Several years ago, the Conference Committee on Encounter with Christ in Latin America and the Caribbean received word from members who had visited Ecuador that there was a need for educational programs for pastors of the Evangelical Methodist Church of Ecuador. While it seemed that the Lord and his people would be served by a mission to offer seminars in pastoral training, it took until this year, March 25 to April 2, for such a short-term mission to materialize.
Dr. David Stains, one of the committee members, prepared a syllabus of the course, “Preaching Christ from the Old Testament” in Spanish, to leave a written copy of the lessons for participants to study. The course has been successfully presented in several other Latin American conferences, so it seemed a good starting point. Also in preparation, the bishops of Ecuador and Western PA exchanged communications, to assure that this is a truly cooperative ministry between us.
UMC Board of Global Ministries Missionary Sara Flores organized the logistics of the seminars held at the Conference Center in Quito. "We began the seminars with 30 participants anticipated, but as new faces
appeared each day, many more copies were xeroxed. A great deal of interest and enthusiasm was apparent," said Dr. Stains, who was teaching in Spanish. His ability to speak the language apparently was welcome because participants could avoiding the tedious, constant need for a translator to communicate the lessons.
"Because we were well aware of the approach of Holy Week, the group also held table fellowship in the Passover Seder format, demonstrating in the process how Jesus transformed the symbolism of this traditional meal into a symbolism of Calvary.
The Evangelical Methodist Church of Ecuador has about 1000 members worshipping in about two dozen churches. The churches offer programs of social service, education, children’s nutrition, and other significant ministries. There is a perceived need for more programs of pastoral education, as well as UMVIM teams to continue the construction of new church buildings. We will see what the Lord inspires, Stains said.