Thursday, July 04, 2013

Walking Through Open Doors

Reaching & Teaching is stronger today than we were just a few months ago. God has blessed us abundantly with new friends and ministry opportunities to reach and teach people throughout Latin America. Those of you who come by to read this blog from time to time know that I have been sporadic in posting. That is because I have been in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Belize, and Cuba this year training pastors, discipling believers, sharing the Gospel, and encouraging missionaries. In fact, I am back in Ecuador to train pastors right now and head back to Peru to do so after here.

I have been encouraged to encounter hungry hearts and eager ears in every place I have been. I love to see people learning to use their Bibles and gaining an understanding of what God wants His church to know and do. We heard testimonies like, “We realize now that we have been practicing a form of legalism that was pure tradition and not found in the Bible” and “It is like a blindfold has been removed from our eyes so that we can see clearly now.” Pastors in our classes in a town in the Dominican Republic near the Haitian border confessed that they had been badly confused in some key doctrinal areas. One young man just starting his ministry was so thankful because the teaching had opened his eyes to Bible truth. Cris Garrido will be leading a Reaching & Teaching team back there for the second week of teaching in October and he would love to have you on the team. It was a great blessing to make friends and train leaders in other church traditions. I believe it brings joy to the heart of God when we major on the things we should hold in common, investing what He has given us in those who are outside our little corners of the kingdom.

I wish you could have been with me to see all that God is doing in our Caribbean neighbor country 90 miles south of Miami. The people and churches there welcomed me and Reaching & Teaching with open arms. They are eager for our training. We are making plans to return to train leaders and I would love for you to join me. I could go on and on about the grip that island nation has on me, but all I can say here is, “come and see.” You will not come home the same.

After my return from there, Mary and I traveled to Costa Rica to lead Spiritual Emphasis week at the Spanish Language Institute where many missionaries heading to Latin America go for Spanish training. Leading Spiritual Emphasis week there is one of our favorite ministry activities since it allows us to minister together. We love getting to know the missionaries, hear their stories, share meals with them, and provide counsel. I so enjoy getting to preach the Bible in the chapel sessions and see the impact God’s Word has on His people. I got to preach one session in English and Spanish, providing my own translation (something I agreed to do before remembering that the language school teachers would be there listening to me!) They were all very gracious. The students encouraged Mary and me infinitely more than we possibly could have encouraged them. One of the students posted a blog about the week that really blessed my heart.

We are now in Ecuador visiting with my son and his family for a week. On Saturday I will fly to Quito to receive our largest Reaching & Teaching team ever. We will be training Highland Quichua pastors in our training center and also doing evangelism in two areas where there are no churches. I will go from there to be joined by another team to train pastors in two different Peruvian Amazon basin jungle locations. I will post about these trips soon.

God is blessing Reaching & Teaching with numerous invitations to come and train pastors and leaders all over the world. We currently are only able to respond to those in Central & South America and Caribbean. We are working in areas of urban sprawl, jungles, mountains, island countries, and rural communities. We are trying to hold off the invitations from the rest of the world for now, although it breaks our heart to do so. As resources grow, so will our positive response to the growing number of insistent invitations.

We want to lock arms with all believers everywhere to obey all of the Great Commission in all the world. Each one of us brings a unique calling, gift set, strength and passion area to the work of missions. I believe that God wants us all to work together to do what He has called us to do in the places where He has called us to do it. Reaching & Teaching is eager to partner with all who carry the Gospel as their banner and embrace the Great Commission as their marching orders. There is too much to do for any of us to go it alone. Come and join with us.

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