We had an outstanding time in Quetzaltenango with the leadership training conferences on Tuesday and Wednesday, returning to Guatemala City late in the afternoon yesterday. Both Verlyn and Janis did a wonderful job with their teaching times and the contents of their talks were very well received. As always, there were a large number of questions and comments by the workshop participants. They really do enjoy interacting with the conference leaders on these trips.
I didn't verify an actual number of participants at this event, but I would judge we were right at the number of 80 which is upper limit that we've placed on the conferences--mainly from the standpoint of budget concerns. In addition to covering the cost of lodging, food, and the conference room space itself, we also provide some books each time to help these pastors and lay leaders expand their libraries with some good materials that will help them in their ministries.
I never cease to be moved by the expressions of gratitude and appreciation that our Guatemalan brethren share with us for having provided these training events. We've actually done 6 of these to this point (I think I mistakenly said 7 in an earlier post), and each time has been a tremendous blessing. Most of the pastors and leaders have attended all 6 of the sessions though we do pick up a new church or group of leaders from time to time, or a church opts to send some different leaders to accompany their pastor for the training.
The hugs, kisses, etc. as we leave are always part of an emotional farewell until we get together again six months down the road. I'm extremely grateful for the BGCM and the Baptist churches in Missouri that make these trips and training events possible. I don't think that perhaps we'll know this side of heaven just what all has been accomplished through these conferences. I do know that I consistently hear testimonies from the pastors and leaders who attend that the topics and themes that we cover have always been timely and apropos to the situation in which their congregation finds itself, so they've been able to implement the teachings in their local setting.
Today we're off to Antigua for some sightseeing before flying home early tomorrow morning. We'll probably be up around 4:00 a.m. to get to the airport in time for a 7:00 flight out, assuming it's on time. The other thing we're doing this morning before heading to Antigua is visiting the Tabitha Ministry that Carol, our partnership liaison has with the women and their children who live near the city dump here in Guatemala City. We have brought a couple of suitcases stuffed with children's and baby clothes for the ministry and will have a chance to deliver that to them.