Encuentro Guatemala 2020

 

logo ing                      loguito e

ENCUENTRO GUATEMALA 2020

“Serve and experience transformation”

  1. General Description: We seek to offer a two-week missions opportunity in the summer of 2020, where youth from the United States, Canada, and the Mesoamerica Region will minister together, specifically from June 20th to July 4th.

 

  1. Objectives:

General Objective

Expose youth with a missions call to a cross-cultural experience.

Specific Objectives

  1. Provide youth from the Mesoamerica Region a missions opportunity so that they may confirm their call in a cross-cultural missions environment.
  2. Guide participants in responding to God’s call on their lives and allow them to become familiar with several different missions opportunities available in our denomination.
  3. Engage in evangelism using a variety of creative methods.
  4. Minister holistically to the communities of the Central District of Guatemala during the Encuentro event.
  5. Promote volunteer missions trips in our districts and local churches, encouraging the financial support and sending of our own missionaries.

 

  1. Justification: Encuentro Missions provides missions opportunities for any young person with a call. During the past 50 years, EM has facilitated trips to the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, Peru, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. More than 250,000 students have participated, which has resulted in more than 2 million children and adults hearing the gospel message through Encuentro events. This year (2020), Encuentro visits Guatemala again, partnering with local Churches of the Nazarene in order to aide in Vacation Bible Schools, church planting, medical clinics, and small-scale construction events, all in the name of impacting the communities where the churches are located. The North Central Field of the Mesoamerica Region has the privilege of hosting Encuentro in Guatemala. We have come alongside the vision of Encuentro Missions and together will show the love and compassion of Jesus, sharing his message to the needy and lost, and provide a cross-cultural missions opportunity for all those youth from our region who testify to a call to ministry.

 

  1. Candidate Selection

Promotion:

Each GM Coordinator in the 5 fields of the region will be in charge of disseminating this information.  The idea is to recruit the highest number of youth possible.

Candidate Requirements

  • Be a member of the Church of the Nazarene
  • Testify to a call to ministry and/or a desire to serve cross-culturally
  • Have participated in a Cross-Cultural Orientation (CCO)
  • Have participated in a missions experience of at least 3 days previously
  • Be 18 years old or older
  • Be a leader in the local church or district
  • Possess an intermediate knowledge of the English language
  • Obtain a letter of recommendation from their pastor

Official Registration

After the candidate has received approval from their pastor, he/she should contact their Field Global Missions Coordinator in order to fill out the Exploring Missions Form online.  Registrations will be accepted through May 2020.

 

  1. Financial Timeline

 

Description

7 Days

14 Days

Food

45

$ 90

Transportation on site

35

$ 70

Housing

70

$ 140

Tourism

30

$ 60

     

Total

$180

$360

 

If you would like to download the complete document with Encuentro information, please click on this link

“A Thousand Times Yes”

In the previous entries, we have written about the 10th Anniversary of 4×4 All Terrain in Monterrey, Mexico, a mission trip that finished this month and impacted both the communities and the participants.  In fact, today we add the following testimony from another teen who was there to the testimony that we published a few days ago.

My name is Erika Lorena Torres.  Participating in a 4×4 completely changed the way I view things.  Now more than ever I am sure of my call and of what I want to keep doing for the rest of my life.

We cleaned houses for three days.  I never imagined myself doing something like that, but it was a huge blessing to see people receiving Christ in their lives, recognizing that they didn’t just need their houses cleaned but also their hearts.

An older couple, both sick, impacted me greatly.  She had recently had her eyes operated on, and her husband suffered from a sickness that caused him to double over.  For that reason, he had sores on his feet, which were bandaged.  They told us that their family never visited them.  I felt sorry for them, but there we were, sent by our Father to offer them words of hope and encouragement.  I give thanks to God because even in the midst of so much need, God was present telling them, “I’m here; I’m still here.”  That vulnerable couple could sense his presence, and I could as well.

From there we traveled to another site.  Just a few houses from the mission, there had just been a man murdered.  Upon finding that out, I asked myself, “What am I doing here?”  I didn’t say anything to anyone.  It was just God and me, and I knew I had to wrestle with and conquer my fear.  It was normal in that neighborhood to hear stories of drug trafficking, witchcraft, and things like that, but would you believe it? God was greater! Many people that were selling drugs, and others with AIDS or who were far away from God received Christ in their hearts with tears in their eyes.  How urgent it is for us as the Church to take the good news to them, the hope that they don’t have, the salvation they need so badly!

It was a huge challenge for me to spend the New Year far away from family, but if you ask me if I would do it again, I’d say, “A thousand times yes.”  Praise the Lord always and forever! Do you have an opportunity to participate in a mission trip like this? Do it!

What Type of People?

In our previous post, we reported on the 10th Anniversary of 4×4 All-Terrain in Monterrey, Mexico, a missions trip that ended January 1, 2020 and brought significant results.  In the following days we will publish various testimonies from several youth who participated, starting today with Valeria Rodríguez.

My name is Valeria Rodríguez Valdéz and I’m from Monterrey, Mexico.  I’m 14 years old, and it was two years ago that God confirmed my call to missions.

During 4×4, my team and I visited a very needy home and offered to clean it.  We met a young woman (Kelly), 19 years old, who cared for her grandmother (Cristina) that was bedridden: she couldn’t move or even speak.  Evidently, we were a huge support for them – they told us they did not know how to thank us.  What impacted me the most was the moment when we prayed for them.  We could not stop crying as we asked God to heal, protect, and give them strength in the days ahead.  We left there rejoicing, and we did the same thing the next three days.  Seven people ended up accepting Christ in their hearts.

When those three days were finished, we were encouraged, and we could answer the question: What type of people pay their way to go to an unknown place with people they’ve never met, so that they can clean houses? The answer: the type of people that don’t care about anything as much as they care about sharing the Word of God with others.

The very first time we walked the streets of Valle del Roble we realized how needy that neighborhood was.  We had the opportunity to pray for a teen on drugs, for some brothers who had consecrated themselves to death, for a married couple that had been using drugs, and for a father and his sons that had formed a prominent gang in that sector.  We also prayed for the daughter of a Christian woman who had been begging God to send someone to share hope with her daughter since she would not listen to her mom.  Her prayer was answered.  It was wonderful to know that we were the ones God had sent to fulfill that request.

What type of people pay their way to go to an unknown place with people they’ve never met, and offer to meet a stranger’s need? The type of youth that are attentive to the guiding of the Holy Spirit and are interested in those who don’t know the Lord.

After speaking with a police officer that had gone through some bad experiences with Christians, we decided to go house-to-house in that community and ask forgiveness for the bad experiences that they may have had with other Christians.  We realized that people started to react to us differently.  They were more interested in listening and sharing what had happened to them, and we saw a greater response there.  It was an extraordinary and surprising day.  We sensed the Holy Spirit guiding us.  I want to feel that guidance every day of my life.

What type of people pay their way to go to an unknown place with people they’ve never met, in order to ask forgiveness on behalf of hypocritical Christians that have come before? The type of Christians that love sinners as Christ loves them and are willing to humble themselves at any moment so that one person might be reconciled to God.

I want to invite the Church to give a good testimony.  Let’s begin with ourselves, and let’s evangelize right where we are.  Let’s allow the Spirit to guide us wherever we may go.  I exhort you to think of evangelism as a lifestyle.  Everyone without exception is called to share the good news.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve never done it before; when God speaks, we must obey.  His Spirit leads us and will give us the words.  Don’t miss a single evangelistic effort of your church anymore.  Be encouraged; God is with us!

 

“And God Made The Missionary”

My name is Victoria Natividad Trujillo Ríos. I am a member of the First Church of the Nazarene in Ocozocoautla, Chiapas, in the South District of Mexico.

As I started this project, I longed to hear God’s voice. I decided to surrender all to him and say, “Yes, Lord, may your purpose be done in me.”

When we arrived in Comitán, what we saw surprised us. We had the opportunity to visit a maternity hospital where the local church prepared and gave out food.  We shared testimonies, sang some songs, and listened to a short devotional reflection.  I had never in my life seen such enthusiasm: most of the women came running when they saw us, begging us to pray for them.  We ended up compiling a list of prayer requests and were amazed at their faith.

We continued on to La Trinitaria, and specifically to a colony named Michoacán.  At the house of one of the Nazarene sisters, Ayda, we learned that she had been a church planter most of her life.  In Trinitaria I learned to get past certain limits that I had not even realized that I had.  I also took time to contemplate the greatness of God as many nights I gazed at the sky and sensed his peace.  I was comforted that one day we will be in heaven, and in fact it already is our home; we are part of that reality right now!

In Unión Juárez and Lázaro Cardenas we met church members with beautiful hearts and an incredible willingness to serve.  We visited homes and evangelized there, and we also held evangelistic campaigns.

To finish up our trip we celebrated with a worship service in which the majority of the churches with whom we had ministered were present. There was a testimony time when each brother or sister shared what they had received from God during the three weeks.  It was surprising to see how God had moved in different contexts and through different means, but always with the same objective.

I love God!  During that closing service, he touched my heart.  I could hear that phrase that I had longed to hear, and it filled me completely: “And God created the missionary!”

I know there is still a lot for me to learn.  I am convinced that every day God will guide me and fulfill his promise in me according to his purpose.  For me to be a part of this trip, God had to orchestrate every detail: my schooling, my finances, my family.  Without a doubt, this experience has been a huge blessing in my life.

Our Missionary Brother

Last week we published the report of a missions trip in South Mexico Five Stops, Hundreds of Changed Lives. Today we will share the testimony of one of the teens that served as a volunteer missionary during that cross-cultural experience. If you are interested in this type of activity or in missions in general, let us know in the comment section below!

I’m Abner Gutiérrez Rivera, and I am part of the “Door of Faith” Church of the Nazarene in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, in the Ribera Zone of the Mexico South District.

I want to testify to the fact that my experience thus far in missions has been incredible.  Everything started when I decided to enroll in the Cross-Cultural Missions course, and one of its assignments was to participate in a missions trip in which we would visit five towns in the state of Chiapas during 23 days.

After our Director of Missions and leader of the event, Freivy López, prayed and commissioned us, we started our adventure November 23, 2019.  Up until that moment I had felt quite a bit of uncertainty regarding my missions call.  I got to know the other group members on the trip, and I knew that we were placing ourselves at the service of the Lord during the coming weeks.  Being able to testify to what He has done in my life is incredible!

The first place we visited was Soyatitán, and seeing the excitement that the brothers and sisters of the church had when they received us was amazing.  For the first time, I heard them call me “our missionary brother,” and I wanted to clarify that this was my first experience and that we were all just learning.  I smiled nervously, but inside I was filled with joy because I love serving God like that. However, I was worried that the church members had set their expectations too high upon seeing that they were so eager to meet us.

Something that touched my heart was getting to know some church members that work as Christian clowns in that area and are called: “The Pancholines.”  As they watched us evangelize, they came up to us, invited us to their homes, and donated many materials that they work with in their ministry. The Lord had impressed on them to give us a complete clown costume, make-up, and a lot of games that could be played with the kids.  I learned a big lesson: our God is alive, and he makes all things possible.  All we had up until that point was a little make-up to put on for our kids’ program.  It was incredible to hear the voice of God through the people that received Christ and through the clown ministry.

The second town we came to was Comitán, where we came up against some opposition to our ministry.  The city is predominantly Catholic and tied to tradition, and there was even one Catholic group that had created specific literature designed to contradict evangelicals.  But God was there, giving us his words for every conversation, based on the Scriptures.  Freivy and Pastor David gave us some advice, and we witnessed the fact that the Word of the Lord never returns void.  It was a nice challenge for me, to be sure.

I truly felt the presence of the Lord touching my life and making me understand the entire world’s need to know Him; it was an unforgettable experience. Each night I went up to the roof of the church building to pray and look at the sky, recognizing that he is always present in our lives.

The next area we ministered in was a rural town called Michoacán Colony. It was there that I had to confront several personal discomforts and even fears mainly, for example, due to the large amounts of spiders and cockroaches.  Nevertheless, I learned another lesson: we must depend fully on God and give even those fears to Him.

I was taught a lot in the city of La Trinitaria, because Freivy helped me correct a lot of the ways I had been taught to evangelize.  I am definitely still learning, and I got better going forward. That was certainly a challenge, but God and my teammates helped me in my weakness, making me feel part of a family.

The fourth place we went to was Union Juárez, which was also an incredible experience.  We had the full support of the local church as we ministered through the clown show, and we saw an excellent response from the children as we shared the gospel with them.  We ended up traveling to a community close-by named San Marcos Jalal, where we were able to perceive how God used us in ministry.  For the majority of the children there, it was the first time they had ever seen a clown, and even the first time they had ever heard about Jesus Christ.  There we learned one more tremendous lesson: according to the gifting that you have, God gives you favor before the people you come in contact with and works in your life in incredible ways if you are willing.

The final place we visited was Lázaro Cárdenas. How wonderful to be able to evangelize a person who started out arguing with me but ended up crying and asking the Lord to change his life.  That moment was undeniably transformational in my life as a Christian.

With every new day of the missions trip I felt more and more strengthened by God in my life, and I know that this is my call, my ministry.  I will keep working in order to seek entire sanctification and total dependence on Him.  The neatest thing was remembering that at the start of the trip I had said, “Here am I, send me,” and was open to all that God would call me to do.  And here I am, serving Him.  I can only give thanks to God for protecting us and using us in that time.

A Testimony from Dr. Brent Hulett

A few months ago I had the privilege of meeting our new head of Mobilization for Global Missions in our denomination, Dr. Brent Hulett.  Officially his title is: Coordinator of Engaging and Equipping for the Church of the Nazarene.  He has taken the time to share his testimony and challenge us in the following video.  I hope that this helps you to know him a bit more, but I also would encourage you to share this link with anyone who wants to know more about missions.

I thank God for Brent and other leaders who are guiding us in this vision of engaging and equipping our churches around the world.

 

A Risky Proposition

By Scott Armstrong

I’ve been thinking about the parable of the talents recently.  And it’s making me uneasy.

You know the story, right? Matthew 25 tells us that a man gives one servant five talents, another servant two, and a final servant one.  After a long time away, the master comes back to find that the first two servants had doubled the money (a talent was worth more than a thousand dollars back then; that’s some good investing!). The third worker was cautious. He didn’t waste the money, per se, but he also didn’t invest it.  He buried it, making sure the master got his talent back when he returned; no big deal.

Except it was a big deal!  Judgment came down hard on that guy, including “darkness,” as well as “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

parable-of-talents_800x450-e1432652948829.jpg

I have often heard (and even preached) from this passage that we should be good stewards with our money, taking care of it, and using it wisely for the Kingdom. Those are good principles to adhere to, but that’s not exactly what’s going on in the story.

The parable of the talents is less about “using our talents wisely” than it is about risking it all for the Master and his Kingdom.  I mean, what if the investment strategies of the first two workers had tanked? At least the final servant didn’t lose the thousand bucks! We can explain away the gamble in hindsight, but that was truly a radical decision by those two!

The massive increase of talents for those servants who risked everything isn’t a lesson in wise money management.  It is a call to step out beyond the safe and the conventional in order to live by faith. Putting everything in the hands of God is the best investment we can make, but it will also be a white-knuckling thrill ride in the meantime.

When was the last time you took a jaw-dropping, stomach-churning risk? When was the last time you stepped out in faith to such a degree that you knew it would fail if God was not in it?

There is an amazing moment in the book of Exodus, when the nation of Israel finds itself on the banks of the Red Sea.  Pharaoh’s chariots are fast-approaching, and Moses and his people start begging God to rescue them.  God’s answer is pretty blunt: “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward” (Ex. 14:15).  Forward, God? You mean, into the Red Sea?! Do you see any problem with this?

To put it more bluntly, God was saying, “Stop praying and get moving!”

That’s a message I believe a lot of us need to hear…and obey.  Nevertheless, many Christians are some of the most risk averse people I know.  We’re more concerned with our own safety than with changing the world.  We’d rather be comfortable and go to heaven than share with others so they don’t go to hell.

That’s not the gospel Jesus preaches.  Leonard Sweet says in his book, The Well-Played Life, “Jesus does not want his followers, of whatever age, to hunker down and duck their heads.  Disciples are not called to avoid high-stakes risks and genuine challenges.  A disciple of Jesus operates in the world of risk.  Jesus placed himself in the firing line of history.  Sometimes he calls us to place ourselves in the firing line of history as well” (p. 169).

Signing up to go before firing lines goes against basic sanity and all human instinct to preserve ourselves.  But it seems to fit perfectly in the Kingdom: “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it” (Mt. 16:25).

Are you with me? Then let’s stop burying our talents and start daringly investing them. Let’s stop complaining about the army behind us and step into the Red Sea in front of us.  Firing lines and a transformed world await.