A significant need in missions in Guatemala is the education of pastors. 85% of the churches in Guatemala are in rural areas. Eight out of 10 of pastors and leaders of those churches do not have biblical training. This is due to education levels, distance from seminaries and Bible institutes, and finances. The result is often the teaching in churches is not biblically based. One of the ways Sepal Guatemala addresses this need is through Bible Education Programs or Programa Educación Bíblica (PEB).
Héctor Pivaral serves as field director of Sepal Guatemala and director of PEB. He has been with Sepal since 1994. His wife Patty has served since 1997 and works with women through the PEB program, both women leaders and pastor’s wives.
“Through the PEB program, pastors are prepared in their context, in their hometown, and in their primary language,” Héctor says. Bringing the program to rural areas is a critical element. Pastors don’t have the ability to travel to cities to receive training.
The program changes based on the pastors’ need and context. The time frame can vary, but most graduate after three years. “Many of the pastors and leaders that participate in the program start without knowing how to read and write. Through the program, they end up reading their Bibles and writing their own sermons,” Héctor says.
PEB is a non-denominational program, training leaders who preach in a variety of denominations. The program brings commonality to the whole body of Christ.
Recently, PEB graduated nine pastors from the Petén area. What an incredible story of the Lord’s faithfulness!