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I’m sorry Sir, but you may not board the plane yet,” said the Lloyd Aero Boliviano stewardess.

But when we got off you said we would only be here in Panama for 15 minutes, and that was over an hour ago,” replied a very weary Tim.

In 15 minutes we will call for re-boarding.

But my wife is on the plane…can’t I even go on and get my wallet so I can buy something to drink?

I’m afraid not sir.

So we went to Paraguay to meet with him and the RAICES steering committee to see whether we could partner to produce on-line training.

Tim, Felix and Nahum playing around
Tim, Felix and Nahum showing the mark of a good youth
leader.   Felix is the author and youth ministry
expert from Spain, and Nahum is our online
course developer and illustrator.

The outcome of those meetings is that an introduction to the program will appear on our web site in October and the first training modules will be available by January ‘03.   Online students will even be able to get seminary credit for these courses.   I’m sure you’ll hear a lot more about this project as it develops, but we are thrilled as we watch God put pieces together that he has been preparing over the years - our web team in Mexico; a curriculum developer and youth ministry “expert” in Spain; a pastor and leadership specialist in Argentina; a visionary from Costa Rica whose life passion is see Latin American youth leaders trained and equipped.

So in a 10-day period we made huge advances in our yearly goals that we shared with you at the beginning of this year:

  • Our contact with the conference attendees helped us continue learning about the context and needs of the church throughout Latin America.

  • In terms of networking, we not only are partnering with RAICES in terms of the Internet training, but they invited us to be on the RAICES steering committee.

Tim speaking at conference
Tim expounding the many virtues of our web site

  • Also, two of the RAICES speakers have agreed to join Felix as columnists on so we can continue to broaden the quality resources we provide.
  • We were also able to publicize the website with the youth leaders at the conference, so the week after we got home the number of registered users rose by 100 people in a week and those from Paraguay jumped from 17 to 47, which may sound insignificant, but user has a the opportunity to impact numerous youth, and their families, and their friends, and their countries, and so on.

Thank you for accompanying us on this adventure...
Annette on volcano with flowers

This story does have a happy ending as an hour later Tim was reunited with both his wallet and his wife (who slept through the whole Panama delay) and several hours later we concluded our 26-hour travel odyssey without incident. (click for slideshow)

tim snoozing in Bolivia
Tim napping in the Santa Cruz, Bolivia airport. We
had the "privilege" of spending 10 hours in this
35 by 100 foot area that we affectionately
named the "human corral of Santa Cruz"

Why, you ask, did we spend 54 hours traveling from Toluca, Mexico to Rancho Alegre (“Happy Ranch”), Paraguay and back with two of our Mexican colleagues?   Believe me we also asked ourselves that question many times during those long hours.   Even during the planning of the trip we wondered if there weren’t an easier or cheaper way to do the same thing, but God has been creating so many diverse and good things as a result of our trip, that we know it was His plan.

Annette and Veronica on the plane
Annette and Vero, very tired after a night of
little sleep on the airplane

For years we have been praying and dreaming about providing quality ministry training via the internet for youth leaders in Latin America.  Over the past year we have produced courses and tutorials towards that end, but we did not have comprehensive program from which to work.   At the *RAICES conference last year we began talking with Felix Ortiz - a Spaniard who already publishes monthly articles on our web site and who has developed college level curriculum for youth ministry - about the possibility of using his materials as the base for our training.

>>continue to the of the second column>>

* RAICES means roots.  It’s the name of a youth ministry training movement in Latin America

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