We just returned from the annual pastor’s retreat for the CMA here in Venezuela. It began with an adventurous car ride to the retreat including a blockade and protest, torrential tropical rains, and getting our directions to the retreat location by asking about 7 different people from the pueblo at the base of the mountain where it was held. We were so thankful to travel with one of our local pastors and his leaders as he was our guide and fearless leader as we wound our way through this beautiful countryside! In other words, we would have been terribly lost without him!
The weekend together was rich. Our colleagues from the island led us through teaching of the word and through prayer and reflection times. We love spending time with them and being able to see them loving on and ministering to the leaders here. A father and son from Maracay along with Chris, led us in worship. The worship times were a highlight for us as the most Spirit-filled worship times we have had here in Venezuela. Perhaps, our hearts are beginning to catch up with the language…but there was definitely a special anointing and unity amongst all of us and we are so thankful to be able to share in this time.
While it is a “child-free” weekend, we were invited to bring our boys with us as we didn’t have anyone with whom they could stay in the city. In the end, there was another 4 year old boy and a baby. It was a hard weekend for our boys but it was good they were able to go. We also found it hard and tiring as our hearts and minds were in a lot of directions at once but I am SO thankful for the love that everyone extended to them. After the retreat was over, 3 of the pastors took Chris and the boys on an epic hike high above the camp where we had been staying. It was a highlight for the boys and those men have a special place in the boys’ hearts.
A highlight for us this year was the number of younger leaders that the lead pastors brought with them this year. It is exciting to see the development of these young men and women and to see their love and sacrifice and enthusiasm for Jesus.
There were pastors and leaders from about 10 of the 14 churches here in the country.