Digging Deeper; Wanting More
God is expanding our ministry with IM as we begin to offer spiritual care during regional missionary retreats for our colleagues. In January, we joined missionaries from Latin America at Palomar Christian Conference Center for fellowship and spiritual renewal. Each day we facilitated a time for nurturing and deepening our relationship with God.
At the end of the week, one missionary said, “I have experienced incredible healing and balance. I’ve been challenged to dig deeper and to be vulnerable. I’m learning what it means to let God carry me.”
In February, David traveled to South Africa to offer spiritual formation for our colleagues who serve in this part of the world. Again, powerful transformative moments happened! There was also a beautiful celebration of honoring Area Director Eleazar Ziherambere who retires this spring.
Of this gathering, a colleague shared, “We were all blessed by David’s presence and vote for more in the future!”
Forming Pastor’s Hearts
The Masters of Theological Studies program continues to flourish and expand! This summer the first Brazil and Mexicali cohorts will be graduating. We just finished teaching the third U.S. cohort, and will begin the second Mexicali cohort next week. Manuel was particularly impacted by Joyce’s pastoral care in our last cohort:
I know the Lord spoke through Professor Joyce in this reply to one of my weekly journals:
“Manuel, these difficult times are an invitation to greater intimacy with God. And I saw you accepting that invitation. When a leader goes through a difficult time and searches deeply in his heart, then God has the opportunity to grow our faith. What does it mean to follow Christ, to surrender to Christ, when life is difficult? These are the questions every person of faith struggles with in our churches. People need a pastor who has also traveled that path.”
Prof. Joyce believed in me; God believes in me. Her words were brief, but loaded with the power of the Holy Spirit to encourage me to continue fighting the good fight of faith. To get up and fight against the Goliath and the giants of life. I thank God for Joyce’s words of faith, love and mercy. These words have sustained me in these difficult days again and again, and I will never forget them. I have heard the whisper of God’s voice telling me repeatedly in these last 7 weeks: “I am forming the heart of a pastor.”
In the fall, a third cohort in Brazil takes off (they are totally embracing this program), and a new cohort will begin in the Dominican Republic. What is exciting about the DR cohort is that it will be comprised mostly of women! Opening doors for women in theological education has always been one of the goals of this program. Joyce’s encouragement to these women during our class has proved invaluable. As a woman in ministry, she mentors and equips them from her twenty-five years of experience. She is honored to walk beside her international sisters.
The director of the program, Dr. Mayra Picos Lee, is on a six-month sabbatical until June. During this time, Joyce was asked to pick up some of Dr. Picos Lee’s administrative responsibilities. This is giving her new insights into the program, and allowing Joyce to grow her leadership skills.
Our Personal Lives
Joyce is in the second semester of her Doctor of Ministry program through Portland Seminary. She is studying Leadership and Spiritual Formation. Already she has been able to integrate her studies into our present ministry context. Physically, she has been working with a chiropractor for six weeks and is happy to report that her back has improved dramatically! Thank you for how you have been praying for her recuperation since last November. Add David’s right shoulder to your prayer list. A chronic pain that has come back to haunt him. He will be seeing the same chiropractor, too! Ian, Aaron & Madeleine continue to thrive in their respective lives.
Thank you for your faithful gifts to our support. Pledged gifts have allowed us to reach 85% of our annual support. We continue to pray and to trust God for the 15% difference. We know that financial challenges have impacted many of your budgets as well, so we are humbled and honored that you are choosing to partner with us in our ministry of spiritually undergirding national leaders and missionary colleagues. Your gifts truly make a difference!
Your Partners in Missions,
David and Joyce