Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Ready to GO!

Our team has finished all our training and is ready to go to Argentina tomorrow! We will live in Córdoba for the next two years with the objective of starting a new church and training new Christians to be leaders of the church. Our training has included Spanish school, seminary classes, and learning how to establish the organization of our church. This past weekend, we met with the administrators of Extreme Nazarene to decide our work partners, ministry roles, activities for the first three months, and goals for the first eight months in Argentina. Our main job is meeting the people of Córdoba, introducing them to a relationship with God, sharing life and teaching them about God in small groups, and training them to do all these things for others in their lives. We do this main work in partners, but each person is also responsible for an area of ministry in the church. Organizing the partners was a little difficult because our team has three men and five women, and we need to work in same-gender partnerships. Fortunately, we have worked out a solution. These are our team members and their responsibilities within our church.

Ashley and Celeste
The first pair is Ashley and Celeste. They are both bubbly, fun-loving women of God. Ashley is from Mississippi and is a graduate of Trevecca Nazarene University with a degree in social work. She loves people and is excellent at encouraging others. She will be in charge of the ushers at our church-making sure everyone feels welcomed and loved as they walk through the doors. Celeste is from Córdoba, and her parents pastor a Nazarene church in a suburb of the city. She is the fastest Spanish speaker on the team, and we all love listening to her passionate prayers-especially now that we know enough Spanish to understand what she’s saying. She loves learning English, which has slowed down her Spanish as she’s realized just how hard it is to understand a second language. Her favorite phrases are “oh please, sister” and “in your face.” Celeste is in charge of the intercessory prayer team. Both Ashley and Celeste are in charge of the Jesus film project. Please pray for Ashley as she continues to learn Spanish and for Celeste as she recently had knee surgery and will be needing physical therapy for a while.

Damaris and Rachel

Up next is Rachel and Dámaris. These two are equal parts passion and determination. You'll notice they are the only two who chose to actually climb into the closet for their picture. Rachel is from Michigan and is a graduate of Olivet Nazarene University with a degree in intercultural studies. She went through our three month Spanish class for the first time a couple years ago and has been invaluable to us as a study buddy and interpreter. She will be in charge of children’s ministry. Dámaris is from Mendoza, Argentina. She loves eating suckers and having deep conversations. She is in charge of the consolidation ministry, which is a fancy term for contacting and following up with the people we meet in our church and at church events. Please pray for Rachel and Dámaris as they begin working together and start leading these large and important ministries.

Pastora Jaci and me

To complete the women partnerships, I will be working with Pastora Jaci. We are not quite sure how this partnership will work because Pastora obviously already has many other responsibilities, but we are excited to work together to figure everything out. In addition to all her typical “pastoral roles” Pastora is in charge of the worship ministry and meets with us five female missionaries every week to disciple us. As my partner, she will work with me to meet people and help lead our small group Bible study. She will be an invaluable source of support. You can tell she loves me because after cleaning and packing and sweating in ridiculously hot Colombia all day she still let me take this selfie. My ministerial role in the church is discipleship/adult education. I will plan and organize the leadership classes for the new members of our church. Please pray for Pastora as she balances being pastor, wife, mother, mentor, missionary, and her own personal relationship with God. Please pray that my Spanish would continue to improve so I can keep up with all my responsibilities.

Mati and Dani

Dani and Matías are the partners of male missionaries. They are both out-going and care a lot about people. Dani was born in Spain and is fluent in Spanish. He has lived in South Carolina since he was ten years old. He is a graduate of Trevecca Nazarene University with a degree in social justice and possibly Marvel movies. In our church, he is our Nazarene Missions International representative and is in charge of compassionate ministries. Matí is from Jujuy, Argentina. He is a stereotypical Argentine soccer nut who plays, watches, sleeps, and breathes soccer. He is our communications director and will oversee the publication of all written material (on paper and online) about the church. Please pray for these two young men as they mentor the fathers and husbands of our future church.

Pastor Junior and Juan

The final pair is Juan and Pastor Junior. These two are natural leaders and passionate preachers. Juan is from Buenos Aires and has lived in Córdoba for the past five years. He is passionate about youth ministry, his favorite soccer team (Banfield), and eating good food. He will be in charge of our youth ministry. Pastor will work with Juan to lead and mentor the people in their small group. Pastor will also pastor the church and disciple the male missionaries. Pray that Juan and Pastor will be able to organize, communicate, and work well together to lead their ministries and train their disciples with excellence.