We have just returned from Arequipa. We were in a Pastor’s conference. There were national pastors and missionaries from Argentina, Peru, Chile, Bolivia. Ecuador, and a group from the United States. I received so much from this week! The keynote speaker is the man who came down to Arequipa in 1989 as a missionary. He started churches and trained men to start dozens and dozens of churches. I watched this man love on these Pastors with a fatherly love. There were many things covered. He spoke to the churches about taking care of their pastors. He spoke to the pastors about training strong men to be deacons in he church. He spoke to the pastors about training young men and starting new churches. My heart was stirred by all this, but all of this wasn’t the best part for me.
I had the opportunity to be with many friends who are serving Jesus in different countries. We talked, ate, laughed, recalled times in the past. I truly have some of the best friends in the world, I love them all very much! I am so blessed and challenged by each of them! Some of them I will probably not see again for many, many years because of the way our furloughs will work out. I won’t see any of them for at least a year. My wife and I said good bye to them all of them on Sunday night. This was such a great part of our time there, but it wasn’t the best part for me either.
I was with a few teenagers that I have known for many years. These are friends who desire greatly to serve the Lord and are looking at where they are now and how they are going to take the next steps in serving Jesus. I hope I was an encouragement to them. We talked about the future and options they have. We talked about what they can be doing now. I am very excited about each of them. This was very special to me. As we said our goodbyes, we were “bear-hugged”, and I wondered when I would see them again. Can it get better than this? It can, and it did.
For me, the highlight of this week was spending time with my mentor. Brother Gardner challenged me in many ways this week. I asked him many questions and he patiently worked through each of them with me. We spent hours together, along with others, talking about where we are, where I am personally, and what to do next. We worked out a step by step plan for the coming weeks and months. He explained to me that I am much further ahead than I thought, and while I still have a long way to go, we are at the point to start working toward starting the first church. There are many preliminaries that must be worked through before we launch, and it will take months to accomplish all of this (all the while growing in the language). All of this and more was covered in our time together.
There is a great work to be done for Jesus, and we are thrilled to be a part of it! We are praying even now for God to give us young men to lead to salvation and to train as warriors to send out to conquer the world in the power and name of Jesus! Would you please pray this way with us?