Monday, September 12, 2011

Installation Service of Pastor Xicara

August 20th, 2011 was a historic day for the Reformed Churches of Cubulco.  It was the day that the churches installed Edgar Xicara (shikarah) as their first Guatemalan pastor.  It was a real privilege to be able to witness this historic event.  I was asked to lead the service and Pastor Ken Herfst was invited to do the installation and preach the message.  This was special to see since he was the one who started the work almost 20 years ago and he could as former pastor hand over the care of the church to Pastor Xicara.  Pastor Ken Herfst preached on 1 Thessalonians 2:1-13. 
The road to finding a Guatemalan pastor was a long and difficult one.  It started several years before the Everts left Cubulco in 2008.  Together with the churches we began talking about who should be the next pastor.  As missionaries and mission we felt it would be good if the churches have a Guatemalan pastor.  The churches agreed although they felt it would be better not only to have a Guatemalan pastor but also a missionary pastor.   We began praying about this and searching for a candidate that would be willing to take up the task of shepherding the Cubulco churches.  This proved to be quite difficult since it was hard to find a man who felt called and willing to live and work in Cubulco.  We had a number of potential candidates visit and one by one it was evident that they were not what the church needed.  We had one pastor who worked in Cubulco every other week for close to a year but eventually the churches decided that he was not the right candidate due differences in doctrine.
            Finally, in September of 2010 Pastor Edgar Xicara from a Presbyterian Church in Guatemala City came down for 3 days to lead an outreach service in Pichal.  The people were pleased with his style and manner and so we started making arrangements to have him come and visit Cubulco on a regular basis.  Due to other commitments, Pastor Xicara was not able to start visiting on a biweekly basis until the end of December.  After several months it was clear to all that the Cubulco Churches wanted to call him as their pastor.

In order to do so however, many things had to be discussed and arranged.  The churches had never called a pastor before so they had no idea as to how to go about doing that.  They had no idea as to how much he should be paid and what other arrangements should be made.  We began the long process of discussing these items and making the proper arrangements.  We had numerous meetings and often it felt like we did not get anywhere.  Often in exasperation the obreros would tell me that I should just take care of all these details and that they would trust my judgment.  I would reply each time that I would not do this and that this was something they needed to work through.  Finally, after months of meetings, long discussion and negotiations we came to an agreement as church, mission and also with Pastor Xicara.  The churches agreed to provide 25% of the salary.  While this percentage does not sound like much it is a big step for them.  The mission will be providing 75% of the funding in the first year, but this amount will be reduced each year and the churches will be contributing more and more as the years go by.   
Pastor Edgar Xicara, wife Ericka, and son Juan Fernando
            On June 15, pastor Xicara, together with his wife Ericka moved to Cubulco.  I left on furlough the following week knowing that the churches were in good hands.  Since the churches and pastor Xicara wanted me to be present for the installation service they set the date for August 20th so that I could be there to witness it.  That was also the date that Pastor Ken Herfst would be available.
            It truly was a special historical moment for us and it was a privilege to be able to witness this.  We ask that you will pray continually with us for Pastor Edgar and his wife Ericka both of whom have always been very active members of the churches they have been a part of.  Also pray that God will give him the strength to visit all the churches since he is in his early 60’s.  Finally, pray for the churches that they will give according to what God has given them and that God will multiply their tithes and offerings in order to sustain their pastor and the needs of the churches.

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