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Theological education flourishes in Latin America

Following centuries of influence from the Roman Catholic Church, Latin America is a place where God’s name is known, the Bible is acknowledged as his Word and some level of dependence on him in daily life is accepted. But the vast majority of people do not have a personal and saving faith in the Lord Jesus. CMS missionary Peter Sholl (with Sarah) shares how MOCLAM is equipping the growing church in Latin America to know Jesus through his word.

Latin America is a field ripe for the harvest, and many groups are taking up this challenge through church planting, evangelism and holistic mission. Many of the great cities of Latin America host events promoting messages of prosperity, healing and liberation from oppression with well-known speakers and slickly packaged materials.

In the midst of this complicated context, God is raising up people who value the careful and thoughtful study of his word, and the application of that study to their life and ministry. MOCLAM, like the Centre for Pastoral Studies in Chile, is playing an important part in this training. MOCLAM’s flexible study-by-distance model allows people in many different circumstances and places to study high quality theological education materials in their own locations and contexts.

Supporting ministry training

MOCLAM courses equip students for gospel ministry. In April 2015, CMS missionaries Adrian and Anita Lovell taught ‘Nuevo Testamento 1’ (New Testament 1) to a group of 20 young trainee evangelists and ministers in the small town of Tacna in southern Peru. These amazing young people from diverse backgrounds, with varying levels of education spend two or three years in different cities throughout South America for blocks of six months at a time, helping local churches and developing new ministries, and receiving training and encouragement. The MOCLAM courses help stretch and prepare the students to be ministers of the gospel – now and in the future. At the end of the week’s teaching one student exclaimed, “Wow! All the stories of the Bible fit together to reveal God’s plan to save his world!”

Bearing fruit

My wife, Sarah, and I make up the ‘other half’ of the MOCLAM team. From my home in Monterrey, Mexico, I visit many MOCLAM groups all over the Spanish-speaking world. I love seeing church leaders in Latin America grasp the importance of high-quality training in God’s word through the MOCLAM courses. Leaders like Ronaldo – a Presbyterian minister in Tampico, Mexico, who’s class is made up of leaders and pastors from his and other churches. When I visit every three months, we spend the day working through the first few lessons of their next MOCLAM subject. The participants continue to meet in small groups for the next two months, then do their homework and exam. Praise God that from this group, new groups run by Ronaldo and his colleagues have now sprung up, independent of me!

These are just two examples of how God is working to grow his Church in Latin America. He is using MOCLAM to encourage people to know him better through the study of his word, and as a result, to serve the church better.

GO

As you praise God for the ways he is using MOCLAM to strengthen leaders for the church in Latin America, consider whether God could be calling you to join the MOCLAM team. Contact your local branch or visit cms.org.au/go.