminded all of us again of the need to slow down and let our relationship with God to be priority in our lives. As usual, her teaching was very well received by all. She brought a strong bible study on the real meaning of knowing God. I was translating her and felt God convicting me of often focusing more on knowing about God than knowing Him in an intimate sense.
One of the groups in the final workshop of the session shared their insight about how to deepen their relationship with God. Their words were "We must quit allowing our schedule to be in control of our lives and begin to take control of our schedule."
May that be our prayer even as we continue to serve God faithfully in our ministries around the world.
Today we kicked off the first History Makers Conference right here at the same venue. Please pray for both groups as we go throught he core values of Intimacy, Passion and Vision in the next days. Ask God to bring us closer to God, to break our heart anew for the lost and to begin looking at what means to be a visionary leader for Christ in the world today.May God continue to bless you, I will be back in a couple days.
Norival TrindadeVice President for TrainingInternational Leadership Institute