News from the Andean Churches in South America
FLAVIO URIBE - BOGOTA, COLOMBIA
For us, God is blessing us with a good year. We have seen several people come to faith, and we have been encouraged by the return to the church of a brother known by some, Dagoberto Munoz, who was an intern in the past. Our present interns are doing well, and I am seeing special growth in each one. Personally I have been very inspired in my walk with God by studying the Old Testament.
Jorge Rodriguez, who trains under Douglas Jacoby through the AIM program, has taught some impressive classes. In fact, all the brothers who participated in the Miami School of Missions have influenced the whole church.
We just had our annual church administrative meeting, and we thank God that we have been self-sustaining as a country for another year.
Finally, in our family life, our daughter, Franchesca, decided to go to college in North Carolina, God willing. There is a very good chance that the entire cost, including room and board, will be covered by a special grant.
ORLANDO ROCHA – MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA
The church in Medellin is having an impact through our Web page. One has already become a Christian and a second is very close to making Jesus Lord. Another contact that plans to be united with Christ soon came through a family member in Canada.
There is very exciting news from the little group in Barranquilla. The three disciples, all women, have been meeting faithfully twice a month, where Luis, or I lead on Friday nights. We took our family to visit them for a weekend. They had 22 out on Friday night and around 50 at the Sunday service! Rubby’s husband, who was once a disciple is considering being restored. It was a great weekend for all involved.
Orlando and family in Barranquilla for the Friday Bible study
CESAR HERRERA - PERU
Unlike the last two years, in Lima we have gotten off to a slow start, but we were encouraged by two baptisms last week. One was a 15-year-old who has come out with the teen and campus group. The other is a great story. We have a group of married women in the church whose husbands are not disciples, called the “The Eunices”. One woman has a husband who worked as a sailor. He was often away from home and when around was very negative about the church. A few weeks ago, he came with his wife to a marrieds’ event. Something about it moved his heart, and he quickly studied the Bible and was baptized into Christ. His wife plans to continue with the Eunice group to help her sisters as much as they helped her.
Two other situations have affected the Lima church this year. We have been dealing with several cases of sin and also a number of our members suddenly lost their jobs, causing problems for several families and impacting the church budget. But God will provide.
The groups in Chincha and Arequipa are doing well. The church in Trujillo has been blessed with the presence of Paolo y Cynthia (some in Nashville may remember them) visiting family for two months. Once the leaders in Trujillo they decided to move to Canada (Cynthia’s home) so that Paulo could finish his education. Their visit has proven to be a great encouragement.
Trujillo church with Paolo and Cynthia
EDILBERTO RAMIREZ – CARACAS, VENEZUELA
In the country things continue to worsen, as long lines are forming every day at the grocery stores to be able to buy necessary household items before they run out. Nayibe and I had to get up very early and wait in line two days straight for two to three hours before we were able to purchase the needed items. This kind of experience is repeated throughout the church. Pray for Venezuela!
In spite of everything going on in the country, God continues to open doors in different cities. The celebration of the 15th anniversary of the church in Caracas is now going to take place on April 26.
The teens and university students have organized “Project Christ,” a series of mini debates to attract other students. These events have proved very successful in getting people interested in the Bible.
“Proyecto Cristo” – Student outreach in Caracas
South America: A New Partnership and a New Initiative
Steve and Diane Brown have been committed to the spread of the gospel in the Spanish-speaking world for almost 40 years. In April they will begin an exciting two-year initiative to strengthen connections among the Spanish-speaking churches in South America as well as their sister churches in the United States.
This plan is a joint effort between the Florida and Mid-South churches. The Florida Mission Council (FMC) has been allied with churches in Brazil and the southern part of South America, affectionately known as “The Southern Cone.” The Southeastern Mission Alliance (SEMA), representing churches in the Mid-South, has been allied with the churches in Northern South America--Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru--known as “The Andean Group.” We are thankful for and excited about this new partnership among U.S. churches.
The effort will begin with nine months in Buenos Aires, Argentina--part of the Southern Cone--at the invitation of Sebastian and Sarai Serra, leaders of the church there. Steve and Diane were part of two separate mission teams to Buenos Aires, and hope to connect with past members, build bridges in that city as well as provide added support to the Serras. In 2015 the plan involves the Browns returning to Nashville for three months before going again to South America to work with the churches in the Andean Group. In this phase, they will focus on training leaders, with a special emphasis on working with mature disciples with a goal of seeing elders appointed. To this point there are no elders in any of the churches in South America.
We are grateful for their inspiring example, with Steve dealing with MS and Diane giving up her work as a nurse practitioner. We are confident that the churches in South America will be helped by this new faith chapter in their lives.