Mutiplying ministry over many decades: Checkpoint Autumn 2021
Posted on: 19th February 2021
CMS missionaries Adrian and Anita Lovell are Bible teachers who are committed to giving a vision of God’s great plan to the Spanish-speaking world. Here they share a small part of a long story.
MOCLAM began as a course in Australia as part of a plan to introduce people to God’s big picture, revealed in the Bible. That story was the Bible’s vision of how God worked to bring this creation into new creation, through the work of Christ. The course was originally in English: it has now become available in Spanish and is being used throughout the Spanish-speaking world.
The first MOCLAM class began in 1983. Since then, former CMS missionaries Grahame and Patty Scarratt have invested nearly 30 years of their lives into translating, teaching, and speaking of this ‘big Bible picture’—both in Latin America and on their return to Australia.
Grahame and Patty to Peter
CMS missionary Peter Sholl (now a CMS Regional Mission Director) became Director of MOCLAM in 2009. Through connections at his church in Monterrey, Mexico, Peter met Rolando, a pastor in Tampico, Mexico about 500km away.
Peter to Rolando
Rolando wanted to study and had a group of leaders ready to join him. Over an 11-year period, Peter travelled to Tampico 20 times, teaching the first part of a subject and then leaving the group to keep going with the course on their own.
Rolando to many
That original group of 10 or so students have now finished their Certificate in Theology—18 subjects! Rolando is now teaching the courses to others throughout his network of newly planted churches in north-eastern Mexico.
Adrian and Anita Lovell began serving with MOCLAM in Bolivia in 2011. Karla, a youth leader, was in one of their first groups. She continued studying and has now completed six subjects. For the past three years, Karla has been speaking with the pastors and elders of her church about the depth and quality of the courses. Last year Adrian spoke to the church elders, and earlier this year they too began studying the first MOCLAM subject, with the aim of teaching the courses themselves, to the leaders within the church. Through steady, long-term investment in people all over Bolivia, there are now groups of pastors and leaders studying MOCLAM courses in many locations and denominations.
Peter Sholl taught the first MOCLAM course in Chile in 2011. He presented the course to the GBU (the University Bible Group, part of IFES, the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students). Peter continued to visit Chile and in 2012 met Francisco, a student leader.
Francisco studied MOCLAM subjects, then trained at the Centre for Pastoral Studies in Santiago. He now works as a GBU staff-worker and a pastor in Viña del Mar, Chile. The relationship with the GBU in Chile developed: that legacy of trust led to CMS missionary Chris Overhall’s appointment in 2018 as MOCLAM Regional Director for Chile. Chris says “there’s a great level of trust in MOCLAM… because of the long-term relational investment”.
In 2016, Peter, Adrian and Anita visited Peru to participate in a pastors’ conference. It quickly became obvious that many Peruvian Christians wanted the opportunity to study with MOCLAM. In 2018, and building on the relationships developed at that first conference, CMS missionaries Nick and Kysha Davies accepted the roles of regional directors for Peru. One group of pastors who Nick and Kysha have taught over the last two years have now started teaching others in their churches as well as teaching MOCLAM material at the annual pastors’ conference.
MOCLAM has also grown in Spain under John Lovell,1 who served as the Anglican pastor in Valencia, Spain from 2011 to 2019 and as the Regional Director for MOCLAM. That ministry continues, including the possibility of translation into Braille, which would enable Spanish-speaking Christians with visual impairments, to study God’s word. CMS missionary Tanja French says, “This only happens through God’s grace and long-term relationships and trust. We are thankful that CMS and their supporters invest in long-term missionaries in Spain!”
No miracles—just steady growth
The growth of MOCLAM has not been miraculous, but rather in the slow and steady investment of missionaries in building trust with local leaders over four decades. This last year has marked a ‘changing of the guard’ within the MOCLAM team as John Lovell finished up as the Regional Director in Spain and Peter Sholl as the International Director. Adrian Lovell has now taken on the role of International Director. The current MOCLAM team was formed by, and remains committed to, a long-term vision to equip local leaders to faithfully teach God’s word. We are backed by others who share this commitment, praying and providing for us to serve the Spanish-speaking world for as long as we are able.
Adrian and Anita know that some people have been praying for the ministry of MOCLAM for four decades. Will you join them in praying now and into the future?
Until the end of 2020, CMS Regional Mission Director Peter Sholl was the International Director of MOCLAM. See his perspective on ministry at cms.org.au/more-on-MOCLAM