by Brian Kaylor, Generational Engagement Team Leader
Two Missourians recently returned from Guatemala after leading the latest round of training sessions that are part of Churchnet’s partnership with Guatemalan Baptists. The two presenters were Gary Snowden, Churchnet’s Missional Collaboration Team Leader and Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church of Lee’s Summit, and Noah Angel, Churchnet board member and pastor of Familia Cristiana Internacional in Jefferson City. Snowden, a former missionary in Argentina and Mexico, led two sessions (one on attitudes and characteristics of a discipler and one on having a balanced perspective on the neo-charismatic movement. Angel, a native of El Salvador, led three sessions on issues of biblical interpretation.
Snowden, who leads Churchnet’s side of the Guatemalan partnership, has helped with two training conferences a year since 2007. He has also participated with his church on medical missions trips. He stayed another week in July after the latest training conference to work with a team from his church and other congregations.
“This latest round of leadership training conferences for pastors and leaders in Guatemala was a tremendous blessing,” Snowden said. “We had 85 participants in total, and as always, they were extremely receptive to the contents that we shared. Noah Angel did an outstanding job with his three sessions on understanding and interpreting the scriptures correctly. It was a blessing for me to not have to worry about translation duties and to be able to concentrate on the content of his conferences.”
“Another special blessing was to hear a young leader share over a meal how much the books that he received in the previous two training events had helped him in his ministry,” Snowden added. “That conversation reinforced the fact that the beneficial effects of these conferences extend far beyond the two-day events themselves. The participants never fail either to express deep gratitude and appreciation to Churchnet for making these training events a possibility for them. All in all, it was another great time with our brothers and sisters in Guatemala.”
Angel, who participated in his first Churchnet training conference in Guatemala, called it a “wonderful trip!”
“I felt so welcome,” he said. “I loved and appreciated the opportunity to be in Guatemala.”
“Sometimes we don’t realize how much of a difference our ministry makes in people’s lives until you come down personally and witnesses yourself,” he added. “They all expressed their thankfulness for the opportunity to get together, get to know one another, the conferences, the books, but most of all the sense of unity and collaboration that has been developing among themselves.”
Otto Echeverria, president of the Convención de Iglesias Bautista de Guatemala (Convention of Baptist Churches in Guatemala) said each training conference “means a lot to all of us.”
“It gives us the opportunity to know more about God, about Christ, about the gospel, about church history, about strategies—how to make a better work in our communities,” he explained. “Also it has provided the pastors good books so we can have more resources to learn about Christ.”
“It’s a great moment for communion, for fellowship with others,” he added.
The next Churchnet training conference in Guatemala will likely be in January of 2016.
Note: To learn more about Churchnet’s partnership with Guatemalan Baptists, check out Churchnet’s February 2015 digital magazine online: http://joom.ag/pDHb. You can also contact Gary Snowden, Churchnet’s Missional Collaboration Team Leader, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-420-2426, ext. 709.