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.
In mid-June, I received a passionate request for prayer from Pastor Reynaldo Rubio, one of Timothy Two Project International’s indigenous National Missionary Partners in Peru.
In late August, I received an update informing me that he and other members of his family have all suffered from COVID-19. Though the worst is now past, they are still recovering from the effects of the virus. For that reason, and because the virus is continuing to spread in Peru, he has postponed teaching workshops he began last year. However, his spirit is undaunted because of his faith in Christ. Read the account of this experience in his own words below.
Reynaldo Rubio and his wife Nery
Hello brother Dan, thank you for your email and for your constant concern for us. Here is a summary of what has happened in these days.
More than a month ago I had the symptoms of COVID-19 and also my wife. The government came to my house to test us for COVID. My wife and my two children and my mother-in-law came out negative, but they were unreliable tests. So since I am a diabetic they gave me another test. The molecular test then came out positive, and in fact we are all infected. I have experienced symptoms such as fever, body aches, cough, diarrhea, and others. And for more than a week I have been in bed. Thanks to the Lord and his mercy I have been able to endure all of this and now I am recovering. It has not been necessary to go to the hospital, and the truth is that it is more dangerous to go to the hospital since the majority who have gone have not returned. So while at home I have taken the medicines prescribed by the doctor and I am much better, though of course with some pain. My wife and children have also followed the treatment, although my wife is a little more delicate. The Lord has been good to us, and we are still standing. But many of our acquaintances have departed for eternity.
Now I am recovering, but still with some care since COVID-19 continues to cause many casualties in our country. The country’s economy is just starting back up, but is still under the risk of weakening again because of the contagion. There are a lot of unemployed people. There is a quarantine, but only on Sundays, and there are still no services in the churches.
I want to thank you for the offering. Once again the grace of the Lord is manifested through you. We are very grateful to the Lord for our sustenance and this encourages us a lot to continue serving.
Regarding continuing to teach Timothy Two in Peru, there is still an impediment to travel within the country, especially to certain places where the contagion of COVID-19 has increased. Unfortunately the two places where I have taken the project – the cities of Chiclayo and Ica – are places with a high rate of infections and deaths. We are praying that the Lord will open the doors to restart our work in those places.
Thank you for being in contact with us. We will continue to pray for Timothy Two Ministry. God will finally do his work in Peru and everywhere. And our desire and our attitude will always be to serve him with all our hearts.
Since March, it has not been safe to travel into Latin America to teach Timothy Two workshops because of COVID-19. So I sought another way to continue training pastors and ministry leaders there. Following are the methods I used to learn Zoom and to conduct my first three workshops in Ecuador, Colombia and the Dominican Republic during July and August.
Setting up and learning Zoom
Before beginning the workshops, I set up a Zoom account and received two lessons from my niece, Libby Eiholzer. She has been using Zoom over the past several months to meet with her colleagues in the Cornell Cooperative Extension. I also watched a number of YouTube videos on the subject. Then I met with the Ecuador workshop coordinator several times to practice using Zoom with an interpreter. Finally, I upgraded my Zoom account from “Basic” to “Licensed.” This enabled me to meet with more than one person at a time and more than 40 minutes at a time.
Assessing the situation in each city
Before we began each particular workshop, I asked the coordinator to assess the situation in his city by inquiring whether each participant was able to connect online or not. After a consensus was reached about how we would meet, I held a test meeting with the coordinator, interpreter and some of the participants. And during the meeting we explained to the participants how to use Zoom. To keep it simple, I used the same Zoom password for all the meetings of all the groups. However, I will change that password for the next series of meetings.
Printing and distributing the workbooks
In addition, the workshop coordinators printed and distributed a workbook to every participant so they could follow the teaching and fully participate in the discussion of each topic of the workshop. The workbooks are valuable not only as learning tools but also as teaching tools. In the workshop, participants are trained not only how to understand the material for themselves. They are also equipped to train others using the workbook as their teacher’s manual.
From 2016 to January 2020, International Missionaries and National Missionary Partners trained 211 pastors and ministry leaders and 72 children’s leaders in 24 different groups through 52 workshops in 15 different cities and 10 different nations throughout Latin America.
Below are pictures of all 24 groups in Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
For information about Biblical/theological training workshops for pastors, ministry leaders and children’s ministry leaders, contact us:
Timothy Two Project International began in 2011 by sending one missionary to one nation in response to one pastor’s plea from Mindat, Burma. By the end of 2019, Timothy Two had more than 24 missionaries serving in 43 nations of Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Timothy Two exists to serve a critical need around the world. We are committed to equipping and training indigenous pastors and ministry leaders with the essential truths of the Christian faith so that they can train others.
Paul instructed Timothy to teach others to teach (2 Tim 2:2). This is at the heart of our mission. So, we not only teach the pastors; we teach them how to take what they learn and teach it in their churches and communities, as well.
…what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also…”
~ 2 Timothy 2:2
This way, the mandate from Christ in the Great Commission to “make disciples” can be accomplished in areas of the world where there is little or no formal biblical and theological training available.
First, we provide study materials that teach important doctrines from the Bible. Next, we use these materials in intensive workshops in the field. These workshops have two parts: training the indigenous leaders, and training them to train others. Then, workbooks and resources are given to the indigenous leaders to help them to teach others – and to train those people to disciple others, too!
Finally, we are committed to the long-term success of local churches. To this end, ongoing support is provided to insure the vitality of the local church.
Perhaps the best way to illustrate how Timothy Two helps the church to honor God in their lives is through the testimonies of some of the workshop participants. I work primarily in Latin America. So I will draw the testimonies from there.