November 2006 - Vol. 2

Training for Victory!
equipping pastoral leaders to win the spiritual battle for the hearts and minds of young people today

by David Mijares

Two recent events for pastoral leaders and youth workers from Spanish-speaking communities of the Sword of the Spirit took place in Guatemala City, Guatemala and Monterrey, Mexico.
Training for Missionary Leaders
Some eighty of us pastoral leaders, including coordinators and senior women leaders from the Spanish-speaking communities of the Sword of the Spirit, gathered for four days, September 17-20, in Guatemala City to receive training and support in their service of helping young people grow in Christian discipleship and maturity. The training program was organized by “Juventud de Cristo en Misión” (Christ's Youth on Mission) – the youth program of the Ibero-american Region of the Sword of the Spirit that offers help to communities in their work with young people. The event was hosted by the local community Dios Refugio y Fortaleza.

The Ibero-american Region made an effort to have their main leaders attend to take a step forward in imparting the same vision and fostering unity among us all. Also attending were the “JCM [Juventud de Cristo en Misión] Missionaries”, who are adult leaders trained to help communities in the work with young people and are officially part of the community building teams that serve in the Ibero-american Region.The three Regional Youth Center Directors were present and were the main speakers of the training conference: Lucas Pérez, from “Àrbol de Vida” (San José, Costa Rica), Borys Ortiz from “Jesús es el Señor” (Quito, Ecuador) and myself from “Jésed” (Monterrey, Mexico).

Prophetic word from the Lord

What does God want from the youth leaders of the Ibero-american Region (IAR) of the Sword of the Spirit? And God`s word was: “My sons and daughters, I am rejuvenating your hearts for the mission that I have entrusted you. Today I am giving you a new love for those whom you are serving… I am rejuvenating your first love for your God and your brothers. My sons and my daughters: I want you to know that I am calling you to war, to an unprecedented war. You are in a time of war and I want to use you to open a breach…offer to me your families, your children… I am calling you to lead my young ones as pastors of my flock.” 

Some of the themes that were addressed were: “The Training Program for Youth Coordinators and JCM [Juventud de Cristo en Misión] Missionaries (the curriculae)”, “How to do a Pastoral Visit to a Community”, “How to Make a Report of Your Visit”, “The Role of the Senior Woman Leader in the Outreach”, “How to Use the ‘D7’ (Discipleship Meditations to aid in important decision making)”, “How to Care for Servants of the Word Affiliates in Communities Where There are no Servants of the Word Households”, “How to Promote Living Single for the Lord amog Women”, promotion of the JCM webpage, etc.

During these 3 days we all experience a renewal in our service, a certainty of the call God had given us to serve our young people and better equipped to win the spiritual battle that daily faces our youth and youth leaders. To God be the glory!

Tenth anniversary of the “Brecha Program” (Ibero-american Region Standing in the Gap Program)
20 August 2006, Monterrey, México

A dream come true!
We celebrated the tenth anniversary of “la Brecha” (Gap Program), a program for voluntary missionaries, mainly for post-university men and women. It was a very special and close to our hearts occasion for many of us. Once we had a dream of being able to offer to our young people the opportunity to give up a year of service to the Lord and his people (mainly within the context of the Sword of the Spirit communities), a chance to respond to the invitation of God to make heroic sacrifices that could make a difference in people’s lives. Now, after 10 years, we see this dream already a reality among us. More than 140 young people have participated in this program already!

And we continue to dream, but most importantly, we have the conviction from the Lord that we should continue to invest more, and further develop the program to be able to have between 60 to 80 gappers every year among our communities in the Ibero-american Region. As a support for this vision for the “Brecha Program”, the Ibero-american Regional Council, in it’s meeting in Quito, Ecuador, in September 2005, approved this development for the program in the coming years. Some of the decisions that were made include:

With this vision in our hearts and full of gratitude to the Lord for these first 10 years, “Gappers,” “Ex-Gappers,” friends and collaborators came together in a beautiful place in the city of Monterrey, México, this past August 20th to celebrate this dream of God. In the midst of an atmosphere of joy and brotherly love, we all began this celebration with a time of thanksgiving to God for his mercy and provision. After the meal, we enjoyed two presentations with videos and many photos that testified to the work of God during this past decade. Following the presentations, there was a time to honor and thank those who have contributed pastorally and financially to the program. We concluded the event with a sharing session of photos from the past 10 years, which evoked in all of us many pleasant memories.

Thank you Lord for these 10 years of grace! Continue to complete your dream, which is also now our dream, that one day we may see a great majority of our young people participate in the Brecha Program and receive the grace that comes from serving you and from serving our brothers and sisters in the Lord!

[David Mijares is an elder of The Servants of the Word and coordinator in Jesed, Monterrey, Mexico]

(c) copyright 2006 The Sword of the Spirit
publishing address: Park Royal Business Centre, 9-17 Park Royal Road, Suite 36, London NW10 7LQ, United Kingdom