Monday, July 16, 2012

A Blast from the Past

LATTE Team (2006)
Professors Ralph,  Natán, 
Larry, Lorenzo, & Philip

The following description of the LATTE program was first written for a meeting in January of 2006. As we approach the 10th anniversary of the LATTE program's official start next year, we look back to past descriptions and accomplishments of the LATTE program. Look for more "blasts from the past" throughout the next 12 months.

In 2002, when the first warnings about budget shortfalls and cuts began to circulate, the Administrative Committee for Latin America called a meeting together with all five of its field coordinators to consider options. After discussing many opinions and reaching a consensus regarding the indispensable part of our work to continue serving our fields, even if one no longer had resident missionaries, the idea for LATTE (Latin American Traveling Theological Educators) was conceived. Calls to form part of the LATTE team were issued to the five Latin American missionaries who were then responsible for the theological education in the Spanish speaking missions we had at that time. After a series of meetings planning curriculum, course load, and course responsibility, the teaching trips began in July of 2003.

Based on input from the fields our Administrative Committee established the following goals for LATTE:
  1. Maintain theological education in fields that might no longer have resident missionaries.
  2. Maintain contact with fledgling national churches when no resident missionary is present.
  3. Train nationals to be pastors and other trained workers for the national churches.
  4. Provide "post-graduate" instruction to graduated pastors:
    • continuing education to improve their ministries.
    • preparation for some of them to be seminary professors, according to the needs of the national churches.
  5. Visit contacts from counties where we don't have a presence to investigate the possibilities of training them to gather and shepherd their own groups, and provide such training where possible.
To reach those goals, LATTE's ministry would consist of the following ways in which we serve our Lord:
  1. Establish a core seminary curriculum for all our Latin American fields.
  2. Serve the various fields as requested by the national churches in consultation with their resident missionaries or the missionary contact person for the field where there is no resident missionary.
  3. Make teaching visits to the several fields as necessary for teaching the curriculum.
  4. Confer with the appropriate national church leaders regarding the theological education needs of the church.
  5. Offer instruction on the Bible Institute level where the national church is not yet ready to assume that responsibility.
  6. Offer brief seminars for graduate national pastors in subjects where they request help, and also in areas where LATTE professors or resident missionaries detect needs.
  7. Visit and then teach contacts from countries where we don't have a presence.

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