For the 1st time in PAOC history some 28 national leaders who partner with our global workers met together in the Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver areas. It was energizing to hear their stories and to realize the awesomeness of all that God has done and is doing through PAOC missions across the continents of the world. The themes discussed of spiritual, social and economic transformation are lived out through the lives of these men and women of calibre.
Our participating partners in the summit included:
From Spain, Jesus and Esther Giraldo, work in the northern Basque region. When Jesus graduated from Bible College he prayed that the Lord would use his life and send him to a ‘hard’ place – not a prayer many of us would have the courage to make. Certainly this area along the northern border of Spain is known for the ETA terrorism groups and its fierce independence. Facing many challenges over the years, they are now seeing dozens of new believers filling a brand new church in Bilbao.
Though sharing and communicating hours each day during the ten days of the Summit, Esther called this the vacation they have never had because they were so energized while getting to know other national workers, meeting Canadian pastors and congregants and enjoying the peace and beauty of Canada’s topography.
Marcos Vidal, lead pastor of the Madrid church and director of the national Salem churches, ministers in song and word with a grace and humility, bringing people to the presence and person of Jesus.
Our coordinating pastor from Bucharest, Cristi Soimaru, makes his 10th trip to North America but his first into Canada. “How surreal,” he said numerous times, “Dan and Mardie, we work together for years in Romania but here we are together for the first time in Canada.”
Iana Matei, Reader’s Digest 2010 person of the year for Europe, brought tears to our eyes and anger to our hearts as she told stories of how human trafficking kills both the body and soul of its enslaved victims. She challenged Canadians to believe with her for an eradication of this vile global blight by increasing the lax penalties for traffickers so that they receive a life sentence for each girl they have victimized.