I realize it’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted here! We’ve been incredibly busy over the past month. Things get so hectic sometimes that it’s easy to let the “urgent” things dominate the “important” thing in our lives. In any case, We realize how important it is to keep everyone updated on what is happening here! So let me get started.
We’ve been working hard on developing the leadership in the church. As I’ve stated several times here, we realized last year that we have quite a lot of followers, who do very well when being led by someone else, but we have very few self initiators. We’ve been working hard on preparing our team of leaders for continual growth in the future, and that’s not an easy task!
On February 8-10th we had a Leadership Encounter Retreat. Although not all leaders had arrived from summer vacation, we still had 59 leaders in this retreat. It was an important time where we were doing vision casting, and the main focus of the retreat was on Discipleship.
Two weeks ago, the 23rd and 24th of February we had a Women’s Encounter retreat, which was tremendous. 75% of those who attend our Encounter Retreats have never set foot in the church before. It’s amazing to see how God works in each of their lives, and literally gives them new lives in just two days.
In our Encounter Retreats we touch several important themes. We begin the retreats with Salvation in a class called “Returning to the Father”, based on the prodigal son in Luke 15. Later we have a class called “Peniel” which was the place of Jacob’s Encounter with God. It is a class that we talk about repentance before God, and accepting his forgiveness. After lunch on Saturday we have another class called “Inner Healing” that talks about the importance of forgiveness to others, and then allowing God to come in and begin to heal our hearts, and fill us with his love. In the evening of Saturday we have two more classes… One where we touch the subject of bondages in our lives, generational and others, and how God has given us freedom from those bondages. The last class in the evening is a class where we show the people how important Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was for us.
On Sunday, we have 5 classes altogether before we head back to the church service at 6:00 pm. The first class is called… “From Saul to Paul”, and it talks about Saul’s encounter with Jesus and how his life was changed forever after that moment. Later we have a class called “By His Grace”. Then we have a class about the work of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament Church, and what he wants to do in our lives today. The next class talks about the importance of being led by God’s Spirit in all moments of our walk with him. This class is based on Romans 8 and Galatians 3-5. After lunch we finish the retreat with a class called “Our Calling” which focuses on what I believe is every Christian’s general calling in God… 1) Be Disciples and 2) Make Disciples.
As you can see, the Encounter retreat is incredibly intense, but it’s worth it. So many people who never even knew Christ before go, and later come out loving God with all of their hearts, and are willing to give their time and their lives for his cause. It’s awesome. Of course, that isn’t the end. The Encounter retreat is just the beginning of their walk with God. After that they climb what we call “The Ladder of Success”, which is Win, Consolidate, Disciple and Send. In some other occasion I’ll explain the process in more detail!
Last weekend, March 1 & 2 we had our men’s Encounter Retreat also. It was great. Altogether we had about 75 new Christians go to both the men’s and women’s retreats of the past two weekends. That’s Awesome! We do these retreats about every two months or so.
Yesterday, we, along with the evangelical church in Sucre began 40 days of prayer and fasting. Every day a different church prays for 24 continuous hours, and this goes on for 40 days. Our church will be doing this three times during this time; March 13th, March 27th and April 10th. We are also meeting in our church every morning from 6 to 7 am for prayer with the leaders of the church for these 40 days.
On March 15th we will be extending to a 2nd weekend service. Except for a few months 3 years ago, we have only had 1 weekly service. Now our church is totally full, and we people standing anywhere they can during our services. So we have decided to extend to a second weekend service. Half of the people will come on Saturday evening at 7pm, and the other half will come on Sunday evening at 6pm. We are also preparing for our 3rd International Cell Church Conference that will be held from April 25th through the 27th.
So, we have been busy… but it’s definitely worth it. I’ll TRY to write more often so these posts don’t have to be so long when I do write! Please pray for us continually, and write us. Let us know what’s going on there!
Check back soon, because I’ll be uploading quite a few pictures and maybe even a video or two that I made of the two Encounters! We’ll see if I can get that to work or not. Hope so! Blessings,