Today, Lead Them Home kicks off its first South American event hosted in partnership with La Alianza, a leading Colombian ministry which is part of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Posture Shift Intensives will take place today and tomorrow. Close to 300 people were interested in the event, though for logistical reasons, we had to cap registration. Over 140 leaders, mostly from South America, will be trained on biblically sound inclusion and care of LGBT+/SSA individuals in their churches, families, and communities.
In addition to conducting this training, Lead Them Home is working with La Alianza to translate Posture Shift Course Handbook and Guiding Families into Spanish. These steps will open a significant door for biblically sound, missiological care in Latin America.
“I have been to multiple trainings on the issue of homosexuality as a Christian. This is by far the best one I have ever attended.”
Currently, many resources we enjoy in the English-speaking world on effective LGBT+/SSA relational care are unavailable to the Spanish-speaking world. Thanks to this connection in Colombia, the Spanish-speaking Church will gain access key resources for effectively reaching the Latinx LGBT+ world with the message and love of Jesus Christ.
Our initial translator was unexpectedly unable to attend Posture Shift, but two other translators stepped up to the task. Translating Bill Henson’s training will be a challenge because the language around this topic is relatively sensitive. Bill and the translators will also be speaking for two days straight — on top of an evening pre-training event yesterday evening. However, Bill has said that the Lord has been providing energy, rest, and refreshment.
“Liam,” one of the young adults who contributed to Lead Them Home’s Guiding Families Second Edition, also flew in to attend the event.
Posture Shift Intensives Course is being assessed for invitation to the annual council of a large Christian missions organization to be held in South America during the Summer 2018 season. Mission directors from US and Canada would be present. This is a huge potential opportunity for Posture Shift principles to continue spreading throughout both South and North America.
A bilingual Lead Them Home staff member is being trained, certified, and approved to teach Posture Shift in various places throughout Latin America. LTH hopes to continue training and certifying individuals to teach Posture Shift, which will multiply our capacity to contextualize Posture Shift in more countries in less time.
Compared to the US, Colombian LGBT+ individuals exist within a unique social, political, cultural, and historical context. A few facts on LGBT+ Colombia:
- 1513: First historical account of gay men being targeted for murder by Spanish conquistador Vasco Nunez de Balboa.
- 1610: Colombian tribunals granted authority to autonomously apply death penalty to sodomy cases.
- 1800s-1900s: 19th and early 20th century treatments to cure homosexuality: shock treatment, chemical castration, and monkey testicle xenotransplant. (Latest report of shock treatment occured in 2017. A teen was exposed to gay porn and shocked every time his body reacted. The young man said that the most painful thing about shock treatment was that he was coerced into participating.)
- 1980: Homosexuality decrimimalized nationwide in US in 2003. It was decriminalized nationally in Colombia in 1980, making it one of Latin America’s most progressive nations. Yet LGBT+ people get killed every year for being gay or transgender and discrimination routinely occurs.
- 2017: 57% of LGB and 75% of T individuals report being discriminated against in Colombia.
The Holy Spirit has been moving throughout the ages in South America, loving non-straight and straight individuals alike, offering His love, redemption, and fellowship to all. May He continue using His church around the world to break down barriers keeping LGBT+ people from experiencing fellowship with Jesus Christ and His spiritual family.
This blog post outlined Day 1 of Posture Shift Intensives Colombia. Read about Day 2 here.