My time in Lima, Peru was incredible. In fact, it was like a mini-retreat for me. I was able to recalibrate and get my spirit renewed. But most of all, I was able to reconnect with one of my spiritual mentors, Pastor Robert Barriger.
I have come to the realization that there are always a handful of people that God sovereignly places in your life. They are the divine connections that play a significant role in your journey with Christ.
I will never forget how the divine connection with Pastor Robert was made back in 1997. I went down to Peru on a vision trip after receiving a revelation that I needed to go down there. Someone introduced me to a contact, but for some reason I did not get the sense that this pastor was someone that we could work with in Peru. After meeting other pastors, I asked someone if they knew of anyone else that I could meet before I returned back to the States. One of the missionaries mentioned that it might be good for me to meet up with Pastor Robert.
Even though it was last minute, I was able to get a 30-minute appointment before their mid-week service. But due to the notorious Lima traffic, I ended up missing the appointment and came to service about an hour late. As the service was finishing up, I realized that I would only have 15 minutes to talk with Pastor Robert, since my flight was taking off that evening.
With thousands of people filing out to exit the church, I had to go against the exiting traffic and head towards the front of the sanctuary. After profusely apologizing for missing the appointment, I asked Pastor Robert if he can share his heart and vision for Peru. Then, literally in 15 minutes, he briefly shared his testimony, and then proceeded to share the vision of his church and for the nation of Peru.
It is hard to describe in words what I felt, but after he shared, I just knew that this was the man of God that we, as a church needed to work with. Then in the following year, we sent our first missions team to Latin America. Since then, it has been an incredible journey of being mentored by him, but more importantly, Pastor Robert has become a great friend.
I share this little bit of history of the divine connection because over the years I have come to understand why God placed him in my life. On my flight back to the States, I was able to spend some time in reflection and I came to several conclusions about Pastor Robert:
In all the years I have known Pastor Robert, I have never seen him seek after the limelight. In fact, he is always trying to go into the background. I have never met a person who finds such incredible joy when other people shine. My respect for him continues to deepen as I am finding out more of the incredible things he has accomplished over the years. He never talks about it, but it helps that there are other people who help shine the light on the kind of person he is and what he has done.
2) Integrity. It is hard to find people who are passionately committed to integrity because there is a cost involved. To live a life of integrity, it requires a high commitment to God’s honor and glory. Pastor Robert does everything with integrity that it inspires trust and loyalty from people. The man lives out what he preaches. A living example always speaks volumes.
3) Authenticity. The higher a person goes in their level of influence, the easier it is to hide behind the position and reputation. But time after time, I have consistently seen Pastor Robert be authentic. He does not put on a façade or try to be someone he is not. His transparency is pretty unassuming and this causes him to be very approachable. Trust me – you end up sharing a lot of things with him that you might not share with other people.
4) Generosity. Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that generous and magnanimous people are hard to come by. I have repeatedly seen Pastor Robert be generous in giving grace, mercy and love. It is simply an overflow of the great things he is receiving from God. Pastor Robert is consistently giving of himself and never expects anything in return. Who doesn’t want to hang out with people like this?
5) Responsibility. A great trait of a leader is the willingness to take responsibility; whether it is a mistake he made or a mistake someone that he was overseeing made, I have never seen him play the blame game. I have personally seen how Pastor Robert takes responsibility for his family, his church and his calling. He has never cowered away from doing what is right. This is why he exudes confidence, which enable people to submit to his leadership.
6) Joviality. The man has a passion for life. Pastor Robert believes that life is supposed to be lived to the fullest, therefore there is never a shortage of laughter and lattes. When you are around him, you get a sense that there should be more joy in your life. Not only does he demonstrate that ministry is supposed to be fun but doing it with other people make it that much more exciting.
As Pastor Robert is ahead of us in this journey, he is definitely leaving footprints for us to follow. I am privileged and thankful that I get a close up view of the real thing.
“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith” (Heb 13:7).
“Appreciate your pastoral leaders who gave you the Word of God. Take a good look at the way they live, and let their faithfulness instruct you, as well as their truthfulness. There should be a consistency that runs through us all” (MSG)
“Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and trust the Lord as they do” (NLT).
Pastor Robert trying to tempt me to take a bit out of the “Apple”
It is awesome to see that Camino de Vida is raising up leaders for tomorrow
The scenery off the coast of the Pacific Ocean is beautiful
There is something about a fresh fish market that always makes me hungry
The Barriger family were taking their Christmas card picture
The U.S. Embassy in Lima is like a fortress
An incredible sunset over the Pacific Ocean – perfect for inspiration!
I am standing next to a giant in the faith