Let me share with you news from the past week. I will begin at the end and work backwards. Donnie Bates and I were able to attend the third annual ITL Lectureship in Guatemala. We arrived Thursday for the ITL Presidential Banquet, held before the lectureship. Hawatthia Jones and Byron Benitez have done an outstanding job of working with the church in Guatemala and establishing a school to prepare leaders within the churches of Central America.
The Alpha class of ITL graduated last year at this time. A team from these graduates established a congregation in San Cristobal and they have already seen growth in the work within the first year.
This year we were able to meet the new students of the Beta class. The picture to the left shows Byron Benitez pinning the traditional fish hook on the collar of one of the students in the Beta class, given after the students finish their first year. We also met the students enrolled in the Saturday program. The Saturday program operates each Saturday to provide 24 classes over three years with instruction and training to help strengthen Christians within the local congregations in Guatemala City.
The focus of the past weekend involved the ITL Lectureship. The theme of the lectureship was Escudriñando Bien Los Escrituras - “Searching the Scriptures Well.” Speakers from Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Texas, Oklahoma and Denver shared messages to help strengthen our understanding of God’s word, the need to dig deeper into God’s word, and ways to help us accomplish this task.
Approximately 500 people attended Sunday morning worship. Words cannot describe the powerful nature of the lectureship. The lessons were well presented and Sunday saw 9 individuals respond to the invitation. The singing was awesome. The fellowship was incredible. The results of the work being done, immeasurable. The work these two men have established is making a great difference throughout Central America.
It is a privilege to share a small part in the work of ITL in Guatemala. We look forward to seeing God’s blessings on the work in His kingdom throughout Central America.
Last week also included our annual staff meeting. The Extension staff attend a meeting in March each year where we discuss the various issues and challenges facing the overall program. We also look at and discuss new ideas to help improve the work. As well, this year we were able to use Skype to visit with David Laton, who serves as a deacon over missions, about ways we can improve outreach to individuals and congregations in sharing the work.
We began our meeting by looking at both the positive and negative areas within some of the schools. We were encouraged with some of the strong points each school possesses. Looking at some of the negative areas only serves to help us grow. Here we are able to discuss what we can do to improve and overcome the challenges and build stronger potential for greater work in the future.
We also took time to examine how we can improve the overall structure of communication within the program. As this program continues to grow, developing better and stronger lines of communication will be vital to the success of the work.
Now on to the reports...
Reports from the coordinators are now located on the website, under Staff Reports. The address is /extension-schools/
Students Take A Vocational Class In Cameroon: Providing for one’s family and eventually helping the church be self-sustaining was the basis for a recent vocational class.
Couples Get Married In Cambodia: Two wonderful couples who are connected to the school in Siem Reap, Cambodia recently married.
Students Strengthen Churches In Tamale: During a break from school, as students return home, they are strengthening their home congregations.
Two Students Become Christians: Two students have renounced denominationalism in Togo and others from the congregations where they worked have obeyed the gospel.
School Is Back In Session: Classes are in session and preparation for the rainy season is being made in Takoradi.
A Day In Life On The Mission Field: You never know what you will see and how it affects the work you do on the mission field. Read more from the Gee report from Tanzania.
The past week was full and the great news is I have more to share next week. Donnie Bates, Ralph Williams and I will be on our way to Paraguay, South America on Tuesday. There will be news to share about the possibility of a school in Paraguay next week. Please keep us in your prayers as we travel. I look forward to sharing all the news next week.
Thank you for all you do to make the work possible. You are a blessing and I pray for you each day.