It was during the rainy season in the lush mountains of Nicaragua when Sam Hale and I taught and ministered with Central American Young Life’s top leaders.
Each afternoon, the cloud hovering above us — sometimes close enough to touch — would pour forth: a few afternoons with fury; sometimes with a gentle steady soaking.
Rain of Grace and Power
The Holy Spirit’s work during this trip seemed to unfold in a similar fashion: we observed Him steadily “pouring” into these young and spiritually passionate leaders – bringing real breakthroughs and kairos moments at times for certain individuals, at others times for the group as a whole.
Leaders from Many Nations
Young Life’s National Directors and Area Directors from Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama and Costa Rica all took part in the retreat. We heard exciting news of YoungLife beginning in Cuba and Mexico.
They function like pastors for their teams of younger leaders.
The Weight of Ministry
All carry a heavy weight of responsibility: many balancing marriage, small children, and needs and requests from extended family.
During our winter trips for the ministry-wide training schools, these friends are teaching and leading various classes for the newer leaders, serving in administrative roles and often participating in prayer ministry with the leaders they bring.
At this retreat, they get to just receive.
Pastoral Care and Encouragement
Sam and I attempted to cooperate with the Spirit primarily in the areas of pastoral care and encouragement. We adapted the material from Growing the Church in the Power of the Holy Spirit, translated it into Spanish, and printed off copies of PowerPoint slides for each participant.
Our stress was on using the “dance of cooperation with the Spirit” as a paradigm for a team of leaders.
Much Needed Cultural Teaching on Discernment
For many of our students, this basic content was a review. Much of our class time was spent in group interaction where they shared stories and experiences, which we would ‘process’ as teachable moments for the group.
For example, one area director shared about his brother being prayed for by a woman who ‘received guidance’ that he and his wife were going to die in a motorcycle wreck. Understandably, they became worried, so the woman then gave them an amulet to carry to ‘prevent’ this.
(This was in the context of teaching the four discernment questions, but led into a class discussion about amulets/objects.)
Latin American Pentecostal leaning churches (in many cases) do not encourage or teach discernment, so the Young Life staff who invite us appreciate what we bring to the table in this area.
Love, Intercession, Self-Care, and Worship
Experiencing the Father’s Love
During the teaching on ‘context of love’ Sam began to teach on and embody the Father’s love for our students, many of whom do not know their fathers or have experienced much brokenness in this area.
Many had experiences of the Father’s love.
God Recruits an Intercessor
We saw God recruit an intercessor. A young woman who serves on the admin staff began ‘hearing’ a phrase in her mind during the first night’s evening session.
She spoke to me about why she kept “hearing” then praying for a “hedge of protection” for the speaker, the hearers, and even the place.
I was then able to do a mini explanation about intercession and I invited her to serve as an intercessor for the next morning’s session.
Afterwards, in debriefing with her, it was amazing to hear the guidance she had received and prayed into, especially since intercession and receiving words from the Lord were new concepts for her.
Encouraging Women Leaders to Practice Self Care
I led a time of teaching with the women staff on physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of self-care. We included discussion of what this might look like in different cultural contexts.
For example, many of them who share living space with multiple extended family members must go to a park or walk around their neighborhood to get time alone.
Worship and Prayer for Refreshing
On Thursday night during worship, Sam taught on Jesus doing ministry in the power of the Spirit. Three prayer teams prayed with folks to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit or a re-filling or refreshing from the Spirit for the season of ministry ahead.
Opportunities to Partner in Prayer
Thanks to everyone who prayed for us!
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to pray for upcoming trips in mid-November (group of local churches) or December (two ministry-wide training camps for YoungLife).