Good Friends, it is Friday, August 12, 2016. In about three weeks, it will be 32 years that Edna and I landed at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, to begin the journey of my/our call to ministry.
Their names are Octaviano, Leticia, Jose Luis, Sara and Raul. These five individuals are local pastors in various annual conferences all over the United States. Four were born in Mexico with one from Cuba, and all immigrated to accept positions in local churches where the entire worship service is in Spanish. Jose Luis, the lone one, was a pastor in Cuba for about 17 years. He works in the conference office with the area of ministry that deals with Spanish language churches, helping as a new church start director.
From 1984 to 1988, I was enrolled in Perkins as a Master of Divinity student. It was a great experience with phenomenal professors in theology, evangelism and church administration. When I walked the hallways as a student I dreamt of one day teaching a class there. That dream became fulfilled in an invitation from the director of the Course of Study for the school, Reverend Paul T. Barton, PhD. I was invited to teach Church Polity and Governance. In short, how does one understand how the local church is structured (committees, boards, councils, etc.) and administrated. For 10 days, 20 contact hours, these five brave souls listened, shared with me as I with them, various elements of the local church.
I was so richly blessed by their passion for the church and encouraged so much for them as pastors. Lest I forget, all written assignments and class discussions were ALL IN SPANISH. Please note, my primary language is English, although I grew up in a Spanish language church in Corpus Christi, Texas, El Buen Pastor UMC.
I was challenged by the language. They were challenged by my language challenge. At the end, it was better than good. It was great!
My ten days went by quickly. I am a better person because of them and I give thanks to God for a calling upon their lives. They give me hope for our United Methodist Church.
You just never know what God might do when you walk down the hallway of a school thinking about what could be possible. You just might show up one day, years later, and be an instrument of what God is doing.
Soli Deo Gloria (To God Alone Glory) and Blessings from Duncanville,
PS: The cross in the background was in Perkins Chapel from the school’s beginning, until a recent renovation of the chapel moved it to its current location. Also don’t forget that this Sunday is Hawaiian shirt Sunday. See you there!