Greetings from Bolivia!
The Regional Leadership Forum for our Latin American fields of Mexico, Venzla, Colombia, Paraguay, Brazil and Bolivia ended yesterday and I have some time this afternoon to tell you about it before I leave for the airport at 11 PM and fly to Panama, then connect in Chicago to my last flight to Austin.
I just realized that our last series of letters to you all were sent back in April, when we were reporting the story of Danny Barrios illness and her home-going to Heaven.
Forgive me for not keeping you more updated. We’ve been a little busy.
My dad, Glenn Irwin, took a tumble on the night of April 22nd and broke his femur. This happened as he was walking out to his car after a birthday gathering for my brother, Dave, at his house in San Jose, California. Dad didn’t want an ambulance, so they took him home and with the aid of a wheelbarrow, got him from the car to his recliner where he spent the night. But the next morning, when he couldn’t put any weight on his right leg, they did call an ambulance and learned that it was fractured vertically, so he was operated on and now has a fancy new titanium rod in his femur.
My brother, Richard, offered to drive up from LA and help, so my mom took him up on that offer. Once Dad was ready to come home in early May, I flew out to California and took a turn helping out.
While I was in San Jose, I had the privilege of sharing about our ministry with the senior ABF class of Church on the Hill.
In God’s providence, my sister, Sandy, and her husband Lowell already had a visit to San Jose planned, so they carried on when I returned home. Dad is now able to get around quite well with a walker and he’s driving again, though only when totally necessary.
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After my return to Texas, I began preparing for this Latin American Regional Leadership Forum in Bolivia. I had asked the speakers who would be presenting various topics to send me their PowerPoint (PPT) presentations and notes so that I could translate them in advance.
I was still working on text translation on my July 14 flight to Santa Cruz, Bolivia, and in the “free” times for the first several days of the Forum, although I did take time out on the 15th to watch the final match of the World Cup of Soccer along with the rest of the guys here at the Ethnos missionary training center.
All told, I ended up translating six sets of speaking notes and six PPTs from English to Spanish and one set of speaking notes from Spanish to English.
B y the time everyone arrived for the forum, we had more than 70 people representing all the Latin American fields associated with Global Partners, which is the international fellowship of mission organizations whose roots go back to the old NTM, such as Nuevos Horizontes in Colombia, Missao Novas Tribus of Brazil and Ethnos here in Bolivia.
Each one of these is led by a leadership team, since we follow a model of plurality of leaders, and many of those team members came, plus other invitees, including national pastors. Several of the international leaders of Global Partners came as well to give these teams support and guidance.
As you might imagine, there were times of spiritual encouragement and exhortation and sessions on practical matters affecting leaders of mission organizations. We sang together, shared burdens and discussed issues, strategies and methods with one another, ate together, slept in dorm rooms, took cold showers (water heater wasn’t working) joked around a lot and even played a little sports.
My jobwas to interpret from English to Spanish, or Spanish to English, as the speakers were presenting their sessions from 8 AM — 1 PM every morning and during the discussion times in the afternoons from 2:15 — 4 PM. I had a microphone connected to a little FM transmitter into which I spoke and the people who needed to hear the translation used little transistor radios or their cell phones with FM receivers to listen.
Ed Emsheimer did the same for the Portuguese speakers from Brazil.
It was a very encouraging and edifying time and a time of wonderful fellowship, reconnecting with old friends from Colombia and Mexico and making many new friends and learning about what God is doing through them.
Lots of the attendees have thanked me for making it possible for them to understand the sessions, both English and Spanish-speakers, and I want to pass the thanks along to you, and to the Lord.
When I get back to Leander, Texas, it will be time to pack our bags for our trip to Nova Scotia to visit Esther and Curtis and our grandchildren, Natalie, Reuben, Kaylee and Kegan. We’re really looking forward to that!
Thanks again for your faithful partnership with us. May the Lord bless and keep you and supply all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus.