Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Family Reunion of Sorts - ProFILE

You may remember me writing about ProFILE, the group of leaders who were in training. In both 2015 and 2016 we trained leaders from almost all the churches in Colombia. Each year the leaders completed 4 weekend-intensive-retreats learning about various aspects of leadership, Lutheranism, and service. At the end of 2016 the second group graduated. This year we have combined the groups to continue the training, and to help them all hit the ground running.

The group during their ice-breaker activity. Photo by Zulma Ojeda
This last weekend we held a retreat with the graduates from 2015 and 2016 - everyone together! It was wonderful! As the group gathered and shared stories we could see the transformation. The graduates are now exercising their leadership in their communities as well as asking how they can help in their regions AND help in other regions (the church here is made up of 4 regions).

Understanding the pillars of our faith as Lutherans, the 4 solas: Word alone, Faith Alone, Jesus Alone, and Grace Alone. If you look closely at the bottom of the photo, the binder is being sustained by four mini-pillars, the group balanced the binder using the pillars to understand the balance and importance of each of these pillars of our faith. Photo by Katie.
The kick-off retreat was to bring everyone together to discuss the plans for the year, give more tools/resources for their work, and strengthen the regions. I would say, without a doubt, mission accomplished. Zulma and I planned the retreat and invited two pastors to each lead one of the sessions (and Zulma and I led the rest). Pastor Jairo lead the session about Liturgy. Pastor Rocio, also the Vice Bishop, lead about Doctrine/Confession. They both did an excellent job!

Pastor Rocio leading her session (which also included the above activity with the pillars of faith). Photo by Katie.
The main session I led was about discovering leaders and discovering their Spiritual Gifts. I had a Spiritual Gifts inventory for the participants to each take, I was surprised to learn that of the whole group only 4 had ever taken something of the sort. The activity was very powerful and empowering as we talked about ways to discover gifts in others as well as in their congregations, and to utilize those gifts in ways that honor the needs of the church as well as the individual. 

Henry putting his stars (gifts) with the rest of the groups to show his gifts. This activity showed that together we make the church, together we are the body, and together we are stronger. Photo by Katie
Another purpose of this retreat was to bring the participants from the regions together to strengthen the regions and plan for how they will work within their regions this year.

Eastern Region: left to right - Teresa, Nancy, Belky and Maribel. (Photo by Katie)
Llanos (plains) Regions: left to right, Esmeralda, Lucila, Judith and Alba. Photo by Katie
Boyaca Region: bottom left to right, Maritza, July and Cristina, (on top the pyramid) Fenner. Photo by Katie

Central Region (this is the largest region as it includes Bogota). Photo by Katie
During the closing worship, offering time, Zulma led an activity of commitment/offering. Every participant was given a sheet where they wrote their specific commitment to leadership (what areas they commit to serving). In their right hand everyone held their financial offering, in their left hand their leadership commitments. It was a powerful time as Zulma prayed and blessed these offerings. 

Offering time and talents, while Zulma prayed. Photo by Katie

ProFILE! Photo by one of the nuns at the convent where we stayed.