by Daniel L. Sonnenberg, Regional Director: Latin America, Timothy Two Project International
National Missionary Partner Helmuth Aguilar has been stranded in Chile, South America for many months because of COVID-19. In early March he departed from his home and wife Hilda in El Salvador, Central America. He planned to teach six workshops in three cities during March, April and May then return home. However, he will not be able to return home until October 1, and then only if all the necessary airports are open. But he has made the most of his time during the long delay.
Helmuth began teaching Workshop 3 in person in the city of Osorno, Chile on the eve of the country’s shut-down in late March. Unfortunately, by the time the workshop was finished, the airports were closed and he could not return home. Fortunately, since he grew up in Chile, his elderly mother is still living in a nearby city. So he hunkered down with her for the next several months.
After the quarantine was underway and everyone was isolated in their homes, he began hearing from the students who had just completed Workshop 3. They were anxious to complete the fourth and final workshop of the series, and they did not want to wait another year until he could return.
Though he knew that it’s preferable to teach Timothy Two workshops in person, he gradually developed an alternative method to teach the final workshop. First, he printed the workbooks and had the workshop coordinator distribute them to the students in their homes. Second, he instructed the students to study the twenty-one lessons privately, write a summary of each lesson and write out the answers all the review questions and application questions. This they did during April and May.
Third, he had observed that the host church was using Zoom to conduct their worship services. So he decided to conclude teaching Workshop 4 using Zoom. He met online with the students during June and July for one hour each evening for twenty-one days to discuss with them the content of the lessons as well as their answers to the review questions and application questions. They met for only one hour each time because many of the students’ homes had no heat. (It’s currently winter in the southern hemisphere.) Fourth, he selected three of the lesson topics for each student to write out a reflection paper to use in prayer meetings, ladies’ meetings and Bible study meetings. Each student then made an audio recording of their papers and delivered them to Helmuth. Finally, in August he held a virtual graduation ceremony in which each student was awarded a certificate to celebrate and confirm the completion of the entire series of four workshops.
Following are excerpts from the speech of one of the students during the graduation ceremony.
We thank you for sending us Pastor Helmuth Aguilar Navarro, to deliver this teaching so necessary and important for our spiritual life and thus also to motivate ourselves to evangelism, a task to which we are all called, especially in recent times. In this pandemic, it has been a very different study experience, but, no less important and necessary for our spiritual and personal lives, being, in a way, ministered by his Holy Spirit and strengthened in his Word through the series of studies, “Growing in Grace,” from Timothy Two Project International. I wish on behalf of my fellow students, to thank God for having blessed us with the opportunity to study the teaching of the Word of God. We hope every day to put it into practice in our lives as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. Thank you very much. Blessings.Allejandra andrea Vargas Lespi
Following are excerpts from the speech by the host church pastor during the graduation ceremony.
As Pastor of the host church, First Church of Christ, Osorno, first, my thanks to the team of Timothy Two Project International for the basic doctrines seminar, “Growing in Grace.” This series has been a great blessing for this select group of 13 students and my wife as a means of motivation and support for our brothers and sisters. It has been a wonderful adventure that has given them new tools to develop and improve the work in their ministries and to learn new approaches to many life issues both social and moral. This project has given us valuable tools, has equipped us and has given us a fresh vision for ministry.
We thank Pastor Dan Sonnenberg, Latin America Regional Director, for deciding to send this seminar to South America and for having chosen us to complete it. Thank you also [to Founder and International Director Steve Curtis] for the many days of study, work and research to provide us the material [in the four workbooks] that guided our learning.
I wish to make special mention of our project facilitator, Pastor Helmuth Aguilar Navarro, who guided us and motivated and encouraged the study of the Word – for his travels [from El Salvador twice during the past two years] to teach these classes in person and this last class online.
Finally, I wish to thank the program coordinator of the series, my wife, Pastor Ema Aguilar Navarro. We are grateful for all the management, motivation and coordination of the studies and recruitment of the students without which the successful completion of our seminar would not have been possible.
May the God of love bless your lives, keep you and encourage you in your ministries until the day the Lord comes for your church or for our lives. Thank you for joining us for this simple, but meaningful day.Pastor Edio Carcammo Oyarzo
Please keep Helmuth in your prayers for a successful and soon return to his home and wife Hilda in El Salvador.