Jerusalem Pastors' School
“Pastora, I want to be a shield bearer for you. I want to learn everything you can possibly teach me. I want to serve you in any way at all that you need me. No matter what it is. I see you as my spiritual mom. I love you so much.”
Wouldn’t it make your heart swell to hear words like these? Carolina is the one who said them. She just graduated from our Pastors’ School last year.
A central part of our strategy for continuing to raise up new churches is our church planters training institute, which we call our "Pastors’ School" for short. The “Jerusalem” in the name speaks of the powerful presence of God that we experience on our property—a foretaste of the New Jerusalem! Our students get up daily at 4:00 am to seek the Lord in prayer. They close out the day again in prayer and worship each evening. Fasting is a regular part of campus life.
Each year we have an average of 30 students in our institute. They do not pay tuition, but help keep up the grounds and campus in exchange for their education, and grow and hunt some of their own food.
Our students live at the school for six months at a time, and the following six months, they go out into the jungle for a practicum. During that time, they serve and help strengthen the new church plants. After six months of practicum, they return to live at the school again, and this cycle of theory and practice gets repeated three times before they graduate.
Carolina has been with us from the beginning. She was a bridesmaid in our wedding eleven years ago. She was just fifteen years old then. She was in our very first discipleship class. And last year she graduated from our Pastors’ School. One of the first things she did after graduating was a missions trip where she led an entire village of Candoshi natives in a prayer to give their hearts to Jesus.
Carolina is one of those quality people every pastor wishes he had ten of. She is such a wonderful example of the fruit coming out of our School. Every year in October, we have a fresh crop of graduates ready for launch. Since our school began in 2002, nearly one hundred churches have been planted by students finishing up our program. Most of them are amongst previously unreached tribal peoples.
We are always excited to see what God is going to do with each group of students finishing up our program. This year, one of the graduating students is a young man who has been set free from a sexual addiction. Another has persevered in the program in spite of her family cutting off relationship with her because of her decision to serve the Lord. Yet another of the young ladies who graduated last year ran away from home as a preteen, having lived among hatred and cruelty. Another was set free from homosexual involvement.
Almost every student who finishes our program comes from a background of brokenness. They have been victims of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. They have been severely rejected. They have been told, “I wish you were never born.”
And now, they are changing the world. They have defied the words of death that were declared over their destinies. In them this utterance is fulfilled: “He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-and the things that are not-to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” (1 Cor 1:28-29)
Aren’t you proud of them? It is people like you who have empowered us to be here these eleven years mentoring them. Mentoring Carolina. She has already won many souls for the Lord. She has already discipled many developing leaders. In the years to come, the impact she will have astounds me. What an exciting field the Lord has planted us in, where the crops are white and ready to be harvested!