This past week Villa Milagro brought eight pastors from the US to help encourage and train over 150 church leaders from all over Northern Peru. Prior to the conference beginning, I was told that a Pastor from Texas, who is also a retired IMB missionary, holds the conference every two years to help equip the local church body for service throughout this region. It was an amazing site to see so many come from far away, some even taking a day or two bus ride. Most of the leaders or pastors are bi-vocational and had very little means to get here. Thankfully, some of the churches from the states that support this mission provided most with transportation and accommodations to get here.
During the four day conference that was held at Monte Sion Baptist Church here in Cajamarca (about 2 miles from Villa Milagro), I had an opportunity to participate and meet some of the pastors in the surrounding area. I was completely amazed when I realized that almost all 150 participants were being housed in the classrooms of the Monte Sion School. Mattresses were brought in for most to sleep on and they had to share two one toilet bathrooms with no showers. Then I thought back to last year when I went to Johnny Hunt's Mens Conference in Atlanta. We had a very nice hotel room (I did have to share a room with Mike Holland), steak dinner, and a big, beautiful, church building with a worship band, stadium seating, and of course Johnny Hunt! There was such a contrast between these two conferences that it is almost impossible to consider them in the same category, but the excitement and passion for the truths of God's Word reminded me that all those extras of Pastor Hunt's Conference were just that...extras!
This conference was made possible because of the hearts of some American churches who have a passion for missions and want to see the Good News of Jesus Christ spread throughout the world. There is no doubt in my mind that God has blessed many in the US so that they can be a blessing to others throughout the world. I was able to meet a few of them this week. Their hearts were full of giving, with the desire to do God's will. I am very thankful for many individuals who have a heart for missions. In fact, without the support from many back home, our family would not be here in Peru serving along side the local church.
Now, I want to share a very interesting article I read this week on missions. The article is titled, Good News and Bad News in the North American Missions Movement by Michael Jaffarian. Within the article, Jaffarian shares some interesting thoughts and perspectives on missions including:
As the article continues, the writer summarizes that there is so much being done, but he also encourages all that we can do more! Lets pray that as Christians we will see the needs around us and feel compelled to act. God in His mercy saw our need and acted as Jesus gave His life for all on the cross nearly two thousand years ago. May we all strive to be more like Jesus by taking the knowledge of God's Word and putting it into action into our own lives, so that many without Christ, can see and accept His great love.