Balancing the news and the Good News

In a world that is becoming more and more digital, we took a step backwards a few years ago and ordered daily delivery of the local newspaper. I love reading through it everyday because it helps me with my Spanish as well keeping me informed about what is going on in the city of Medellín and the world. In these present times, it also gives us a much needed break from screen time! It is nice to have something real to hold on to!

René Padilla is a well-known Latin American theologian under whom Ricardo took the last class for his Ph.D. One of René's phrases that Ricardo repeats is that "Christians should hold the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other." You see, we need to stay connected with what is going on in the Word as well as what is going on in the world in order to provide relevant answers to the questions that society is asking.

Our family is reading through the Books of Kings right now. Too many chapters, particularly in 2 Kings, contain this description of the current king, "he did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord." Even several of the few kings who "did what was right in the eyes of the Lord" failed to remove the high places of idol worship that were prevalent in their society. These kings, I think, were too concerned with current events to concern themselves with God's teaching. They lacked the necessary balance of the Word and the world. It continues to be a struggle, even for those of us who are not kings.
Balancing ministry in the pandemic
Today's newspaper, pictured above, tells about the plans the government is making to gradually lift quarantine over the next three months while striving to prevent an increase in Coronavirus cases. It will be a difficult balance to achieve and it will continue to cause inconveniences for many. One of the points of the article though is that it isn't just the governments responsibility, the citizens share in the responsibility or reactivating a healthy society.

Pastoral ministry is another thing that for too many has fallen out of balance in the midst of this pandemic. In order to succeed, pastors have had to basically reinvent themselves and the way that they serve their communities. For many this implies even higher levels of stress, more hours of work and a loss of contact with those whom they serve, just to mention a few things. Without proper balance, some pastors are on the brink of burn-out.

For this reason, the Pastoral Care team in the Latin America Area has organized a special seminar for this Saturday. All of the District and Conference leaders plus all of the pastors and their spouses are invited to attend this seminar called "Healthy Rhythms in the Midst of the Pandemic."
Specific Prayer Requests
Please be in prayer for seminar this weekend but also the team in Latin America as they serve in these difficult times.

The FM church in Peru has been particularly hard hit by the Coronavirus. Pastora Julia Bravo (pictured at left) passed away this past month with Covid19. She was instrumental in starting the FM Church in Lima. She also opened her home and offered the gift of hospitality to Ricardo many years ago when he was working on his dissertation. Please pray for her family as well as three other Peruvian pastors who have been infected and are recuperating at home.
  • Mission District leader, Geovanna Chavez,
  • Pastor Jose Luis, who is pastora Julia's son-in-law
  • Pastor Edgar and his wife.

We have heard reports of a few cases of the disease affecting pastors in Chile too. Please keep praying.
Balancing travel in the pandemic
Any time my Dad talks to Ricardo he asks, "What countries have you been to today?" The answer is often a list of countries. Zoom makes travel so much easier now...despite the fact that the borders are still closed! For example, this morning Ricardo and Bishop Adams led a time of accountability and prayer with leaders in 16 Latin American countries.

It has been decided that all of the remaining annual conferences in 2020 will be held via Zoom. We are greatly encouraged by the fact that the virtual meetings in both Ecuador and Colombia were very successful. In fact, over 100 computers/cellphones connected to the Colombian meeting last weekend. Of course, this means that between now and November 28, 7 Saturdays will be spent in all-day annual meetings as Ricardo "travels" to different countries (not including additional meetings with Area Directors and some other groups). Pray that these meetings will be encouraging to each participant and Spirit-infused. The biggest benefit for us is that the family isn't separated by the distance and we even get to eat lunch together!

We are also making plans to speak at a Missions Conference in Kentucky this September...also virtually, of course. We'd love to "visit" your church too and/or sit down and have a cup of virtual coffee with your family. Please get in touch so we can work out a suitable time!
Ever since quarantine started in Colombia, I've been posting Prayers & Praises on my facebook page. These posts have proven to help me maintain a sense of balance in the midst of the crazy because I am making a conscious effort to not let my experiences over-burden my faith.

Your prayers also sustain us...each and every day. We are so thankful for each one of you and hold you in our prayers as well. If we can be praying for specific needs, please let us know.

Many blessings,
Ricardo, Beth, Juliana & Jonathan Gómez
Free Methodist World Missions |