DESCRIBE WHAT THE LORD HAS CALLED YOU TO DO & THE COMMITMENT YOU HAVE MADE TO ANSWER THAT CALL:
I am still not sure that a missionary has a different call than any other believer does. We are ALL called to do the same: to have a supreme love for our Lord and Savior that will put any other relationship, job or aspiration to shame. Some of us are just called to do it in different countries and in different cultures.
Personally, my calling to the mission field did not begin to materialize until I began to take my calling as a Child of God seriously. It was when I was really willing to do anything and go anywhere that God began to talk more specifically about his calling for me.
The words of Christ “Whoever does not bear his own Cross cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27) gripped my heart and led to me take tough choices, break relationships that drew me away from the Lord, and take risks in my life for the sake of knowing Christ and making him known. Then, God began to open doors, guide my steps and slowly place me on the path that I am right now.
The Lord has placed a passion in my heart for studying the word of God and for teaching it. There are few things I enjoy in life more than taking a passage of Scripture with a group of believers and walking together through it as we discover the endless riches, the great challenges, and the refreshing and nourishing words the Lord unveils for us there. And that is my overwhelming joy! The one thing I enjoy the most in life is the same thing that my Lord has called me to do!
My passion is to help believers grow in their love and dedication to the Lord as they grow in their understanding of Scripture. I try very hard not to just teach a concept, but to teach believers the tools they need so that they can discover for themselves the wonderful treasures of Scripture. As I do that, I am reminded of Ephesians 4, especially verse 12: To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.
Right now, the Lord has called me to do that in Bogotá, Colombia. It is a city with a growing national church, a passionate leadership, and very hungry believers for the word of God. Much work has been done in this city of 8 million people and 22 assemblies. But to be honest, if we are to reach the 42 million people in the whole country, surpassing the 8 million people in this city alone, there is so much more to be done.
Missionary William Loudon and I are heading a project to create a Bible Institute that would equip the many dedicated first-generation believers to be those evangelists, shepherds and Bible teachers the Body of Christ needs in order to keep expanding the gospel in this country.
That is our “BIG” project, but in the meantime I have the chance to teach at Youth retreats, Leader workshops, preach among the different assemblies and my favorite: disciple young men.
Now, for the commitments I have made…
- To lead my family not to where we are the most comfortable or the most “secure” but to where the Lord guides us, knowing He will provide and protect.
- To always remember that ministry is not the same as relationship. The fact that I am “doing” does not mean I am “being.” I must always look for a personal relationship with my Lord and not replace it with the things I do for Him.
- To walk by faith, taking risks, and believing He can and WILL act in powerful ways and understanding all I need to do is obey.
TELL US ABOUT THE PEOPLE YOU MINISTER TO:
There are many preconceptions about Colombia. The first things that usually come to people’s minds are drugs, violence, and guerilla. When I’m in luck, they mention coffee!! But there is so much more to this beautiful country! I know the Lord is at work all over the world, but I have personally seen the way in which God has taken a very stubborn and very hard-hearted people and turned them into an open field for the Gospel.
Although drugs, violence, and guerilla are not the primary concerns in Colombia any more, the Lord did use a very tough time in previous decades to break Colombians’ hearts, change their mentality, and make them willing to hear the Good News.
Most of Colombia is Catholic, which means we have an amazing bridge to talk to people and help them move from tradition to relationship and from dead works to transforming grace.
Colombian believers are FANTASTIC! They are friendly, passionate, and willing to study Scripture. My most fond memory is having a Bible Study session on a holiday (granted there are 17 holidays in the year in Colombia) and having more than 600 believers gather from 9 to 5 to study 2 Peter with missionary Jim Flemming.
I firmly believe that Colombia is at a very crucial crossroad right now. We currently enjoy more peace than we have in the last 50 years, people are willing to hear the gospel, and the government does not oppose the gospel at all. Now is the time to get out of the city and reach the country for Christ! That is why I am so excited about the new Bible Institute. Our desire is not to simply place information in the heads of believers, but to have a place that will prepare them AS they do ministry, excite them about the great commission, and present them with the opportunities that abound in this country to do so.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE IN YOUR MISSION FIELD?
We are “blessed” not to have persecution in this country. At the same time, that can be dangerous. If our freedom is taken seriously it can lead to the expansion of the Kingdom and a strong outgoing church. But if our freedom is taken for granted, we face the danger of becoming complacent and having a mediocre church that will eventually wither away.
We face the challenge of going to unknown territory: How do we reach the rest of the country? How do we train the new believers? How will the Lord provide all the evangelists needed to go out there? How do we work together, all 22 assemblies, and create a united church that will reflect the unity of Christ and impact this city? How can we be creative and yet faithful to Scripture?
As a family, one big challenge we face is how to “balance” ministry and family time. I am passionate about what the Lord has called us to do, and I LOVE my family, but we can easily neglect good quality family time for the sake of ministry and that can be very dangerous in the long run.
HOW CAN WE PRAY FOR YOU?
- For wisdom, a lot of decisions need to be taken in the next year. We are setting foundations for many future projects. Please pay that the Lord would guide us to set them well.
- To be able to keep challenging the local church and not be satisfied with their growth.
- For the students I have this semester – how to study and teach the Bible. That the Lord may feed them, challenge them, and stretch them. That all of them may finish the course and finish well.
- For the Youth in Colombia. They face the challenges most youth face around the world: to own the faith of their parents, live out the gospel, and be a part of the mission of God.
- For my Family. Gaby, my 4-year-old precious, active, and very imaginative girl who never stops talking. Dany, my 2-year-old strong, stubborn, active and very cute boy who right now does not stop playing the game Puss in Boots. And my beautiful, amazing, patient, loving and wonderful wife who helps to keep us together, always looking to Christ. She is one of the most miraculous provisions of God to my life. Pray that the Lord will make us a strong family, that we learn to grow closer together and to the Lord, for us as parents to guide our kids well, and to be witnesses in daily life to the people around us.
DESCRIBE ANY FINANCIAL/MATERIAL NEEDS OF THE MINISTRY:
We honestly believe in the Lord as our main Provider, and we know He uses His people all around us to provide for our needs. People interested on donating a monthly amount would help us pay for Gaby’s school. This is the only personal need I can think of right now.
The big shout out for prayer and help is for the New Bible Institute. Once we start in 2015, we will need to equip 6 classrooms, which could become costly. We are still in the planning stages but anyone interested in being a part of this would be a great blessing to the students we are praying the Lord will bring.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO CHALLENGE US WITH?
For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
We are a people called to live by faith! Have you ever considered that the reason you don’t see God doing incredible things in your life like He did for the characters in the Bible is that you have not taken the risks to believe God and step out in faith?
My life changed when I started believing in the promises of God and taking bold, risky decisions for which I did not know all the details or results. I began to see God’s powerful hand in my life and I became a “faith Junky,” embracing those “hard” situations with the expectation of seeing what God would do next!
I dare you to believe in God, take those “difficult” choices, go to those “dangerous” places, live not foolishly but live trustingly in a Father who takes care of those He calls to serve Him.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE VERSE/QUOTE?
Can I Have three? A verse, a portion and a Chapter!!
Ezra 7:10 is my personal challenge, what I strive to do every day and pray I can do till the day I die.
Ephesians 4:9-16 always helps me to get back on track in ministry.
Hebrews 11 always reminds me of the powerful things God can do with those who are willing to Trust and Obey.
WHAT IS THE BEST/PREFERRED METHOD OF SENDING MONETARY GIFTS FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS MINISTRY?
You can send checks to Christian Missions in Many Lands (CMML) or make a PayPal deposit through the webpage. All gifts are tax deductable and 100% goes to the mission field.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AND INFORMATION:
We love to have people come over to Bogota! We will host two mission trips in the coming months – one in December and one in July. Email me for more information.
Feel free to contact us via phone, mail, email, Facebook – anything you want! Any questions, prayers or people who want to be just friends are always a big blessing for us!
***Click here for the UPDATE!