This past March 10th – 13th, we celebrated our 7th Annual ITL Lectureship. The theme this year was Practical Christian Living: A Study of the Book of James. The event turned out to be a wonderful time of study and edification.
We were honored with a well-qualified array of speakers that did an excellent job of making James what the theme suggests—very practical! As you can see from the flyer, there were 12 speakers/teachers. Victor Ajuchan, David Avila and Wilder Ordoñez were speakers from Guatemala. Javier Alfaro came from Costa Rica and Pedro Batres from Nicaragua. The rest came from various parts of the U.S.: Luis Camacho (Dallas, TX), Kevin Hahn (Houston, TX), Bob Turner (Denver, CO), and Kerrie Williams (Jonesboro, AR). In addition, two ladies, Brenda Dean and Sherrie Montgomery came to speak to our ladies and Cherie Dempster taught several children’s classes. All three ladies are from Morristown, TN, where their husbands (John, Tom, and Jim respectively), who also came to the lectureship, serve as elders. Conrad Pinder (Costa Rica) was back to help with the translation and so did Byron’s mom, Aralee Hernandez (Los Angeles, CA), who translated for the ladies classes. Benjamin Montejo and Dulce Ramirez, both from Linda Vista, also contributed as translators.
Additionally, we also had the honor of having Tom Langley, Anna Pride and Channetta Williams present for the lectureship. Tom (Maryville, TN) is the president of World English Institute (WEI) and a friend from many years back. He was the one who kept encouraging us to host WEI teams in Guatemala and now we have hosted teams for seven years! Anna Pride (Nashville, TN) and Channetta Williams (Lubbock, TX) were here because we are working with them to establish a full-time WEI school in Guatemala in the near future. All of us were able to meet after the lectureship events to discuss how we could see the school become a reality. We all felt encouraged and ask that you keep this project in your prayers. Channetta is currently seeking support to move to Guatemala and we are actively looking for other team members to join this effort. We will send out more details about this in another newsletter.
As usual, the events for the lectureship began on Thursday and concluded on Sunday. Permit us to share with you some of the highlights.
Thursday, March 10 – ITL’s President’s Banquet
The President’s Banquet was held again at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Zone 13 of Guatemala City. This is the hotel we have been using for our ITL activities and mission teams. They have been very kind to us, provide the best rate for our guests and offer a few other amenities.
The banquet always serves as a great way to begin our lectureship activities. We invite all of ITL’s past graduates from both programs (Saturday and Full-Time) to attend. It is a good opportunity to honor their faithfulness and work with their local churches. Also, we take the opportunity to honor our speakers and their guests. Additionally, it provides a good arena to express appreciation to those who make ITL possible. As we were finishing dinner, Hawatthia, the president of ITL, introduced the after-dinner speaker for this year, Kevin Hahn. Kevin preaches for the Lake Houston Church of Christ in Humble, Texas, and he did an excellent job.
This year, we honored Carlos Ramos and Eusebia Martinez with the President’s Service Award for their unselfish dedication and service throughout the years. We are happy to report that we were honored again to have Dr. Henry España, “ITL’s doctor,” and his wife Dora Alicia. Several other awards and appreciation plaques were given and the program concluded with a photo presentation that looked back at 2015.
Friday, March 11 – Excursion Day
On Friday, our out-of-town guests traveled first to the historic area of Guatemala called Zone 1, where they visited the National Palace. This year, we could not make the regular lunch stop at Wendy’s because for some reason the restaurant closed. So, we walked an extra two blocks to enjoy Pollo Campero before departing to La Antigua Guatemala. We made a favorite stop at the coffee plantation La Azalea for a tour and coffee (for those who drink coffee). We then made our way to Antigua’s market, where the team haggled a bit for their souvenirs (which most consider a fun experience). For dinner, we enjoyed a meal at Fonda de la Calle Real before making our way back to the capital city.
Saturday, March 12 – Our 7th Annual Lectureship Begins
Linda Vista again served as the location for our lectureship this year. The city granted us permission to close off the street, so we were able to set up a couple tents and chairs for outdoor classes in front of the building (which was a coveted location because of the cool breeze).
The day began with some troubles with our sound system. Thankfully, we were able to get it to work and the lectures were on their way. Pedro Batres did a great job of introducing our theme. We have continued to follow the same format that seems to work well. We have several keynote speakers scattered throughout the day, interspersed with workshops, singing, lunch and an open forum, a favorite of the attendees, but not such a favorite with the speakers. We ended the day with a dinner prepared by our local sisters.
The attendance on Saturday was very good. We had at least 15 churches represented at various times of the day. Some, not including the invited speakers, traveled as far as Chiapas, Mexico and from one of the borders of Guatemala, about eight hours away. There were also people there from other departments and from several congregations in the Guatemala City area. We averaged about 250 in attendance as people came and went throughout the day, but the total number of people easily surpassed 300.
Sunday, March 13 – Conclusion of Lectureship
For Sunday we had a full house. The congregation in San Antonio, Villa Nueva, worshipped with us and we had several members from other congregations to join the Linda Vista family, so we were packed tightly. Kevin Hahn had the final keynote lesson during our worship and did a tremendous job of motivating us to seek the lost from James 5. If our memory serves us correctly, there were six responses. There was one final Bible class before the event came to a close. Then, all of us enjoyed lunch together.
A special thank you to so many who helped to make this year’s lectureship a great success. Every area of work was vital and we pray that God will richly bless each person who so willingly served in various ways. Lord willing, we will host our 8th annual lectureship next year. We pray that you will be able to come and be part of this event.
A New Class Begins at ITL
We are thankful that all of our Epsilon has arrived to the ITL campus. The class had one additional student to join it a week into the first quarter, bringing the total of students to six.
Lord willing, we will be sending very soon a complete update about our Epsilon class. Please continue to pray that all will go well as the new students and their families adjust to their new life here at ITL and as the staff and faculty adjust to having them on campus.
Serving Jesus in Guatemala!
Hawatthia, Byron, Snezana
“Teaching the CENTRAL MESSAGE in CENTRAL AMERICA!”
To see the report from ITL with pictures, please click here.