Posted on July 29, 2022 A Week To Remember
Bolivia Graduating Class 2020
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Theological Education Theological Education

“I continue to follow on according to the goal of the prize of the high calling of God found in Jesus the Christ.” (Phil. 3.14, personal translation)

It was a week that won’t likely be rivaled for a long time to come.  In July of this year (2022) the Masters of Theological Studies in Latino/a Ministries (MTS) program of Palmer Theological Seminary traveled to South America to celebrate two significant milestones in the region.

The first one was a long overdue recognition of the graduation of the Bolivian cohort in March of 2020 (Main Picture on this journal post).  No, that isn’t a typo.  This group finished their studies in the MTS program about 3 weeks before the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic began in Bolivia.  At the time we were in the middle of preparations for a November graduation with the 10 students from Bolivia and Chile in hopes for a great celebration at the Baptist Seminary in the city of Cochabamba.  Unfortunately, the pandemic, strict lockdowns and health concerns took precedence, but now after two years of patiently waiting the long overdue recognition would come to pass.

It was a glorious Wednesday that began with a luncheon where the graduates came together to catch up and get their graduation robes.  Later that evening we were joined by family, friends and leaders from the Seminary and the Bolivian Baptist Union to celebrate the achievements of these students.  The evening was full of song and was capped by the giving of the diplomas they had been waiting so long for.  It was a wonderful celebration.

From Cochabamba, we left the next day for the journey to Ecuador where we would celebrate on Saturday with the cohort of students who had just finished their studies and were excited to celebrate their achievements as well.  The 13 of 16 students of the most plurinational group to date (Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, and Ecuador) gathered together at the Central Baptist Church in Quito to celebrate the accomplishments of these pastors and ministry leaders.  Once again, it was a glorious celebration with a special Ecuadorian twist at the end as we each had a ceremonial cup and drank from the same pitcher in a communion-like gesture as we celebrated the community that had formed over the last two years.  It was a week that I likely won’t forget for a long time to come.

1 week…
2 graduations…
A 2 year wait for one…
A 2 week wait for another…
4 countries represented…
Multiple pictures taken…
Countless memories to last a lifetime!

Ecuador Graduation Class of 2022

Class of 2022, Ecuador Cohort, Palmer Seminary at their graduation with Dra. Mayra Picos Lee, Dr. Tim Long and Dr. J.D. Reed.

Bolivia Graduating Class 2020

2020 Graduating Class in Bolivia in 2022.

Professors at the graduation

Dr. Tim Long, Dra. Mayra Picos Lee, Program Director, and Dr. J.D. Reed at the Bolivian Graduation Celebration

Students in Bolivia after receiving their diplomas and gifts.

Students in Bolivia after receiving their diplomas and gifts.

Graduates Marching down the aisle

Graduates Marching down the aisle to enter their graduation.

Ecuador Students in the Ceremony

Students in Ecuador during their graduation

Pronouncing a Blessing on Grads in Ecuaador

Pronouncing a Blessing on Grads in Ecuador

Prepping for Graduation

Prepping for Graduation in Ecuador