Latin American Pastoral Training Journal

Our primary ministry centers on equipping and encouraging Latin American pastoral couples. Read more about that here. Below are stories from our conferences and training events.

Arkansas Team #5 Completes Project
Journey Church and All Points Church from Arkansas have been partners with us for a few years now. Stepping out in faith, these two small churches have completely sponsored our work with the indigenous Cabecar of Costa Rica. And on this, their fifth trip, they completed the pass-through house in Jopbata, called Hogar de Paso Arroyo.

In addition the women from Arkansas taught about 30 Cabecar women how to sew quilts, using supplies they brought down from the States. It was an amazing site to see them learn a new skill, especially as one-by-one they completed their first quilt and displayed them to each other with pride.

One of the highlights came when the team distributed New Testaments in the Cabecar language. Most have never seen the Word of God in their language. It was one of the most beautiful moments of our four years here.

Special thanks to our Tico partners, Eli and Marta, along with Omar and Luis, and to Angela Lucas for serving as translator for the team.
El Pastor Pacificador Conference #6
Our seventh conference came to a close with tearful testimonies, many hugs, and an overwhelming sense that it was the best ever. Of course, each conference has been special in its own right, but the Spirit of God was all over this one from start to finish. We had made some changes to the schedule the night before, but I honestly believe it was the prayer effort which put us over the top.

At every session, Angela was joined by Rick Caskey at the prayer overlook. Plus, we had an amazing team in the U.S., around Costa Rica, and in a few other places that were praying each hour. Together, their prayers were answered and the result was palpable.

We were also blessed with an incredible speaker. Manuel Valverde, a native Tico who is lives in Guatemala and teaches at the Central American Theological Seminary, did a fantastic job with new material. He had the couples in larger groups sharing at a level we had not seen before.

Plus, we were blessed with a great team. Ariel and Austin Caskey helped out regulars Stephanie and David Lucas. Between the four of them, their roles were covered with no stress at all. And of course, Kelly Ezell was busy making herself the most popular among the ladies with massages that ministered to women in pain, women who felt discouraged, and women who needed to be reminded how much God loved them. Thanks also to every donor who gave to make this conference possible. We quite literally couldn’t have done it without you.

El Pastor Pacificador Conference #5
Our fifth Latin American pastors conference was again led by Otto and Guiselle. The pastoral couples who attended this conference were some of the most tired and discouraged I've seen. By the time they left, they were uplifted and moving forward. That's why we do what we do.

We were also blessed again to have the worship team from Taller de Maestro give a special concert on Friday night. There's nothing more beautiful than young Christ followers shouting his praises at the ends of a canyon in the middle of the rain forest!

The work continues.

El Pastor Pacificador Conference #4
Our fifth pastors conference was excellent. The teaching sessions were led by Otto and Guiselle Kladensky, who did a great job drawing the participants into discussions around the material. Everyone was engage until the very end.

And with that ending, new adventures have begun. This group may be the most visionary we’ve had so far. Before the conference was over, we had already been invited to visit several of the churches to speak and see what they are doing, plus a few have approached us about a future partnership on some amazing projects.

Nicaragua Discovery Trip
We travelled to Nicaragua with several Costa Rican pastors to visit six churches that have been planted as part of the new AIBN (Association of Bible Churches in Nicaragua). Long hours on the road doubled as Spanish class for Steve Lucas and Steve Ezell!

The povery in Nicragua is much worse than in Costa Rica. Yet the faith and ambition of the Nica pastors is just as great.

Future plans are to hold a Purpose Driven Church conference in Nicaragua as soon as possible.

El Pastor Pacificador Conference #3
Immediately following our second conference, we went into our third. It made for a tough schedule, but our team held up very well. More time talking with individual pastors has led to some important discoveries about ministry in Costa Rica:
  1. MYTH – People in Costa Rica all enjoy a relaxed “Pura Vida” lifestyle. They are naturally stress-free, and so are the pastors. TRUTH – People are people, no matter where they live. The pastors here are some of the most stressed I’ve ever met. One couple this week had not been away together for 7 years. Several others had not had any special time with their spouses in more than a year.
  2. MYTH – Costa Rica (and Latin America) are “Reached” for Christ. TRUTH – The idea that Latin America is reached is far from accurate. Consider Costa Rica: research studies conducted in the last few years indicate that 16% of people are evangelical Christian (“born again”). However, when you look closer, you find that number to be suspect. Many “evangelicals” are caught up in aberrant theology, far from what could be considered “saved.”
  3. MYTH – Costa Ricans are highly educated. TRUTH – Yes, Costa Rica enjoys a high literacy rate, but reading alone does not an education make! Many pastors in Costa Rica have not been taught the most basic of skills necessary for leading a church. Consider inductive Bible study. For a pastor to teach the Word of God properly, he or she must be able to open God’s Word and teach it with understanding and wisdom. Sadly, most of the pastors we have met do not have any idea how to do that.
El Pastor Pacificador Conference #2
Our second conference was made up of pastors from the AIBC (Association of Bible Churches in Costa Rica). With the help of AIBC president, Luis Rodriguez, we've taken measures to reach as many of their 130 pastors as possible in the next year. The teaching sessions were led by Dr. Manuel Valverde of Central American Theological Seminary.

The most interesting development from this conference was the number of churches wanting to partner with us for help in reaching their communities. We've already committed to work with Iglesia Biblical Hogar de Fe in Desamparados, with the launching of their women's training center.

Greater things are still to come!

El Pastor Pacificador Conference #1
A dozen pastoral couples from nearly as many denominations and associations gathered at Vista del Valle for the first full conference sponsored by The Brook Ministries. Dr. Jim Adams, president of the Central American Theological Seminary in Guatemala, along with his wife, Jenny, led the teaching sessions on the topic of "the peacemaking pastor," or, el pastor pacificador.

Most remarkable was one couple who attended the conference who confessed that their church was about to come apart because of conflict. By the end of the conference, they were surrounded by the other pastoral couples who prayed over them. It was a tremendous show of unity among members of groups that traditionally do not work together.

Truly a great beginning for our ministry, and Lord willing, a sign of things to come.

Books for Pastors (RREACH & TOPIC)
As the sun set, a small team from Texas began to pass out hundreds of books to pastors who were gathered together for training. The event was organized by global evangelism and training ministry RREACH and TOPIC (Trainers Of Preachers International Coalition).

It was also the first time The Brook Ministires was able to directly support Latin American pastors.

A special thanks goes to Ramesh Richard of RREACH, and Otto Kladensky of TOPIC for allowing our team to participate.

Pastoral Training

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