LCJE-Latin American Meeting In Orlando, FloridaBy Peter Citelli, Temple Aron HaKodesh, Ft. Lauderdale
For the very first time in the history of the LCJE, the LCJE Latin America sponsored its own conference. This meeting was held concurrently with the LCJE North American conference in Orlando, Florida. The best way to describe this conference is "Chispas" literally sparks. The sparks of the Ruach HaKodesh were evident from the lively music presentations to the animated discussions. The meetings were intense, full of God's presence and power. We never had a dull moment.
From morning to evening we had prayer, praise, preaching and teaching, participants were refreshed and enlightened.
Approximately 40 workers and leaders involved in ministries to Spanish and Portuguese-speaking Jews participated. Among the major ministries represented were: Chosen People ministries with the participation of Rabbi Percy Johnson (Peruvian) from Canada and Dr. Ludovico and Celica Lowenstein from Uruguay; The Messianic Jewish Alliance of Mexico, represented by Rabbi Manuel Hernandez and his wife Celia; Sergio Danon (Brazilian), represented Jews For Jesus; the International Messianic Jewish Alliance represented by their executive secretary Rabbi David Sedaca (Argentinian); The Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations and Synagogues represented by Rabbi Russ Resnik, general secretary .The Center for Jewish Ministry, represented by Dan Gruber - International Coordinator; Ariel Ministries represented by Rida Fayad (Colombian), and Jamie Lash of Jewish Jewels. One of the more interesting participants was Dominiquae (who was born in Chile and raised in Israel) & her husband Baruch Bierman who oversee a network of Spanish-speaking congregations in Israel.
Many other leaders who were unable to attend have shown interest in a participating in future gatherings.
The meetings were very practical; ministries were confronted with difficult topics. The Latin American ministry to the Jewish people is very diverse; the group was very passionate about their opinions and concerns.
Here are some of the opinions I gathered:
"The conference was a blessing and it was very refreshing for us" - Rabbi and Mrs. Goffman.
"I was very glad to be able to attend the LCJE, North America and Latin American sessions in Orlando this March. Overall, the experience was an eye-opener for me. Because I have been raised in one Messianic Congregation my whole life (Temple Aron ha Kodesh), I have not been aware of the diversity contained in our faith. Through the conference I was able to observe how diverse Messianic Judaism is, both doctrinally and culturally. There were also some disputes among some of the leaders of the various congregations in the Latin American section, and I was glad to see that there was room for discussion of disagreements, and that the leaders were composed and still able to see that the Lord was to be uplifted, not their own biases...This was a positive testimony for me." - Stephanie Campo, Hollywood, Fl age 24.
"God brought us there to make us listen to his heart. - Sharon Stitely.
"As a student of Hispanic Jewish ministry (who is both a goy and a gringa), I greatly appreciated the opportunity during this conference to meet face-to-face with so many leaders in Latin American Jewish ministry. I am thankful for those who spent time encouraging me in following God's call on my life. I also benefited from hearing the discussions about the difficulties of Sephardic identity. I had previously studied about this, but it was good for me to see in person how people feel and think about this issue. It is important for us to understand the felt needs of the people to whom we minister and then balance this with God's Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Shalom to all." - Melody Smith.
The Following is an excerpt from the Jewish Jewels newsletter regarding the LCJE-LA meeting:
"Evangelizing Latin America Jews
From March 11th to 13th there was a conference in Orlando, FL, on evangelizing the Jews of Latin America. Jewish people who speak Spanish are a minority of a minority, but there are thousands of them throughout Latin America. The Lord is beginning to move in the hearts of these children of Abraham. This conference was the first of its kind, and Neil encouraged Jamie to attend.
She was part of two panel discussions and one devotional, all in Spanish. It was fascinating to hear about ministries in Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Nicaragua, and Honduras that are reaching Jewish people for Yeshua. There is even a ministry in Israel reaching out to the Jews that are making aliyah from various Spanish-speaking countries. The Latin/Hebraic combination is a powerful, passionate one! We look forward to future Spanish/Jewish ministry as the Lord opens doors.
God is full of surprises. Jamie made seven seashells with messages in Spanish to bring to the conference and one of the Messianic rabbi's wives was very excited about them since she is sharing Messiah with a number of Jewish women in Mexico who collect seashells! A package of shells has already been sent to Mexico. Another truth about evangelism: "God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise!" (I Cor. 1:27)"
To conclude, in my opinion, the meetings were full of spiritual interaction. God spoke to his people, especially to the Leaders, regarding the importance of our hearts beating to the same rhythm as His. He wants us to share the good news of Messiah with Jewish people all over the world, including those scattered in Iberoamerica.