José Carlos Pezini - May 2017 Update
Portuguese-Language Ministries Coordinator
The ministries in Brazil are going well. In fact, they are growing more quickly than I can handle. When I started working with pastors here, I had no idea that so many of them were experiencing burnout. About a third of the pastors who participate in the three-day SARA retreats suffer from this, and many of them are taking anti-depression medication. So, there is a real sense of urgency for a time of healing and wholeness for God’s servants within the SARA retreat ministry.
SARA is working in three different areas. Our main focus, of which the retreats are part, is mentoring more than two hundred pastors. In order to be able to care for each of these 200 pastors, I have trained 40 other mentors but even this number is not enough to meet the great demand. The mentors offer to their mentees one hour of conversation per month, while the mentees commit to participate in two SARA retreats each year.
During the retreats, the leadership team tries to help pastors nurture their life with God, pay attention to their physical health, and develop their intellectual lives. We challenge them to set aside one hour per day for prayer and meditation; to spend an hour per day in exercise; and to read at least one book per week. We say that these habits form a “tripod” on which to ground their ministry.
Last year, there were 18 mentoring retreats and one retreat for mentor training. I participated in each one of them. The emphasis on spirituality at our retreats has led pastors to want to learn more about spirituality. Therefore, I have developed a master’s degree in Spiritual Formation that is being offered in partnership with the Lutheran Seminary in Curitiba. 22 students are enrolled in the program.
Looking ahead to this summer, I am coordinating a trip for the Chief Operating Officer of ECO, Elder John Terech, who will be giving some training in “coaching” to pastors in early June. In late August, Outreach Associate Director Juan Sarmiento will bring a group to the annual church growth and church planting conference of the Center for Training Church Planters. I will coordinate the schedule for Juan and his group as they attend the conference and see examples of exciting new church development in Brazil.
I would like to thank you for your overwhelming support for Odete and me during all these years. It is a great joy to be part of the Outreach family. I always say that without your prayers and financial support, it would be impossible to accomplish what God has called us to do.
Outreach is seeking gifts totaling $95,000 for support and ministry funds for Pezini and $5,000 to defray costs of attending SARA retreats for those who cannot afford them.