Lost and Found
I’ve lost track of many of our students over the years. It’s inevitable. But sometimes, a “lost” one is “found”—a happy surprise! When I arrived in Madrid, our field director told me that Raul was in town to attend the module I was scheduled to teach. Raul? I couldn’t remember this person. But he had made an appointment to talk with me while I was in town. Raul was in our seminary 10 years ago. He was one of six Argentines who studied for two years and quit without graduating. After they disappeared, we didn’t hear from them again. Until now. When I was introduced to Raul, I still didn’t recognize him! He had lost (or shaved off?) all his hair, and he was about 25 pounds heavier. (Of course, he might have been thinking similar thoughts about me!) I remembered his very young children. He showed me photos of them. They’re young adults now—completely unrecognizable to me. Raul proceeded to tell me his remarkable story. He was skilled as a tradesman, but God had closed the doors to any such job. Instead, God kept presenting ministry opportunities for him! So Raul finally pursued ministry instead and ultimately found himself invited to serve as the pastor of a church. He ministered there for nearly a decade. Eventually he was invited to serve as associate pastor at a different church. He’s on staff there to this day. They’re thinking about making him the senior pastor. But over the years, he has dealt with one great lingering regret: his failure to finish his four years of seminary study. He has felt very limited. Now—with his own children in university—he wanted to know . . . could he please come back to seminary? I told him what I felt sure you would want me to tell him: an enthusiastic YES! He will actually commute more than 700 miles round-trip to keep ministering to his congregation on weekends and still be at the seminary Tuesday to Friday each week. He so values the two years of training he received with us that he is willing to make this colossal effort in order to finish. He is already relishing the idea of Graduation Day—in May 2019, Lord willing! You are a character in Raul’s story! If you were giving to this ministry 10 years ago, you helped him start. If you’re giving now, you’ll help him finish! You’ll help him minister more effectively than ever before!