After months of preparation and planning, Samuel Santos and Eugenio Berruezo (AFCI Spain) left Barcelona for Paraguay full of hope and anticipation. But after the first leg of their trip, they found themselves stranded in Brazil. Standing at the counter with tickets in hand for Paraguay, they were told the tickets from Singapore Air would not be honored! At 2 a.m. they were finally given a temporary pass to leave the airport and get some much-needed sleep at a local hotel. Just before going to sleep, Samuel had an idea to post a note on Singapore Air’s Facebook page about their dilemma.
The next morning when they returned to the airport, a Singapore Air representative was waiting for them. “Are you the person who wrote on our Facebook page? We are here to help.” Wow, what a response! Within hours they were on a plane to Paraguay, with just enough time to prepare for the pastors they would be training.
When they finally arrived at the Marianela Retreat Center in Atyrá, an hour-and-a-half drive from the capital of Asunción, they were greeted by a group of pastors eager to engage in learning new concepts of leadership and team dynamics. The topic for this session was Biblical Leadership where the following questions were addressed:
- What does it mean to be a leader?
- How is the pastor to be the leader of his church?
- How does the pastor lead with authority?
- Why am I in the ministry?
- What is the mission of my church?
- What vision do I have for my congregation?
- How do I accomplish this vision and have a spiritual impact on my church, community, and nation?
Instituto Jetro (Jethro Institute) is an intensive training program for Spanish-speaking pastors and church leaders carried out over three years in a very interactive teaching format. Teams of qualified teachers and other professionals are prepared to travel to Paraguay twice a year to conduct the training with additional follow-up and evaluation taking place during the rest of the year. Future training will include theology, Bible study methods, discipleship, and personal holiness.
By selecting a small group of pre-qualified pastors, and working with them over a period of three years, the stage is set for these pastors to continue the training with others once they have completed the course. Based on what we have seen so far, it is clear that Instituto Jetro is transformational and can be implemented in other Latin American countries. Next year, AFCI will explore opportunities in other Latin American countries.