I suggested when I started the 4-part series on the updates from the recent Guatemala medical missions trip that I would probably backtrack when I finished those updates to share a bit about the latest Guatemala leadership training conference for pastors and leaders. So here's the scoop on that event.
I was joined on this occasion for the training event by my colleague Bob Perry (congregational health team leader for Churchnet) and his wife Marilyn Nelson. Bob and Marilyn had previously traveled with me to Guatemala for a prior training event back in January of 2009. On that occasion they focused on spiritual gifts, including an inventory assessment tool to help folks identify their spiritual giftedness.
On this most recent trip, Bob took 3 sessions on Tuesday to provide an overview of the Old Testament, utilizing materials written by Melton Short entitled The Old Testament Made Simple. Short (and Bob in turn) looks at the Old Testament from a variety of perspectives, helping folks grasp the major movements of the people of God, key leaders, etc.
On Wednesday, we did something unique for these training events. For the first time we split the group by gender and in addition to the women who normally attend the sessions, we invited an additional 30 or 40 women from area churches to join us for the studies that Marilyn led on the OT figures of Deborah and Esther. I translated her materials into Spanish ahead of time for both her translator and for the outlines that were included in the participants' notebooks and the contents were wonderful. Bob, meanwhile, took the morning sessions to lead the men through a discussion of a relationship cycle, describing how relationships begin typically with a contract (written or unwritten) that includes certain expectations that each party has of the other participant(s) in that relationship. He then explored what happens when those expectations aren't met and the possible outcomes of where that relationship will proceed. The discussion was lively and the content was well-received by those present.
The ladies (including our additional guests from area churches) joined us for the lunch that wrapped up the training event. We had a record number of participants at the training event this time--not including even the additional women who came for the Wednesday morning session only. Counting our driver, Edwin, who doubled as Marilyn's translator and Carol Bercian, our partnership liaison, we had a total of 87 present for the training sessions. As always, the participants were extremely grateful and appreciative of the opportunity to further their ministerial training in some practical ways.