Sometimes we use the phrase “Hindsight is 20/20” for things that we think could have been better if we had only known ahead of time what was to come. I’ll use “Hindsight is 20/22” as a way of looking back on the year, recalling how things have been better than expected, because of God’s hand in events.
Janice: Music, music, music
Anyone who knows Janice, knows that music is what gives her life. Beginning to teach her students at the Emmanuel Foundation again has given new life to her mission ministry. It began virtually but climaxed with a personal visit to Bolivia and the Emmanuel Foundation. In November she was able to meet her students again, teach in-person, on her old piano (which they now own), and play for them. She’ll keep up her lessons virtually again, but with an updated understanding of her students and a refreshed relationship with them.
Bill: A Heart for Pastors
At the start of the year, I (Bill) was quite uncertain of how the Pastoring of Pastors groups would fair, but I have been very pleasantly surprised. Leadership in Bolivia stepped up to the plate, motivated by a heart for the pastors. Major victories to celebrate include: the formation of a national leadership team; the inclusion of Discipleship and Pastoring of Pastors (DPP) in the 5-year plan of the Union of Bolivian Baptist Churches (UBB); training events in regions, resulting in 109 pastors and church leaders participating in 16 groups. The highlight of the year was a two-day retreat from November 4-5, that we were able to participate in, in-person, attended by 80 pastors and church leaders. Twenty-five more were turned away by blockades, but those who attended have been inspired to renew meeting, keep meeting, and begin meeting.
One pastor asked me to share that he and his wife woke spontaneously in the middle of the night in tears, both having been awakened by God and affirmed that they had done the right thing in letting their children leave the church at one point. They had felt guilty about letting them go without a fight, but a talk on being “people of peace” had affirmed them in having done the right thing. He shared that all their children, except one, had now returned to the Lord. God’s presence was clearly felt in every part of the retreat. The interest in Pastoring of Pastors has also continued to grow in Guatemala, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, and Cuba.
A Highlight in Hindsight
The clear highlight of 2022 has been being able to meet people in person again. We’ve begun fellowshipping in person at Bonavista Baptist Church, visited churches and supporters in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. A trip to Guatemala and El Salvador in June and July allowed Bill to meet 14 groups in 10 days. The 3 week trip to Bolivia in October/November was both a homecoming and farewell, but not an “adios” (final good-bye), more of an “hasta luego” (until later).
Hindsight to Foresight
If 2022 sets us on a trajectory into 2023, then we have more to look forward to. Leaders in Cuba are already asking about forming Pastoring of Pastors groups. More trips are being considered to Cuba, Dominican Republic for next year. Theological transformation workshops in El Salvador and Guatemala, begun in June of 2022 are waiting to be followed up on. In addition to discipleship, I (Bill) keep reading up on work as mission, creation care, integral mission, and transforming theological education, so who knows what opportunities 2023 will bring. I guess we’ll see, hindsight 2023.
- For a safe and successful trip to Bolivia (October 24-November 17).
- Our daughter, Marigan, continues to show improvement in her struggle with long-covid. She has actually moved in with us to continue her progress in a supportive environment. Thanks for your prayers.
- Our son Jonathan and his fiancé Katrina. Congratulations are in order on the engagement. Now for the wedding plans.
- A number of key pastors in my groups are dealing with health issues—Pedro in Guatemala, Jhonny in Bolivia, and Robert in Dominican Republic. I won’t give details but please keep them in your prayers.
- For the holiday season, and “Summer” vacation time in Latin America. For pastors during the busy Christmas season, for health, for their vacations, and for activities as they start up again in the end of January and beginning of February.
- For Goretty and the Emmanuel Foundation. Pray especially for Laurita, who is coping with leukemia.
Thank you so much for your continued support!
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