October news and notes

Dear Friends,
We can’t thank you enough for your prayers. God was so gracious in answering. Here is a brief rundown of what’s been happening in our world. I was tempted to say “little world” when I remembered that it’s actually quite extensive. (See request #5)

On the Home Front –

  1. ALT’s knee surgery went well, and now he is doing great. We are back on our regular morning walk and on our normal route. I am so glad! It’s just wasn’t as much fun walking alone.
  2. We found a wonderful church home at Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall. Great pastor, biblical preaching, all manner of ways to get involved and find fellowship and they have an amazing culture of hospitality and foreign and community outreach. It’s close so we can get involved during the week. In fact, it is just across the highway, five minutes from home.
  3. We are thankful for new friendships with our neighbors. We met several at our neighborhood garage sale. We have had some wonderful conversations with our next-door neighbors, who are Sikhs from India. We had them and our neighbors across the street, also new in the neighborhood, over for dinner. We had a great time. Pray for more conversations and opportunities to show them the love of Christ.
  4. Our financial support is at an all-time low this Fall. Please pray that God will supply. This seriously impacts the possibilities of entering into the fellowship at church and to become involved in the lives of our neighbors. It seems everything requires $ in the U.S. If you would like more details about our support, you can send us a note, give us a call, or you can contact Camino Global.

Happenings in the Virtual Education Office –

  1. 13 new students enrolled in the undergrad, Graduate Certificate, and the Master’s programs. These students are from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Peru, Argentina, and GERMANY! (We were especially surprised and thrilled about Germany)It is unusual for the 4th trimester to have this many new online students. It is much like our summer semesters. Please pray for growth in all the programs.
  2. In September SETECA received the 10-year extension of the international accreditation with AETAL.
  3. We are thankful for Alvin’s continued role in teaching and advising the new Director of the Virtual Ed Department. We are thankful as well, for the technology that allows for Alvin to meet regularly with the Director in video conferences.
  4. Our online associate’s degree is nearing completion of the first full cycle of classes. So, we should be seeing graduates next year. Alvin and Team have been concentrating on the design work of undergraduate classes and are now to the place where we will start to develop the standardization of the Master’s classes. This Fall Alvin will be working on creating a template for the first 2 classes, using the class that he will be teaching as the model.

Life is busy around here but in a peaceful way. We are thankful for the peace and especially when we see the turmoil and violence in the world. So, we are grateful to God for His grace to us and we pray for His grace in the resolution of the elections here in the U.S. We also pray for peace and protection for those in war zones throughout this world, and we never want to forget, may Israel know the peace of knowing their Messiah.

May our LORD shower you with His blessings, as you have blessed us with your support.

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January 2014

 January, 2014 

Dearest Friends,

Here we are, finally, in Guatemala.  It has been a year and a half since we were asked to return and in God’s good time we are here.  Thank you so much for your prayers and gifts, for your faithfulness to us.   You and we prayed and God answered.  Are you surprised?  Neither are we.  He is a good Father.  No, we aren’t surprised, but we sure are excited everyday to see what He has in store for us.

When last we wrote the holidays were approaching.  Since then every day has been full.  December was full of getting our house ready to leave to Vaughn and TraciAnn and the boys.  We were cleaning out closets, packing, repairing, getting the car fixed, selling the truck, getting lots of paperwork ready, notarized and sent off to Texas State Department to prepare for a religious worker visas, oh yes, and having Christmas with the family.   No time to stop and breath until January 1st when we were all packed up with 300 lbs of luggage, and we spent the day watching football with Richard and Jacqueline and the grandkids.  We spent the night in a hotel near the airport instead of making anyone take us to the airport at 3:00 a.m.  To be honest, lugging 150 lbs of luggage EACH through the airport was not fun.  Laurie had a pretty tough time, but by the grace of God we made it.  Once we checked in and unloaded, the rest of the day sailed along smoothly.

It was a joy and a relief to be met at the Guatemala airport by our friends, Michael and Gina and little Emma Makidon.  They just arrived here in July but have been amazing help to us.  I think they were sent on ahead to do reconnaissance for us.  Life has changed here in the past 10 years.  They took us to the mercado (the outdoor vegetable market), helped us look for a car, and shared some of their experiences of hunting down supplies and treasures.  Michael and our neighbor, worked with Alvin for two weeks to resolve issues with our router so that we could have the Internet.  Finally, Esteben Turcios, the head of the IT department at SETECA came to our house and fixed it.  He was great!  We are up and running.   We are settled into our nice little 900 sq ft house in San Cristóbal, typically Guatemalan and it will suit us just fine.

 

Sundays we are attending the church that we attended when we lived here before, Iglesia Biblica El Camino.  We’ve received a very warm welcome from all our friends.  It looks like we have a lot of catching up to do and we’ll be doing a lot of visiting and entertaining.  We arrived the Sunday the new pastor and his wife, Roberto and Reyna Munguia, arrived.  They stood up to greet the congregation and Reyna smiled and waved from the front when she saw us.  They lived upstairs from us when we lived on campus at SETECA more than 15 years ago.  We went to the U.S. to work on the online program and they went to Honduras, his home country to be a chaplain and do discipleship in their area.  We celebrated Roberto’s 50th spiritual birthday when they came to dinner this week.  It is so wonderful to see where God has been taking friends to do His work in these past 10 years, and how He has been working in all of us.  Now we have the privilege to work with many of them.  We served with some before and some were Alvin’s students.

 

Thank you again for standing with us with your prayers and financial support.

It’s great to be serving where God is working.

Alvin & Laurie

 

Please pray for the following:

  • Our re-adaptation to Guatemala
  • Time, wisdom & strength for Alvin as he directs the development of the online programs
  • Laurie’s re-integrating into the ministries at SETECA & at church
  • Online students that are balancing studies, ministry and family

    Guatemala City

    Guatemala City

 

 

 

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September 2013

SETECA Department Heads planning for the future

SETECA Department Heads planning for the future

This summer at the end of July, all the department heads at SETECA met to set a vision for the school to guide us through the next decade - Vision 20/20 – The spiritual transformation of the students in order to transform the world.
As we were considering how to better train pastors in our on campus programs, it was evident that we need to continue pursuing the online programs. We all saw that we needed to be more aggressive in putting SETECA programs online.  So part of the vision is to make ALL of the various programs of SETECA online.  This is not to replace the on-campus programs but to make available the quality programs that SETECA has to offer to the rest of the Spanish-speaking world that cannot come to Guatemala.

We are looking to our future in Guatemala

We are looking to our future in Guatemala

This summer at the end of July, all the department heads at SETECA met to set a vision for the school to guide us through the next decade - Vision 20/20 – The spiritual transformation of the students in order to transform the world.
As we were considering how to better train pastors in our on campus programs, it was evident that we need to continue pursuing the online programs. We all saw that we needed to be more aggressive in putting SETECA programs online.  So part of the vision is to make ALL of the various programs of SETECA online.  This is not to replace the on-campus programs but to make available the quality programs that SETECA has to offer to the rest of the Spanish-speaking world that cannot come to Guatemala.

clase-logo

You have to start somewhere when the job is so incredibly huge – the WORLD!  So first, we are partnering with other organizations and individuals that are also looking to make disciples for Christ. Second, we are launching a new online program, “Estudios Clase” where there is a great need, pastors seeking formal training to help them in the ministry.  In fact this Fall we have offered two courses on this level free of charge to get the word out as to what SETECA has to offer and encourage continued education.  OK, this is a marketing promotion.  But so far we have over 60 responses and a couple of weeks to go before it starts.  The response has been overwhelming.  Pray that it continues.

Pray also for those who will be taking these initial courses and for those who will be guiding these students.  Pray for the continued growth as we seek to train disciple-makers for the Spanish speaking world.

Thank you dear Friend, for caring about the work that God is doing in the Spanish-speaking world.  Thank you for your prayers and support.

Your Partners in the His service,

Alvin & Laurie

 

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Feb 2013

Feb 2013 Prayer letter

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November 2012

Dear Friends,

This is somewhat amazing to think about.  The largest online Christian university boasts over 80,000 students in all their online programs, including undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate.  All over the world we can see that Online Education is booming.  At SETECA we have the opportunity to be a part of developing a quality program that will have the potential of teaching the Word of God to thousands who can reach thousands more in their congregations for Christ.  (Remember Spanish is the second largest language group in the world!)  I don’t know about you, but that rather boggles my mind.

Well, we are willing to go and see what God will do.  For years now He has amazed us in what He has allowed us to be a part of and how He has used us.  Just this last month one of our dearest friends in Guatemala, Esperanza, mother of three and now a grandmother, graduated with her university degree along with students from more than twenty countries.  Esperanza worked with Laurie leading the Women’s Ministries almost ten years ago.  She decided to go on and advance her biblical education as she serves in her local church and in the community.  We are so impressed, not surprised but very impressed.  Esperanza has always been 100% committed to Christ.  God gave us the privilege of being a part of what He was doing in her life.  There are countless others that have also studied and are serving in a multitude of ways in churches and communities throughout the Spanish-speaking world.  Now we need to have a bigger part of providing them with the education and the resources to do the best job possible.

So, here we are in Forney, with only a very few months to go, making lists and everyday trying to mark off our efforts to prepare ourselves to transition to a new home and a new ministry among old friends.   We continue to pray for God’s provision, not only to arrive and live in Guatemala but to develop a new team of colleagues that will take a Biblical education to the far reaches of the world through the Internet and to prepare Christian workers throughout the world to teach in churches and seminaries and as missionaries leading many to Christ.

Please pray with us and be a part of what God is doing in the world.  Online education is exploding all over the world.  We are on the cusp of something great.  If you are already part of our team, we thank you for your faithfulness.  If you are not, please consider partnering with us for this significant new venture.  Pray about the part would God would have for you in this ministry, fill out the attached form and send it in to Camino Global.

Your partners in service of Christ,

Alvin & Laurie

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October 2012

Dear Faithful Friends,
You’re never going to believe this, but, we have been called back to Guatemala. Yep, that’s right. After eight years ofworking for SETECA in administration and teaching from the U.S., we’re going back to serve on campus. We are excitedand amazed.

Here’s what happened –
In July we went to the convocation of our mission, Camino Global. It proved to be a humbling experience, in light of our lack of enthusiasm in attending a week of meetings, due to our unbelievably busy schedules and the expense. On the very first day we realized the amazing value of the encouragement we were receiving. Incredible changes are happening. We have a new President, Doug Livingston and we have had a name change from CAM International to Camino Global. At SETECA we also will be gaining a new president in January, Carlos Lopez. Life is changing and we are on the move again. We were reminded that God requires our utter dependence on Him and with that He will do His divine work in our lives. Yes, we were aware of this truth, but it seems to be growing in our hearts.

On the long drive home with our passenger, Carlos Lopez, we learned of his vision for change at the seminary and for reaching more deeply into the Spanish-speaking world. The long and short of it is, Alvin has accepted a 3-4 year assignment as E-Learning Coordinator & Advisor for Virtual Education. (see the enclosed letter) How could he say, “No” to a sincere man of God with a vision and a plan for making disciples that will impact leaders who will impact others. It sounds too much like 2 Timothy 2:2. Alvin will be overseeing the development, expansion and oversight of all the online programs, Lay through Doctoral. This will mean developing an IT team, bringing in course designers, recruiting faculty from throughout the Western Hemisphere and so much more. It will be an exciting challenge in Guatemala. We are reminded that we saw God start the
Online Masters Program and deliver the first graduates in only five short years.

So, life is about to change for us. It is the Lord’s work and He will accomplish it. The job is huge and we would like you to partner with us. Here is what we need – we need you to pray for us, there are a lot of details that need to be arranged in a short amount of time. In addition, we need to raise $3,000/month to make it feasible to return to Guatemala and to focus on the task. The new administration of SETECA would like to see us back in Guatemala sometime between January and March, 2013. We know this is a short amount of time but it is also one of those times when it will be obvious that God is in it. So, if you would like to partner with us to follow God’s leading in this venture, please fill out the enclosed slip and mail it back to Camino Global ASAP and think about whether you know of anyone else who would like to join us and included is a list of prayer requests that you can take before the throne of God for us.

If you would like to receive our latest prayer card, drop us a note with your address and we will be happy to send you one.

Alvin & Laurie

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Thompson News & Notes

THOMPSON UPDATE August 2012
Dear Partners,

This is the summer to stay home. Oh, the plans we had. Classes end in the middle of July. Things are slow to rev up in August, so, we would have time to work in the garden, do some projects around the house, hang out with friends and family, etc. You know the drill. It’s staycation! Well, that didn’t happen. Life took off like a shot. Classes ended alright, but … well, remember how “The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” Well, God had other, more surprising and incredible plans for us.

Immediately after classes ended we left for Colorado. We visited a couple in Colorado Springs who shared how God amazingly spared their home in the devastating fire and how they have been ministering to friends and neighbors. Wow!

Continuing on we spent a week attending the Convocation of all 450+ missionaries of Camino Global in Estes Park. It was gorgeous! But even better than the scenery was all that we heard. It’s almost too much to tell it. Briefly, Dr. Bill Lawrence reminded us that God will work most effectively in our lives when we accept our inadequacies and recognize that He is adequate for every job. He must work through us. Wow! Dr. Hans Finzel spoke about managing change both in our lives and in our ministries. God is able to manage both. Hmm! Then not only did we discover all that was involved in the name change of our mission, from CAM International to Camino Global, but we were introduced to the new president of our mission, Doug Livingston. He spoke of the exciting new goals to reach the Spanish-speaking world. We are still trying to take in all the information we received. Wow!

On the way home, we had the privilege of delivering Carlos Lopez, the new Rector of SETECA, our Seminary in Guatemala, to the airport in Dallas. For 16 hours over two days, we got to hear of all the exciting plans for the Seminary. We will be sharing some of these plans with you in days to come. We were overwhelmed with the news of what God is doing. Wow! But, that was not all.

We returned home on a Sunday and the following Tuesday, a day and half later, we were on our way to Scotland. We were privileged to spend a week and a half encouraging and counseling a couple in Glasgow, and encouraging a couple in Edinburgh. The Glasgow wife is an alumnus (Masters degree) of SETECA. The Edinburgh husband, also an alumnus of SETECA, is working on his Ph.D at the University of Edinburgh and will be returning to SETECA to teach in two years.

This summer we had a front row seat to some of God’s quiet Wonders of the World. No, we didn’t get to the Olympics or see the Highlands. We didn’t see Aberdeen or play golf at St. Andrews, but we saw God at work. A home saved amidst the flames raised up servants in a charred neighborhood. God’s work in leaders and institutions encouraged hundreds of missionaries. Two couples, Salt of the Earth, are moving forward! May God increase their tribes! It was worth the trip! WOW! WOW! WOW! To think we almost stayed home.

The challenge of discipleship continues. We are looking forward and praying about what God will do in the future through the expanded vision of Camino Global and our participation in that vision. Please be in prayer with us for expanded opportunities for outreach and discipleship.

Grateful for your partnership,
Alvin & Laurie Thompson
www.alvinthompson.org
14505 Greenbrier Blvd
Forney, TX 7516

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