|Quechuan pastor in South America |
If you have heard one of our ministry presentations, you have probably heard Laura and I speak about the percentage of remote and isolated pastors that do not return to their homeland if they are sent to far away seminaries or bible colleges to receive pastoral training. The numbers are astounding, 80%-90% of rural and remote pastors do not return to their homeland to pastor churches after receiving training in another country. The reasons are many and varied. Better quality of life, safety, and security issues are some of the most common reasons why these isolated and remote pastors stay in their new country.
|Pastor in rural Mexico|
In the many months that Laura and I have been building up our prayer and support team, we have mentioned this statistic more times than we can remember. At some point over the past few months, 80%-90% became just something that ‘was part of our presentation”. This remained true until last week when we met with a pastor who is also an administrator at an all Hispanic bible seminary in the Los Angeles area. The seminary trains and equips Spanish speaking pastor for church leadership. Many of these pastor come from Latin America to receive their pastoral training. After a wonderful conversation with him in his office, we asked the pastor what percent of his 22 seminary students would be going back to Latin America to pastor churches. He paused for a moment and answered....none, 0%. At that moment, 80%-90% became very real to us.
As we made our presentation, the faces of these future Hispanic church leaders looked back at us, very focused and attentive to what we were sharing about MAF Learning Technologies. We explained how MAF-LT provides equipping and training to remote pastors who have little to no biblical training by taking the training to them in the places where they live and pastor. After the presentation, one student felt so convicted about returning to Latin America that he decided that he needed to ask God what God wanted for him instead of him asking God what he wanted for himself.
As the night came to an end, the seminary staff fed us a traditional Mexican tostada meal and it gave us an opportunity to speak further with the men. It was a special night for Laura and I because the Lord revealed to us, through this seminary, how great the need is for pastoral training in Latin America. On this night, 80%-90% was no longer just a statistic in our presentation. It represented real pastors behind the numbers.