Friday, November 14, 2008

November 14 Update

Dear praying friends,

Would you be proud if your daughter was the co-secretary general of the United Nations? Well, okay, actually it was the South American Model United Nations. About 250 delegates and teachers from international schools from various countries met in Caracas for 4 days. In January, Melissa and several other teammates will participate in a similar activity in New York.

The NDLL (Network for Developing Latin Leaders) Conference in October was a success. 231 attended from many different denominations. It was an opportunity for leaders who are always planning and involved during church functions to be able to “sit and soak”. (Peter actually was always busy, only attending the very last session. Sharon was only able to go to half of them.) The speakers presented their material with compelling convictions. The participants left excited, challenged, motivated, with renewed perspective. One of the principle themes was that “being” concerns God more than “doing.” They also strongly emphasized a day of rest in the Lord every 7 days. Other important themes: transparency and accountability.

Two weekends ago 27 leaders and workers from the church spent 2 days and a night at a beach house on a private beach. We relaxed mostly, and planned strategies and objectives with respect to new ministries such as prayer, creative evangelism, and attention to visitors, visits to the sick or to slack attenders. This plan will provide more opportunities for the newer Christians, and increase responsibility and commitment in the ones who are already working. Ministry does happen in these areas, but it has not been organized and someone delegated to be in charge.

Speaking of being in charge, a deacon, Jesús Idrogo, was in charge of Peter’s class on leadership integrity this past Tuesday when we were out of town. There are two lower levels of classes and a special class on the family offered during the Bible Institute time, which is similar to ABF or Sunday School. Each elder has an assistant who is training to be able to do it alone.

Two old (in the sense of being “long known” rather than “advanced in years”) supervisors/friends visited us this past weekend: Jim Carmean, our former field director, and Gary Bowman, our former area director. They also visited each of the 8 missionaries left on the field, 3 couples and 2 singles, to aid in the redeployment process to another ministry opportunity. It did us a world of good to be able to disclose frustrations and also receive good counsel and encouraging evaluation. We were encouraged to back off from organizational responsibilities and spend more time just fellowshipping and mentoring in the last months we have here.

We started doing premarital counseling this past Sunday with two faithful youth, Luis and Mabel. Please pray for their future together as leaders.
We have been really disappointed, hurt and discouraged by the behavior of Domingo and Josefina. They lived together for about a month before getting married by the justice of the peace. It is a big struggle for all of the elders and wives. What do we do now? Most advocate acceptance, love, “wait and see”, but where does discipline come into play, especially when there is no confession or expression of repentance?

Today is Anzoategui day. What? It’s the official Anzoategui state holiday! Our family, along with about 50 other people, mostly youth, will take advantage of the 3 day weekend and travel to Caripe, a mountainous picturesque town with a retreat/conference center owned by our church association, ASIGEO. For the first time ever Peter and I have no assigned responsibility! We’ll just be there to talk with people. ☺

Thanks for Praying,

Peter and Sharon