COMIBAM (Congreso Misionero IberoAmericano in Spanish, meaning ‘Ibero-American Missionary Cooperation’) is an umbrella organisation which brings together mission agencies in 25 countries, including Spain and Portugal; plus Hispanic-run outreaches in the United States and Canada.
The network was formed in 1987, at the first Iberoamerican missionary conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil. COMIBAM facilitates collaboration among national missionary movements, churches and organisations, as well as offering training and support for missionaries and connecting them to opportunities with partner groups around the world.
Logos Hope’s tour of Latin America is in conjuction with COMIBAM; whose national missionary cooperatives in the various countries the ship is calling in have supported and promoted the vessel’s activities.
One aspect of this collaboration was the staging of the 2018 Iberoamerican gathering of missionary agencies on board Logos Hope in Panama. The unique multinational platform allowed organisations’ leaders to strategise for mission on a global scale. Over the course of three days, the delegates assessed the current state of missions and looked ahead to what coming years may bring. Their goal was to explore how each team might improve, individually and collectively.
“We received phenomenal support from OM Latin America and the ship, to host us and take care of us, and we are very grateful,” acknowledged Decio de Carvalho (Brazil), Executive Director of COMIBAM and an alumnus of the vessels Logos and Doulos. He continued: “The event was for the leaders of missionary agencies, churches and organisations that send out missionaries. It was a wonderful opportunity, and it was beautiful for these brothers and sisters to observe what collaborating in God’s mission work looks like.”
Ninety-seven leaders from over 30 different nations attended, representing more than 40 organisations. Some of the leaders had also served with OM and even on board forerunner ships to Logos Hope.
Cristian Castro (Costa Rica), Sending Director for COMIBAM International, said, “We need to understand how this world changes. We need to understand the new roadmaps for mission, the new migration situations, and we cannot always continue to do things the same way. We need to adapt. We need to be relevant to the Church, to new generations, and to people who haven’t been reached where the Lord is sending workers.”
Allan Matamoros (Costa Rica), Field Director of COMIBAM International, shared that he perceived a spirit of collaboration between OM’s vision – of seeing vibrant communities of Jesus followers among the least reached – and COMIBAM's aims to reach indigenous and isolated people groups with the gospel. Several leaders commented on the unity found in the joint effort and were encouraged to continue in their shared vision and purpose, for God's kingdom.