I have just returned from spending a week in Lima, Peru, where it was my privilege to participate in a Pastors’ Conference, attended by pastors and leaders from various areas around the country. I always return from these meetings encouraged, and even more determined to do all that we can to help equip and enable these faithful men of God in their ministries.
I went at the invitation of Carlos Marquina, a Peruvian who has been used of the Lord to develop Mision Posible International, a ministry that trains and encourages pastors and leaders in churches across Latin America in the task of planting churches and developing a vision for missions. I first met Carlos many years ago when I translated for him at Grace Baptist Church in Newport, NC (Pastor Clyde Eborn) where we were both preaching in that church’s missions conference. The Lord seemed to knit our hearts together as we share a common vision and philosophy for the Lord’s work across the Americas.
Teaching sessions were held each morning. Pastor Bernabe Vega taught through the epistle of 1st Timothy each day, providing Biblical instruction, of course, but also an excellent model of Bible study, interpretation and presentation for those who attended. My focus was on the character of the men themselves as Pastors and leaders. I was also asked to give an overview of the historic development of fundamentalism and the challenges facing our movement today. There was an enthusiastic interest in the subject, and an eagerness for more material in the future.
Of course, I also presented the work of Global Baptists Schools and Seminario Bautista Panamericano, which offers the possibility of a structured Bible Institute program within the local church setting. Most of these men are graduates of fine Institutes in Peru, and many of them have been in the ministry for a number of years. In fact, the majority have been pastoring for more than 10 years. They recognize the importance of sound, Biblical training. One of them, Pastor Carlos Collantes of the Bethel Baptist Church of Arequippa, already has an SBP study center. It appears that four other churches in Peru will soon be starting as well!
Each night I was able to preach to the church at large, concluding the conference Friday night, then preaching to the church one final time on Sunday. This is a precious congregation, busily serving the Lord in a variety of ways in Lima.
I am thankful that I was able to participate in this meeting. I look forward to working with several of these men in the future as they develop SBP study centers. My prayer is that our ministry, both in that which was accomplished last week, and that which lies ahead in the next months and years, will be a help to those pastors and to their congregations. To those of you who gave specifically toward this project, I thank you. The trip simply would not have been possible otherwise. Thank you, too, to all who prayed during the week, and sent encouraging notes to remind me of your prayer support.
Enjoy these pictures from the trip. Click them to enlarge and read more.