Les Thompson on His Calling
In 1968, I founded this institution we now call LOGOI (Greek word that means “words”) after having worked in Cuba for about eight years (and asked by the government to leave the country on account of my nonconformity with the government of Fidel Castro), and another four years in Costa Rica. I went to Costa Rica –the year was 1960– to work with a Christian Literature institution that at that time was called LEAL (Evangelical Literature for Latin America). As coordinator of that institution I had to travel throughout the continent. When I visited churches on Sundays, I was concerned to hear pastors who did not know what they were saying because they had not had formal studies of Bible and Theology. I learned that 80 percent of pastors had not had the opportunity to receive formal Bible studies. In my heart there was a concern for them. At no time did I think that God was going to call me to do that work, since I was a musician and a journalist, and not a theologian or teacher. In 1965, I made several trips to friendly institutions of biblical teaching trying to interest them in creating programs for these needy pastors. They did not want to do anything.
I returned to Costa Rica and shortly after resigned my position in LEAL. Now relocated in Miami with my family, I started an evangelical publishing house, publishing materials to help pastors and lay people with biblical truths. The first name we used was Publicaciones Juventud (“Youth Publications” in English) and then, as we began developing more materials for pastors, we changed the name to LOGOI.
My concern for pastors without theological teaching continued to grow. Again I made another trip to speak with established seminaries, and each one told me that the idea was interesting, but not their responsibility to fulfill. I came back very discouraged. I remember telling the Lord: “I’ve done everything possible, and nobody is interested. Remove this burden from me.” But in my heart I felt another response, as if God was telling me: “I haven’t called those organizations to do the work, I’ve called you. I want you to do it.” In no way did I want to accept that responsibility. I didn’t think I had the gifts to do it, nor did I feel that I had enough skills or knowledge of how to do it, since it wasn’t my field of work. For a few months I struggled against what God asked of me, but He did not leave me alone.
One day in 1977, a long letter from an association of pastors came to me from southern Chile, asking me to help them with a seminar for the pastors of the area. To this day I don’t know how the idea occurred to them, nor why they asked me to be their teacher. When I showed the letter to my wife Carolyn, she told me: “Now God is giving you the opportunity to see if you can do this work.” Trembling and nervous I went to the Chilean city of Osorno to find a group of about 125 pastors waiting for me in a camp on the shores of a beautiful volcano. I can never forget that week! How the blessings flowed! How present God was!
I returned to Miami convinced that this was truly God’s call for my life, and instead of continuing with the publishing endeavor, we changed the focus of our organization, and our entire ministry was transformed into serving the pastors of the Spanish-speaking world. That has been the mission of LOGOI, and God has shown time and again that this was His will for my life.
That is a brief history of my calling.