Thursday, November 12, 2015

Pastors Conference ~ October 2015

20th Pastors Conference in Nayarit, Mexico
Thank you for praying for this last pastors conference here in Nayarit. God worked mightily in this conference to heal, encourage and build into the lives of each pastor, their spouse and into us. This very special group (pictured above) enjoyed an incredible week together, building relationships, being challenged by phenomenal teaching, worshipping without hindrance, and relaxing in this peaceful environment. Since the conference, we have heard about many pastors meeting together to talk about the material and to advance the women's recovery material that was presented for the first time at this conference. We were very thankful to have Don DeTar, Pastor Sam Paschall and Pastor Sam's oldest son, all from Mission Hills Church in San Marcos, CA, come to teach and help with the conference. Pastor Sam taught part of his spiritual formation course which was richly received by all the pastors. We hope this material, along with additional material that we are working on, will provide a solid foundation for pastors here who don't have access to theological education.

For over 2 years now, we have been reading, researching and editing a curriculum that we hope to make into a workbook to train churches in helping women recover from past abuse. This summer, Nancy, one of the team members from San Marcos, CA that served here in July, started working on material for us after she returned to the U.S. We are very grateful for her input, help, and continued partnership. For this conference, we invited Anayanzin Castillo to teach about sexual abuse of children. Anayanzin has extensive experience educating and ministering to people who have suffered from abuse, and we are looking forward to working together with her as we continue to develop this vital ministry. Despite being so close to the U.S., Mexico (as well as other Latin American countries) lacks most of the church resources (i.e.: Christian counselors, books, training for pastors) that are so readily accessible in the U.S. We were thrilled to see a number of women talking to Anayanzin long into the night after she spoke. There is also now a great desire for her to come teach at many churches here in the near future. The need is great, and we are very thankful for how God has supplied these additional contributors to our growing team.
Anayanzin presenting
On Tuesday night, we presented material from the Willow Creek Leadership Summit. Pastor David Hernandez challenged everyone during this workshop about how they could make their church "The Hope of the World". Bringing in these outside resources to pastors has been extremely useful in helping them to see with greater vision what God wants them to do in their community. We are very thankful that the Willow Creek Association allows us to use their materials to equip these pastors.
Video session "The local church is the hope of the world."
Leadership Workshop
David Hernandez leading the workshop
This new location for the conference proved to be very fruitful, in that we all stayed in 5 cabaƱas (cabins) all located within one property. This made the conference feel more unified and peaceful. Since we held the conference in a "low" season, there were no other disruptions which had often been problematic at previous conferences. All of the pastors seemed to soak up this serene atmosphere. As a result, we were very gratified to see more pastors taking a leadership role in the conference by leading worship, praying for other couples, and taking charge in the kitchen (as we had no paid cooks this conference). The greatest joy we have is seeing pastors taking ownership in the conference itself, as our goal for the future is for this ministry to be completely Mexican led and funded. With this group of 30 pastors, plus some 20 others who were not able to attend this time, we are excited for this next year of ministry.

All of this would not have been possible if it were not for YOU our partners! Many of you have been supporting us for more than 5 years now, and we are so very thankful for your sacrificial giving that has made all of this possible. As we said in a previous update, if you take all the pastors who have been received training and encouragement at the 25 conferences, since 2005, we've held in Mexico (over 1,000 pastors) and multiply that times the average church attendance (40-60), over 50,000 people have been impacted by your prayers and support. We are greatly humbled by this and amazingly thankful for your partnership.

The pastors conference in pictures . . .

Pastor Sam teaching
Augustin, Miguel & Jesus
Armando & Yanuaria
Juan Carlos & Luz
Hot dog dinner
Juan & Ricardo
Pool time
Goodbyes and a long 6 hour trip home in the back of a truck.

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