Handing Off the Baton
The 2016 General Conference gave its approval to create the Established Regional Conference of Ibero-America. The 19 countries that will make up this regional conference are working together to be ready to “receive the baton” of leadership from Global Partners once the final approval is given by the International Conference of The Wesleyan Church in 2019.
LATINO REGIONAL DIRECTORS
After the 2016 General Conference, Dr. Dennis Jackson, Executive Director of Global Partners, named the following men to serve as regional directors:
- Dr. Benjamin Galarce of Puerto Rico to oversee the work in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico;
- Rev. Luis Azofeifa of Costa Rica to oversee the work in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Spain in Europe, and Equatorial Guinea in Africa;
- Rev. Carlos Martinez of Chile to oversee the work in Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru.
These men, along with Rev. Jose McKella of Panama who serves as the Ibero-America area treasurer and myself (Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela), are responsible to coordinate and unite area-wide ministry for world impact. The ministry has been entrusted to them as “reliable men [who are] qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2 NIV).
For the last few years, Dr. Galarce guided ministry in the Dominican Republic and sent mission teams from Puerto Rico. In 2016 he visited Cuba’s national conference, and he returned to Cuba this past January. In 2016 Rev. Azofeifa visited Bolivia and sent seven pastors from Chile to Peru to minister in several congregations. He visited El Salvador in 2016 during their annual pastors’ retreat. This year he ministered to pastors and churches in Nicaragua and Guatemala. Over the past few years, Rev. McKella brought together, on three occasions, church leaders from around the area for training in biblical stewardship—helping former mission fields learn to develop their God-given resources to become a future missionary force.
Area and national leaders are connected through social media—sharing encouragement, messages, and prayer requests. On any given day, it is not unusual to see people from 10-15 countries who are encouraging one another with testimonies and praying for each other’s needs.
As part of the baton-passing process, the regional leaders plan to visit Indiana in May 2017 to spend two days with General Superintendent Dr. Wayne Schmidt and Dr. Dennis Jackson to forge long-term mentoring relationships. Plans have also been made for them to visit Global Partners’ Fotizo people ministry in the Turkic/Arabic Muslim area in 2017. They will be part of a second Ibero-America area group to observe and learn about beliefs and life in this Muslim culture and how Ibero- America Wesleyans would be most effective as ambassadors representing Jesus Christ.
JIBACAM is a Spanish acronym used to refer to the Ibero-America area’s mission board. The first area mission conference was held in a Puerto Rican local church in 1996. Since then 10 additional areawide conferences have taken place throughout the Ibero-America area. The next conference is planned to be held in Bogota, Colombia, from October 10-14, 2017. The JIBACAM board is developing training and strategies based on four identified pillars:
This training will help our area as they pass the baton not only to future generations but also to future disciples of Christ in other lands.