Who is the LACRET Team?

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if a mission had an elite squad, their own “think tank”, their own group of veteran missionaries to call upon in unique and specific situations where experience and wisdom would be really helpful for knowing next steps to take?  Let it not be a surprise then– the Latin America/Caribbean Regional Equipping Team is just such a group.

They are made up of a group of veteran missionaries, many beginning their years of service in Venezuela decades ago.  They are highly educated, with almost as many doctorates as team members. However, they are not just a bunch of lofty, brilliant minds from the academic world. In fact, they are some of the most humble servants that can be found, with their hearts in grassroots ministry, in equipping people and helping them along in their various ministries throughout Latin America.  These are men and women who have a heart and much experience in mentoring, in team leadership, in pastoral training, Christian education for both children and adults, virtual ministry, and seminary training. They may just be our greatest untapped resource in the Latin America/Caribbean Division.

Ernest Dyck, the team leader of LACRET, says that the heart of the team is to be right in the thick of ministry on the field, and not simply be in academic settings. Ernest became the team leader just this January, and says it is a joy to work alongside his longtime colleagues and peers in this new role. Ernest and his wife Effie work as regional specialists in church planting and training teachers in Christian education.

ReachGlobal also has the wonderful resource of a Global Equipping Team, that functions much in the same way as this regional team.  However, the added strength of the LACRET team is that in their combined years of service on the mission field and years living in Latin America, there is a profound cultural awareness–they can pick up on many of the nuances of language and culture that many of us newer and younger workers would miss. They understand contextualization on a different level, whether that is in urban church planting, rural ministries, or in the educating of church leaders.  Every person on the team brings a different field of specialty and knowledge to the table– Rebecca Rodriguez with international women’s ministries, Jim Panaggio with spiritual formation, Ross Hunter with equipping for indigenous ministries, Carlos Tejada with pastoral networking, and the list goes on.

Ernest Dyck speaks for his entire team when he says that they greatly desire to be used as a resource to the other teams in the Latin America Division as well as to their national partners. They would be honored and delighted to come alongside you, whether it is in a consulting role, or to help facilitate training of some sort. For more information, please email LACRET1@efca.org

This video was made for the 2018 Latin America/Caribbean Conference. Team leadership has changed since then, but the heart of the team remains the same. Enjoy!

Educating Pastors is Vital to Church Health :: Prometa

The heart, mission, and even tagline of ReachGlobal is “Develop, Empower, Release”.  We, in whatever ministry we are involved in, have this as our goal in all things.  To develop leaders, to empower them in multiplying and empower them to go forth and disciple, and then to release them.  We want to be disciple makers making disciple makers.

ProMETA is a ministry that lives out this goal so perfectly in all they do.  They are a perfect example of what multiplication could look like in the church and on the mission field.  This ministry, which is an online seminary program, done fully in Spanish, has just recently celebrated its 10 year anniversary.  However, it was a dream for many years before that, and in process even as the internet was just coming of age.

Because of its unique design, these incredibly experienced, wise, and well-educated Bible teachers can get to places where it is impossible to travel at the moment, especially Venezuela and parts of Cuba.  Those who wouldn’t be able to afford a seminary education are given the opportunity through the many scholarships offered, as well as the overall affordable class prices.

Please pray for ProMETA and its ongoing work of training up leaders and pastors in the Latin American church.

For more information on ProMETA, their classes or how to be involved, please email keith.anderson@efca.org or visit their website at http://prometa.info

 

How God is Raising Up Leaders Through IBAC

It’s a pretty incredible sight.

Hundreds of Latino pastors, crowded into a room, hungry for the Word and ready to grow in their theology.

They come for three day sessions, twice a year, as they work through their seminary studies.  Why is it done this way?  These men and women are already in full-time ministry.  They are in positions where they can’t drop everything and uproot their families to go attend seminary.

Many have said, nationals and missionaries alike, that the greatest need in the Latin American church is the need for theological education.  Good theology!  This is a region of the world where Catholicism has reigned for hundreds of years, but where the prosperity gospel is also growing like an untamed weed.  Evangelism is truly only the first piece, the first step.  What comes after that? Discipleship. That’s the longer step, the piece that takes dedicated relationship and a commitment to walk through life with people. Commitment to the long-haul.

The design of IBAC is discipleship of pastors and church leaders, who will (and often are already) leading people in their own local community.  Men who are leading out of their own testimony and knowledge of God, but need further training in the proper handling of the Word.

Consider how this model of multiplication discipleship affects the countries where it is being used–

IBAC has a presence in five countries – Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and the United States.  There are currently 22 locations, training between 2,200 and 2,500 pastors and church leaders annualy. That’s 2,500 men and women who are in leadership positions in their churches, so consider how many people they are discipling themselves and affecting with the Word!

The 7 year program has been completed already in five locations, which represents  about 660 graduates to date.  IBAC is planning on starting new Bible Institutes in 6 new locations (in Ecuador, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama). What huge opportunities to bring people into deeper knowledge of the Word, and then have them apply it immediately in their own native setting.

There are currently  22 partner churches who have adopted a Bible Institute – 21 in the United States, and 1 in Costa Rica.  If your church, or a group from your church is interested in more information, or making the commitment to walking alongside one of these schools, you can contact Jim Wilson at jim.wilson@efca.org.

Calling Young Adults! [Summer Apex Missions]

Combine your passion to serve in cross-cultural missions with our passion for developing future mission leaders.

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From June 19-August 4, 2017, ReachGlobal is sending out teams of young adults (college age and post-grads) to locations around the world as part of our Apex mission program. Apex teams will integrate into the local ReachGlobal teams, serving alongside our missionaries while receiving training and equipping for future mission and ministry success.

Let us invest in you while you invest in the cities and countries that we call home.

Find out more about how you can serve this summer in:

Applications are due by April 2017 — however, the programs are first-come, first-serve and may fill up sooner. If God is calling you to go deeper into missions, don’t miss your opportunity to be part of His greater story in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Serving in Rio Azul

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“At the end of 2013, my husband and I were invited to serve as leaders in a Costa Rican church restart in a nearby slum, Rio Azul. We had prayed for years that God would open doors so that we could participate on just such a team and were blown away by God’s goodness to provide such a wonderful opportunity. Since accepting the position, we now regularly teach, serve on the worship team, co-lead the Sunday school, preach, lead a Bible study, teach music and English classes and serve in a variety of other ways.”

Dave and Angie Ziel are ReachGlobal missionaries serving in San José, Costa Rica, since November 2011. Learn more about their life and ministry on their blog, Ziels in LA.

 

Colleague Close-up: The Hunters


J&M Hunter
There’s no question why Jonathan and Maggie Hunter are smiling these days. After waiting more than two and a half years between applying to ReachGlobal and landing in San Jose, Costa Rica, they’re glad to finally have reached their goal.

Jonathan and Maggie, who have been married for almost four years, have a toddler son, Patrick, and a baby girl on the way in January. Jonathan, 25, who grew up as a missionary kid (MK) in Ecuador, serves as the director of the AMCA youth ministry in San Jose. AMCA ministers to about 75 expat and Costa Rican (Tico) teenagers in the San Jose metro area. While Jonathan takes over the reins of the youth ministry, Maggie is attending full-time Spanish language school at The Spanish Language Institute in San Jose.

The couple took some time recently to talk about their journey and what they’ve seen God doing as they dive into full-time youth ministry.

Their call to youth ministry:

J: During the application process, we spent a lot of time in prayer. There was something inside us – we knew this is where the Lord was bringing us.

 

M: Both of us have known we wanted to do something with youth ministry. The Lord led us to missions, and we didn’t necessarily see youth ministry in missions. [But] this position is just a perfect fit, because we’re able to serve students, and with Jonathan himself being a missionary kid, a third culture kid, he’s able to be a resource for the students and the parents in our youth group.

Value of Jonathan knowing Spanish:

J: It’s really been invaluable. It helps you relate to students, because there is a little bit of a clique, in one sense, when you have the long-term MK’s who already speak Spanish and have integrated with the Tico students and youth group. So knowing Spanish and being an MK gives me an instant credibility that otherwise wouldn’t necessarily have been there.

It also helps me communicate with a lot of the parents of the students who won’t speak English or can’t speak English. Just being able to speak the language breaks down a lot of barriers that you might otherwise have when you’re trying to work with parents.

Nice surprises

J: Some people come into a new field, and they’re kind of overwhelmed and entirely lost. We’re familiar with Latin cultures and Latin cities, but we for sure didn’t know where to go to buy groceries. We had no idea how to put chips in our cell phones – we didn’t know you had to have your passport with you.

Our ReachGlobal team was really spot-on. When we got here, our team leader [Jim Wilson] met us at the airport and drove us to the apartment that [Jim’s wife] Melanie helped find. We had people to show us around the first day.

M: We had our Internet installed within 24 hours of making our first phone call, and in the states it took two weeks for that to happen. Other people where have had longer experiences, having to wait a week or two as well. Melanie Wilson laughed – she said, “What are we going to do to make this more of a missionary experience?” I responded, “Good luck. We’ve had people praying for two and a half years about this transition.” The Lord definitely has had a huge part in how smooth it’s been.

Primary goals

J: Our first [goal] in the ministry is to make the transitional into the director role, and that means not changing too much at one and getting a lot of feedback from people.

Another immediate goal that I have is really helping the people that I get to work with in Bible study and whenever we do the big group teachings to, even at a young age, develop a good hermeneutic Bible study methods and to help form an expectation with how people are going to be approaching the Bible.

Long-term team goals – we have three of them:

First would be just discipling students and helping them mature in Christ and in their walk with the Lord.

Number two, supporting families: A lot of them are missionaries, and one of the main reasons that missionaries leave the field is problems with children. If we can help provide stability and discipleship by being there, if we can help support the families in their everyday ministry life, hopefully we’ll be able to see them remain in the field. If we can in any way strengthen the family unit through youth ministry, that’s a huge plus.

Finally, helping the students in their transitions …

M: We have many people in the youth group who are here from anywhere form just three months to a year while their parents learn Spanish. A huge part of our ministry is to help people through the transition, as they transfer into Costa Rica and prepare to transfer out to where their parents do ministry or to go to college.

The whole thing about the youth group is that it’s the place that you’re not alone in that emotion or in that frustration. Also having Ticos there, you can’t just reject the culture that you’re a part of. You can learn to incorporate and adjust in this transition. Going through that process is something that’s completely normal.