This past May, 94 precious souls gave their lives to Jesus in an evangelistic pastoral exchange between the Nevada-Utah Conference (NUC) Hispanic pastors and the Asociacion del Oriente Colombiano (Eastern Colombian Conference). A group of seven pastors and a doctor arrived in Colombia on May 17 to visit natural and historic landmarks as they made their way to the city of Bucaramanga. The group from NUC were hosted by local pastors and conference officials. Eight weeklong evangelistic meetings began on May 21. During this time, the church members and friends who attended the meetings were fed the spiritual manna that led to the baptisms; several more are planning to be baptized soon.
This exchange was the result of an agreement between both conferences that began before the pandemic. Eight Colombian pastors visited our territory last February, resulting in 42 people giving their lives to Jesus during that series of meetings. Many more will continue to study and make the commitment to Christ because of that evangelism effort.
Benjamin Carballo, NUC Hispanic ministry coordinator, shared his insight: “The evangelistic exchange with the Eastern Colombian Conference in Bucaramanga was not just a trip for eight pastors to preach but has been an effort to strengthen ties of friendship in the ministry, to learn about the diversity and multiculturalism of our church, to look at and admire the way the work is done beyond our conference, to enliven the joy of evangelistic preaching in each pastor, and to grow in vision of church and mission. The view widens and the spirit in service increases. An evangelistic exchange with a field outside the United States will always bring new life to our pastors.”
Also blessed by the experience, Pastor Ricardo Vargas from the Camino a Cristo church district shared, “It was very motivating to see the enthusiasm of the churches in the work of preaching the gospel. Observing the faces of the people every night during the preaching and witnessing the work of the Holy Spirit is something that strengthens the call to this sacred ministry as a pastor.”
Evangelistic exchanges like these are very enriching, both personally and in ministerial work. Pastors can see different perspectives and learn valuable lessons from their colleagues as well as from the churches they minister to. Great lessons are learned that can be applied to enhance their work with their congregations. Such experiences result in great blessings for our churches both in Colombia and the Nevada-Utah Conference. The mission field in Colombia as well as the team of Hispanic pastors in the NUC are very grateful to the administration of the conference for making this possible.
By Noreen Vargas