In these last few months as an Extreme church plant, as the missionary team prepares to transition, we are in the process of handing off roles/ministries to the local leaders of the church. Over the entire time that we have been here, it was always emphasized that we are a team that comes for two years to start the church but our main vision is to empower the local church members to be able to continue building and growing the church when we leave at the end of that time. It’s not an American church or a Brazilian church; but it’s made up of those who live in this city. I’m super proud and excited for the future leaders of Puerta Abierta Church of the Nazarene in Córdoba! You may have already read a little bit about some of these lovely people:
Emilse and Marcelo are a newlywed couple who are involved in many things in the church even though they have three young children. Emilse is leading up a House of Prayer bible study in her house and also does evangelism to try and get as many people that she knows into the church. She has two sons from her previous husband and now her and Marcelo have a one year old son as well. Even though she always has her hands full, she is always super willing to do the best she can for the Kingdom of God here in Cordoba! Marcelo is going to be in charge of the logistics for the Encounters we have in the church and has already had firsthand experience doing his job from the last Encounter we had in February. Along with being the person who leads all the other leaders during Encounters, he has a heart to preach workshops and teach the Discipleship classes that follow. He also plays piano as a part of the worship team.
Marina and Enzo are a Cristian couple with 4 children (who are also involved as leaders in the church). Marina is going to the head leader of the Children’s ministries within the church. She will be organizing the children’s Sunday service schedule and making a children’s schedule if they are children in the Encounters or other events for the church. Enzo is an electrician by trade (along with work in many other areas that deal with construction) so Enzo has helped the physical church building. Enzo plays guitar in the worship team; he co-leads the Worship ministry along with Pastora Jaci. As Pastora is going be having her baby (in a week!) Enzo will be leading worship during the team that Pastora is recovering from surgery and this new transition of having a newborn.
Sol, Cristian, and Luca (23, 19, and 17 years old respectively) are Marina and Enzo’s oldest children. Despite being some of the youngest leaders in the church, they are very dedicated and do all their roles very willingly. Sol has a teaching and preaching heart to help those go through the Discipleship classes after they have their Encounters. She will be leading the process or organization of classes in all the different levels and will also be teaching the classes. Cristian is the youth leader in the church; he has always shown great passion and responsibility for the youth. During this time, Juan, the missionary who has been in charge of the youth is walking through the youth services and showing how to organize them logistically. Cristian also plays the guitar and Luca plays the drums in the worship team.
Erica and Gerardo are another couple that also help within the church in many areas. Erica is secretary of the church and helps organize events in the church. She also has a heart for evangelism and wants to see everyone in her family to come to the Lord and have them attending the church; including the family of her daughter’s boyfriend. Gerardo is a local police officer but helps in the area of maintenance in the church. When we had a construction short-term team working in the church for two weeks, he was helping almost every day!
Yolanda is going to be leading a House of Prayer soon but this one is different because it’s a group of people that meet in a public park. Thankfully we have a few attenders who have their house close by and available is the weather is not very inviting to be outside. Yolanda has a way of speaking that captivates those around her and she loves talking about God! She is Venezuelan and so she cooks Venezuelan dishes for a small business; she recently got the idea to use that as a way to talk about the church and evangelize using flyers whenever people order. Vicente is her husband and he plays a huge role in the multimedia of the church. He is a very supportive leader with Yolanda and is almost always with Yolanda leading in their roles. Yolanda also is a singer in the worship team.
Stephanie moved to Córdoba from Haiti three years ago. Córdoba is proud of its multi-cultural population, mostly created by the national public university. Some immigrant groups work hard to maintain their customs while living in Argentina. There are frequently fairs and cultural demonstrations by Peruvians, Bolivians, and Venzuelans. The Haitian population is growing and so is their interest in being unified. A few months ago, Stephanie started hosting the Haitian association in her home. When she realized that many of the Haitians didn’t have a church to attend, she offered them ours. She changed the time of the meeting to be right before our church service so she could invite them all to come to church with her. She even asked some of the missionaries to start leading a House of Prayer with her new Haitian friends. We are excited that our church will continue to be multi-cultural even after we leave!
Our hope as a missionary team, is that when the full-time missionaries leave, that the brothers and sisters of the church will have the same vision to evangelize. We realize that church body is made up of families with jobs and necessities. So, we are encouraging them to simply share in Jesus from where they are. In their context. Every family has their own unique standard of living; the number of people, the ages, the jobs, etc. That’s the beauty of them being able to communicate and share in God’s love with all the different people they know. Even for those in the church who don’t have a particular title or role that they lead in the church, each person has the opportunity and calling to bring more people to Christ. In that way we are all leaders; bringing others to Jesus who is the one we should all be following.