Graduation, Retreat and Mission
Our most recent journey began in Aguascalientes with a meeting of the Mesa Conjunta (Roundtable), the Global Ministries partner in Mexico to which we are assigned. Rev. Felix Ortiz, Latin America Executive for Global Ministries, celebrated Lisania Sustaida’s completionof M.Div. ministerial training and discussed with the Mesa how she might assist in developing new programs for training lay and pastoral leadership here. We are looking forward to working with the Mesa members and with Lisania on organizing a lay leaders/pastors’ conference which will survey current training programs and trainers available in the three denominations and propose training programs for the future.
On the evening of the Roundtable meeting, the one seminary among Disciples and Congregational churches here graduated a class of nineteen, ten women and nine men. One of Aguascalientes’ finest hotels was the setting for the gala event and delicious meal with Rev. Felix Ortiz as the keynote speaker.
On the next leg of the trip, we enjoyed our first stay on a beach in Mexico. The retreat for pastors of Congregational churches was held at a comfortable hotel in Novillero which boasts the longest beach in the country and fine, soft sand. During the two and a half days, Doug presented and led discussion on the theme of “Joy in Ministry”. Isa 55 was meditated on during devotional time and during sessions on the topics of joy in community, joy in cultivating spiritual disciplines, and joy in living by a vision. After a lapse of three years during which the pastors had not gathered, it was gratifying to see the enthusiasm in planning next year’s retreat at the same location.
Three of the pastors at the retreat are on the staff of the Congregational Christian Church of Mazatlan which we enjoyed visiting on our last stop. During his twenty three years as lead pastor, Daniel Celis has helped the Church grow from 90 to 365 members. Along with offering health services provided by members locally and during short term stays in neighboring states of Mexico, the Church has founded three “mission” churches in recent years. We visited two of the three churches, both located in impoverished communities struggling with multiple challenges and a dearth of resources.
It was a great joy to meet the family of Pastor Victor C. who had shared at the retreat his exciting vision of their ministry in Villa Union. After two years of serving the community on a part time basis, Victor’s family has just moved into their new home a few doors down from the church building. Victor’s wife Jessie plans to offer music lessons to children and youth in the church and at home and Victor is especially enthusiastic about leading area youth to conceive a larger vision for their lives.
On Sunday, August 25, we were delighted to finally participate in worship at the churches in Pozole and Apoderado, twin communities an hour and a half south of Mazatlan. Pastor Miguel Villa, Congregational representative for the Roundtable, had invited us months ago but the daunting distance of travel from San Luis Potosi made us postpone the visit. Accompanied by Miguel, wife Maribel, daughter Miriam and musician Margarita we enjoyed preaching in the two rural communities and returned Sunday evening to Mazatlan laden with the biggest mangoes and avocadoes we had ever seen.
Now back home in San Luis Potosi, this latest trip has deepened our feelings of gratitude for being called to serve in Mexico. We look forward to returning and continuing to share in ministry with brothers and sisters in each place visited. God has richly blessed us.
Click on a picture in the trip’s Gallery below for a larger view. Credits: Myrna Paz for Aguascalientes graduation photos, Miriam Villa for Pozole and Apoderado photos and David _ of Mazatlan Congregational Church for Sat. leaders’ meeting
Posted on August 29, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged Mission in evangelical churches in Mexico; Leadership development among evangelical churches in Mexico. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.
Thanks, Doug. For many of us the name Mexico means Roman Catholic. It’s good knowing so many protestant churches are alive and well. Learning a LOT from your reports! Loving you a LOT as always. Hugs, Obama Mama