Wednesday, January 28, 2009

2nd Word & Way article

Word & Way has posted a second article online about our recent trip to Guatemala.

The team from our church is gearing up for the upcoming trip to Guatemala from Feb. 7-14. We have a total of 11 folks going and our schedule will be a busy one. We've had 3 very productive pre-trip meetings and will have one more next Wednesday evening before we depart early on Saturday morning.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

First Word & Way article on Guatemala trip

Jennifer Harris has posted an initial story on our recent trip to Guatemala. Here's the link to the article.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Guatemala trip report

I sent a written report to Brian Kaylor, the communications specialist for the BGCM, on my most recent trip to Guatemala to be included in the monthly email newsletter that the convention publishes. That information is sitting on my desktop at the church office rather than here at home on my laptop (I didn't think to email it to myself), but here's the Reader's Digest version of the experience.

The four of us who traveled from Missouri for the fifth in a series of ongoing leadership training conferences for pastors and lay leaders in western Guatemala had an awesome trip. The response of the workshop participants was once again outstanding. They really hang on every word and are so appreciative of our efforts to provide these training sessions for them. Their active participation in the Q & A portion of the workshops is a testament to their interest and enthusiasm.

I mentioned in a previous post about the interviews I conducted with two of the pastors that were filmed by Jennifer Harris of Word & Way. The two men were so encouraging in their comments about the value of these sessions to them personally as well as to their congregations and one even remarked that the different books that we have been giving as gifts each trip have also been very timely to help deal with issues and questions in their local church settings. Jennifer had originally planned to have the story ready for the edition of Word & Way that arrived in my mailbox today, but decided she needed a bit more time to do the story justice. She has already made several comments about the trip and uploaded some pictures from Guatemala to her Facebook account. I can hardly wait to read her story when it comes out.

In the meantime, I'm eagerly preparing for my next trip next month to Guatemala with a total of 9 other members of our church plus the daughter of one of these who lives in Florida. There will be 11 of us altogether and we'll be working with a couple of churches in the Department (state we'd call it) of San Marcos in western Guatemala. The plans call for us to speak in public schools in the mornings, distribute bags of food and share the gospel with some needy families right after lunch, conduct VBS sessions from about 3:00 - 4:30, and then do Adult Sunday School leadership training classes in the evening. It promises to be a very busy week. I'm meeting with the team this coming Sunday evening after church to share a few more details with them. In the meantime, we're just trying to stay warm with the rest of the Midwest.

Guatemala Trip Pictures

I've been experimenting for the first time with Picasa for uploading a web album of photos and have done so with the pictures from my most recent trip to Guatemala. I haven't yet added captions to them, but if you visit the site and view the slideshow, the first pictures are of the leadership conference at the hotel, followed by some scenes from Lake Atitlan and finally some shots from Antigua.

Here's the link to the album:

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Back in Guatemala City

We arrived safely back in Guatemala City and I´m once again typing an update from a computer in the seminary library here. We had another outstanding leadership training conference with the Guatemalan pastors and leaders. There are such a wonderful bunch of folks to work with and they are always so appreciative and affirming in their comments regarding the ongoing work we´ve been doing in the western region of the country. The crowd was the biggest we´ve had yet. I don´t have the exact number yet but should find that out tomorrow when we meet for breakfast with Carol, our partnership liaison here.

After we wrapped up the final teaching session yesterday morning and did our normal concluding time of giving a set of books to each participant, we shared lunch together before folks headed back to their hometowns. Some travel for several hours to get to Quetzaltenango for the training. I asked a couple of the pastors who lived close by (including the pastor of the FBC of Quetzaltenango and one of the pastors of the churches that a team from our church worked with last February) to stay for just a few minutes in order to interview them about their overall impressions and response to the training. Jennifer Harris of Word & Way recorded the interviews and we hope to use them at the BGCM´s annual missions banquet to encourage our churches to continue to support this valuable ministry. Their comments were very gracious and each mentioned how the concepts and principles that they have learned over the past 2 1/2 years in these sessions have been very helpful to them as pastors in their congregations.

Tonight we´re going to have dinner at the house of the executive director of the convention here. He´s invited us over to watch the national championship game between OU & Florida. Since I didn´t get to watch my Longhorns beat OSU on Monday night, I´m looking forward to this game. I hope that OU wins as a representative of the Big 12 and also so the Horns can have the distinction of being the only team to have defeated the national champ.

Monday, January 05, 2009

In Guatemala Again

Life has been extremely busy this past few weeks which explains my extended absence from blogging. We spent 6 days in Texas just after Christmas Day packing up my mom´s stuff to move her up to Missouri to live with us. We then had just a couple of days to try and unpack some of the most needed items and get her settled before I took off early this morning for Guatemala.

I´m writing this post from a computer in the seminary library here in Guatemala City. Tomorrow morning early we´ll leave for Quetzaltenango for the latest round of pastoral leadership training. Bob Perry and Marilyn Nelson will be leading 4 sessions dealing with spiritual gifts and I´ll do an introductory session focusing on the steps to spiritual maturity. Jennifer Harris of Word and Way is also with us to report on the BGCM´s ongoing partnership with the Guatemala Baptist Convention.

The only downside to the trip is that I´ll likely miss UT´s bowl game tonight against Ohio State. The truth is, this bowl season I´ve managed to miss every game except for catching the tail end of the Missouri OT win. Moving is definitely one of my least favorite sports in the world and that´s about all I´ve been doing.

I´ll probably not have computer access again until we return here on Thursday, but wanted to post this quick update. I appreciate the prayers of any who stumble upon this blog for our conferences. We´re expecting 82 participants this time--the largest group ever.