In 2016, Pastor José, from Ica, Peru, found himself on a flight to Thailand to attend a conference for pastoral trainers. He had no idea then how that trip would change his life and ministry.
During one of the sessions José heard one of our partners from Asia share about our ministry and methodology. The next day he heard WordPartners’ president, Craig Parro, teach. “The way he taught the Bible—with God’s heart—caught my attention,” José reflected years later. He then connected with Patricio Paredes, WordPartners’ Director of Latin America, and invited him to Peru to conduct a workshop.
In April of 2017, Patricio and two Mentor Trainers from Ecuador traveled to Ica, Peru, for the first workshop there. José reflected on this experience:
They established early that it was not a conference and they were not speakers to us, the listeners. We were going to participate. And together they helped us to find the truth in the Bible with these simple principles. It was simple but deep at the same time. I liked it from the beginning.
Church members say, “Hey, Pastor, you preach differently now. You’re teaching us in a different way.”
As time went on, the training began to change José’s approach to the Bible and to ministry.
The way that I study the Bible is different. . . . Church members say, “Hey, Pastor, you preach differently now. You’re teaching us in a different way.” The youth pastor now wants to share these principles with the youth group, because he saw a difference in my preaching. He is also a part of the training and started teaching differently in the youth group, too. . . . My ministry has grown, not only in my own church but also with my ministry to other pastors as well.
During [the first few] workshops, I would be thinking about the pastors in the mountains of Peru who didn’t have the opportunity to come to something like this. [I asked Patricio,] “Is it possible for me to start teaching other pastors even though I haven’t finished all eight courses?” He said, “Absolutely!” I was expecting a different answer. I started loving the ministry because they saw me not as a student but as a co-worker, a partner. I found fellowship. That was something I was looking for.
José has been able to launch several new training groups, including one in the Andes Mountains of Peru. One of the first groups launched was in the Amazon region of the country, in the city of Iquitos.
There were 40 pastors and leaders ready to start the workshops in Iquitos. We couldn’t discriminate, but we knew the group was too large for the workshop to work well. What they decided to do was this: have two groups learning at the same time in the same building, one group on the first floor, and another on the second. Then alternate teachers.
It was a novel idea that worked! Word of the training spread around Peru—quickly. Before we knew it, we had four groups launched, and the first group hasn’t even graduated yet! José is right when he says that “God is doing amazing things!”
But what about José’s wife? What does she think about her husband’s growing ministry and time commitments? José said,
My wife started attending the second group in Ica along with some other women. She was eager to understand what I was doing and to learn as well. She is by my side and helps me set up the workshops and logistics when Patricio and the other pastors come.
She feels like she is part of the WordPartners family too and is very grateful. She was praying with me through the years for this kind of opportunity, and she knows it is because of God working through WordPartners that I am now doing what I love. Meeting the people from WordPartners was an answer to prayer!
We want to see God answer many more prayers to strengthen the Peruvian church with God’s life-transforming Word. Would you pray with us?
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