In the Spring of 2013, we were inspired. Praying Pelican Missions strives to connect the local church on a global level and that message was the focus of our President, Matt Pfingsten, during one of his sessions that year. I remember it clearly. He showed a slide of Belize and all the communities we partner with there. Then a slide of the US and Belize with the churches in the states that partner with the communities in Belize and the dots connected. Then, the what if. What if all the churches in the whole world were connected to each other? What ideas would be shared? How would the world be affected if the local churches were connected. The light bulb over Al's head turned on.
What if we connected all of our local partnership churches in Haiti?
The idea was born. We let the idea and plan grow and develop worked for over a year. In early December 2014, we brought 20 of our partnership pastors together at a hotel in the Port-au-Prince area for a 24 hour conference. We focused on true partnership and talked about what the Body of Christ looks like. The pastors had a chance to get to know one another. Many denominations were represented that weekend: Nazarene, Baptist, Catholic, Church of God, etc. As the weekend went on, the denominational lines dissolved and these men became friends.
I remember, at the end of that conference, the pastors were so excited about what the future holds for them as they partner with churches in the states and with each other.
Almost a year later, we held the second Partnership Conference. This time the theme was Koinonia--Christian fellowship or communion with God and/or other believers. And that weekend, we truly enjoyed this community. Different pastors shared, led worship, addressed community development concerns and brainstormed ideas. Almando gave presentations on the basics of Praying Pelican Missions, what it takes for a team to get here, and addressed the importance of knowing the state of the world and community development projects.
The impact we have started to see from connecting these churches, these dots on the map, is amazing. Pastors are inviting one another to preach in their churches or be the keynote speaker at a conference, the idea came up of having a Partnership Pastors Mission Trip (which we are hoping to see happen this year), and ideas are being implemented in different communities as the pastors share vision and creative solutions to problems with each other.
This conference has become a highlight for Al and myself. One of the things we look forward to planning and hosting because we see it make a difference. It is such a beautiful picture of the Body of Christ coming together to serve and grow. We see a change. Yes, it is a slow change--and some people are faster to learn than others, but we know that as we continue to lift up our pastors and connect them together, God will use and honor that.
Pray for our partnership pastors this summer as they receive teams from churches in the United States and Canada. Pray for the teams that are serving--that they would know that these partnerships matter. Pray that the partnerships are healthy and that God is glorified in them.