Friday, November 4
Before the end of October we had the opportunity to share at the Sierra Centro District Missionary Conference. This event was designed to motivate the local leaders of NMI of the district.
This event was planned by the National leadership of NMI. It was a time for praise, worship, motivation, and consecration to God's service, so that He uses us in fulfilling the mission.
This was a weekend trip in which we got to know a bit more of the natural wonders of Ecuador. We passed real close to three very well known volcanos in Ecuador: Cotopaxi; Tungurahua; and Chimborazo. We arrived just in time for the opening service with a tremendous challenge of consecration.
The following day, Liliana and I shared three training workshops for NMI leaders which are part of the Regional initiative Disciples in Ministry.
NMI leaders from the city of Riobamba and from other parts of the district came for this conference, some of them traveled more than 10 hours to arrive at the event.
It was a special time not only for discovering more about this ministry for the local church, but also of consecration to God and the Mission He has proposed to us.
On Sunday, we visited the Bella Vista Church of the Nazarene in Riobamba. It was a time of blessing and again of missionary challenge. The church is pastored by a friend and colleague whom we met in Argentina, and whom as soon as we got to Ecuador, called us inviting us for a missionary service at his church. It was a special time of consecration and re-discovering the mission of the church and our role in the development of such mission.
On this same weekend, the pastoral family was blessed with the arrival of a new member. It was great to share these moments of joy with the pastoral family.
See more pictures of these events and of the city of Riobamba here.
Monday, October 10
Time goes by real fast. It has been three weeks since we arrived in Ecuador, in which many important events happened.
Week 1: Nicole and André did all the testing and interviews to be admitted to the new school the Alliance Academy International. It was a week in which we went to the school every day since one or the other of our kids would either have an interview or had to take a test. But by thursday of that week we had the response of the admissions committee. They had both been admitted to the school and would start classes the following week. During this same week we registered our visas with a government office. We started to drive a car, or better to say, a "tank" through the streets of Quito, and at least we can get to 3 shopping centers, and to the kids' school without getting lost. On the saturday we relaxed and went to visit the museum and monument of "Mitad del Mundo" (half of the world)- it's worth to check the pictures. On Sunday, we visited our first church in Quito.
Week 2: The kids started classes and the parents started to know better the Seminário Teológico Nazareno Sudamericano where they will be working. We had interviews with the rector and he explained to both of us our new jobs and what were his expectations, then we had individual interviews with all of those who will be serving along side us. Fernando is taking the responsibility of being the seminary's administrator and Liliana will be working on developing the relationship with donors and friends of the seminary. Liliana also had his first experience to go to a street market and learn that she had to negotiate the prices for vegetables and fruits. On saturday there was special event of DIM - Disciples in Ministry of the Sierra North District. We were able to help our missionary colleagues with the logistics of the event and were introduced to the pastors and district leaders of this district. On Sunday, we visited our second church in Quito - Cotocollao.
Week 3: We started working in "Full" in our new assignments, learning more and more about the way the seminary works and starting to take action in the assignments entrusted to us. Liliana did her second trip to the market and she is really getting the hang of it in negotiating prices. On Sunday, the family visited the third church in Quito - since I had to travel to Brazil to attend to Regional business, this is the church that is right next to the property where we live.
We are now feeling more accustomed to the new city, but we still have a great need, for which we ask your prayers. We need to sell our car in Argentina so that we can buy our car in Ecuador. We are so very thankful for the kindness of the Ecuadorian Mission which is letting us use a van for our transportation, but this is not the ideal for many reasons. Thus we ask that you to pray with us for a buyer for our car to come up as soon as possible.
Friday, September 23
After many struggles with the documentation , we can finally say - We have arrived in Ecuador!
However, our trip was not uneventful. Our trip from Argentina to Quito, would take us through Santiago, Chile and Guayaquil, Ecuador. The check-in went fine in Argentina and supposedly our bags would go through all the way to Quito - which was an important aspect of our trip especially thinking that we had 6 bags total + the carry-ons).
The trip went normally, until we got to the city of Guayaquil, one of the important cities of the Ecuadorian coast. The pilot started to say that we had bad weather in Quito, and thus we had to wait a little bit to see if the weather would clear out. In the meantime a flight assistance came by counting the passengers and their families. One hour later, we finally got the notice - the Quito airport was closed due to bad weather!
We all had to leave the plane, do immigrations in Guayaquil, and get our luggage, yes… all 6 bags and it was already 1am when we finally were able to clear the whole process of immigrations and customs.
The airline took care of everything, but the part of the ground transportation was terribly organized, and because of that we had to haul around 6 bags and carry-ones, from one place to another, until we were able to find the bus that we were supposed to get on.
When we got to the hotel, very good one I must say, we were still able to eat since we had had no dinner, the only thing was that it was a meal at 2am and we were thinking more in bed than eating. But since it was there prepared for us, we decided to eat and we were even able to eat an amazing ceviche of shrimp as it is prepared in Ecuador.While on the bus, the airline employee told us that we could rest well and have a late morning until 10am of the next day, since only around this time they would start to re-schedule everyone to go to Quito. He even told us to enjoy all the hotel had to offer… as we say in Portuguese: "He would have done better by keeping his mouth shut!" At 7am we got a call in the room (of course we were sound asleep), and we were told we had to rush immediately to the airport. It was another rushed day starting, as you can imagine, and with the 6 big bags and carryons again. And to make things worst, no ground transportation was provided - it was more of the style "every man for himself".
We managed to arrive at the airport, do the check-in, and around noon of the following day we made it to Quito. We were very well received by our new direct supervisor, the Field Director and his wife.
We arrived at our new home to rest about 3pm, after having a good lunch with our new missionary colleagues alongside whom we're serving in Ecuador.
Our move was not without challenges, but we feel very blessed and with great expectations for what the Lord will do in us and through us in our new ministries.
Thursday, September 22
In my home Country we used to say that life takes many turns. Nothing could be more true! We experienced this last week.
After almost a month of delay in the process of our move to Ecuador, which was actually making us very anxious, last week on monday we went to the Ecuadorian Consulate in Buenos Aires to present all the documentation they were requiring for the visa. This time all was in good order, but they said we would have to wait to see which date the visa would come out. They said they would call us.
As a very pleasant surprise, on tuesday we got the call from the Consulate saying that our visas would be ready on thursday.
As a result of this news chaos installed in our home: goodbyes, time with friends, running after the last documents for the shipment (yes… I did at least three trips to capital in this week), sell the last things, close suitcases, buy the tickets, take more and more trash out in order to empty the house (yes… I know this seems insane to leave in such a short-notice, but we did not want our kids to miss another week of classes).
But we didn't leave without eating a great Argentinean Asado cooked by our friend Ever, in which we finally tried the famous "chicholines". This was a closure with a golden key of our last night in Argentina. And as we say in Argentina… "let's give a hand of applause to the Asador".
It's true that we had been waiting for a long time for the day of our move, and all of the sudden, in the space of 4 days, since we learned of the visa being issued, we left Argentina.
We left some pending issues and ask for your prayers for the sale of our last things, one of which is our car, since we cannot purchase a new car in Ecuador before selling the car in Argentina.
Tuesday, September 6
It was a day spent running back and forth, searching for things that needed to go, separating the things that had to stay, and trying to keep the process as much organized as we could.
The truth of the matter is that the team that came really surprised us. They started around 9am and before 4pm they were already leaving the campus on their way to the deposit where our things will be stored until all the processes are done with customs. They packed 282 cubic feet in more or less 5 hours, since we took a 1 hour lunch break.
Now the only pending thing is the documentation for the visa. Without it we cannot travel, and we cannot start to process the shipment through customs. We have 30 days of free storage offered by the moving company, but we would rather spend this time with our shipment on the way to Guayaquil (port of entry in Ecuador), rather than having it sit in storage.
We ask for your prayers through this process. The document that was missing was not ready, as had been promised, last Friday, and we were given a delay for having it for another week.
We are exploring a few other options to see if we can get the document any time earlier or accelerate the process for issuing the visa in the passport. Please pray, that we find the best solution to this problem. We really need to start our trip over to Quito due to our kids schooling needs, since the school year already started.
We are confident in God's promise:
"But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard" (Isa. 52:12, NIV)
At the same time we believe that our God is the owner of time and space and He oversees over all earthly authority. We trust that in His time, He will move things around so that we are able to leave in peace, and tranquility, leaving the things pertaining the current assignment solved, and being ready to take on the new responsibilities.Thank you for supporting us with your intercession!
Thursday, August 18
Fernando arrived from the USA about two weeks ago, and we already got two strikes in our attempts to score and get the visa to Ecuador.
We went to the Consulate with all the documentation and soon we discovered that some papers were missing which we need to have taken care of in Argentina, and we needed to have some documents corrected in Ecuador. What can we do? There's not much we can do… we only have to respect and be patient with the authorities of this new Country we will be living in.
No doubt that this is frustrating, and causes some emotional and physical distress (as we live about 35 miles away from the Consulate and have to "fight" the traffic each day we have to go), but we are still confident that God is in control and that it is He who has the control of times and not us.
For now, we can only wait and pray that God will open all the necessaries doors in Ecuador so that as soon as possible we can receive the needed corrected documents in our hands, so we can start the visa process with the Consulate in Argentina.We invite you to join us in prayer these days!
Saturday, July 23
Just wanted to point out a few new features on the blog that may be of interest to you.
Some of you may have already noticed that we're offering two subscriptions options: 1) One of these options is by registering your e-mail in this page; 2) The other option is to subscribe to the blog's feed via your favorite RSS reader. Both these options will allow you to be alerted whenever a new update is made to the blog and this way you will be sure not to miss any updates. Using the first option you will receive an e-mail in your inbox with the update text. The second option will put this blog's feed along with all other feeds you might be following.
The other feature I want to mention is that you can now choose to have the page of this blog translated via Google Translate™ to Spanish, French or German. It won't be as good as a dynamic translation, but it will do well for those who can't understand English very well.
You can also follow the blog's using your google ID, through Google Friend Connect.
Hope these are helpful features to you.
Thursday, July 21
This was the first time we accepted this responsibility at a Children's camp. We never felt very comfortable with it, and this time, since the family is not together, I felt a bit more uncomfortable. Liliana is the one who usually is a better communicator with kids.
But these were wonderful awesome days. It was great to see the chidren's interest in missions, about other Countries and Cultures, and about what it means to be a missionary. I ended up speaking 8 times in 2 days for different groups of children.
The theme for the camp was "serve", thus it was easy to make the definition of a missionary fit the theme as someone who is serving the Kingdom of God in another Country.
In the last day, I even signed shirts for the kids, as the campers wanted to take them home as souvenirs of the camp. We pray that God will make these days memorable and of great challenge for the children of the Philadelphia district.
Thank you for making me feel part of your family during these days.See more pictures here.
Tuesday, July 19
First, it was with great joy that, after a small setback, our daughter arrived safely at home. As reported earlier, she traveled to NYC (the quadrennial youth congress) in the USA. For the first time she traveled alone only in care of flight attendants. All went well, and she had a big blast at the Congress. On her way back, that's when the setback happened, the volcanic ash cloud came back over the city and her flight was delayed for 12 hours. Fortunately, the airline took good care of her and took care of everything for her. She stayed in an awesome hotel at the Houston Airport, and 12 hours later, we received her with great joy in Buenos Aires.
Liliana was the one who was waiting for her, since at that very moment, I traveled to the USA where I will be in the upcoming days for a time of visiting churches. It was great to be so well hosted by one of our LINKS districts - the The Philadelphia District.
But the preparations for the move cannot stop. Thus Liliana and the children are beginning the selection process of what we will take and what sell or give away. We have already received the bids for the move and have submitted them for approval. We also sent to the new school the paperwork required to register our kids and had interviews with the Directors of their current school. We also started to complete the forms required for our visa which we will need to take to the Ecuadorian Embassy upon my return to Argentina.
If you think we already did a lot, this is really a small drop in the bucket compared to all we still have pending to do in order to be ready for the move in September.
As we move along, I will report our progress, please keep praying for us.
Tuesday, July 5
As advanced in my previous post to those who follow us, we are living a critical time as a family. It's time for moving to new ministerial assignments! It's the closing of a chapter of our ministries and the opening of a new page where God will continue to write about His powerful acts through our ministries.
After serving for six years in Argentina, the time has come to say goodbye to this Country and to the people who received us so warmly and lovingly. The time has come to go through the famous "Culture shock" that missionaries go through each time they move. It's time to say goodbye to friends and brothers who hosted us and lived, together with us, different experiences in these last six years of ministry.
We are thankful to God and His Church for all the opportunities of ministry that were given to us in Argentina. We are grateful for our colleagues and for the friendships we developed during this time.
In the beginning of September we will be moving to the city of Quito in Ecuador, from where we will continue to serve and develop the Regional ministries that are under our responsibility (Missionary Mobilization in SAM and NMI in SAM), and besides this we will be serving the Seminário Teológico Nazareno Sudamericano in the areas of administration and teaching.
We will be joining a team of three other missionary families who are already living there, some of them with responsibilities with the Ecuadorian Church, other with responsibilities over the North Andean Field. And we will also be joining a team of national leaders who are already developing the work of the seminary in terms of administration, logistics and theological education.
Our feelings as family are mixed. On the one hand we will miss some friends who have become very close to us, while on the other hand, we have great expectation for what God has for us in Ecuador. Knowing that this is the direction that He desires for us at this present moment.
Please pray for us in this time of transition. There are always many details when we talk about an international move - the move itself, travel, school for the children, visas, etc.
We will publish further news and will update the blog as we live through this transition so that you can pray for us according to the specific needs we have.
Sunday, July 3
Tomorrow our daughter will be traveling headed to the US. As part of the celebration of her 15th birthday, instead of a big party (which is typical in Latinamerican cultures), she chose to participate in the NYI Congress in the US. She will be a part of a "district" composed of MKs whose parents serve all around the world.
The congress will be for a week and God's willing, next Monday she will be arriving back to Argentina.
At the same time, I will also be traveling within a week (ie, Nicole and I will cross paths in the air), for a time of home assignment in the US.
We had to make an adjustment to our time of home assignment for reasons that we will soon be sharing with all our followers. Because of this I will be traveling alone this time.
- Pray that God will grant our daughter travel mercies and that this may be a time for spiritual edification and healthy social interactions with her peers.
- Pray for the contacts that we will be making in the US, that we may be of motivation and information about the Nazarene missionary work on our Region.
- Pray that all will go well in our trips - No delays or cancelations, for safe flights, etc. I don't know how many of you are following what is happening with the Chilean Volcano - Puyehue - which is spreading ashes all over, and with the winds blowing from the South, are bring these ashes to cover the skies in Buenos Aires. In the past weeks we have had several flights canceled due to the ash cloud over the airports in Buenos Aires.
- Pray for our family for a special personal request, that soon we will be sharing with you all. The upcoming days and weeks will be critical for the whole family.
We are thankful for your support and prayers and soon we will give you more news about these events.
Thursday, June 23
Once again we are very proud of our daughter Nicole. Yesterday we were surprised with cellular short message from her saying that we should go to the public oath to the flag of the 4th graders.
We were not thinking on going, since neither Niki nor André were involved. But then she gave us the news that she would be one of the escorts of the student that was carrying the flag of the school.
Last week we received the news that once again she made it into the honor roll of the school due to her grade average in the last quarters' exams. This week she surprises us with these news.
Perhaps some of you are asking - Why this issue with the flags?
Throughout the school year there are several key historical dates of Argentina that are celebrated. On these dates there's a public ceremony to help remember the significance of the date that is being celebrated to which all parents are invited. Besides these, they also have the public ceremonies of opening and closing of the school year.. Each time they have a public event, three ceremonial flags are carried in to the platform: Argentina's flag, Buenos Aires province flag, and the school's flag. After the flags are brought in, we sing the national anthem, and then the flags are taken out.
Students are chosen to carry the flags in accordance to the grade average that they achieve in their exams. The escorts are also chosen in the same way.
So we are very proud that our daughter was chosen to be an escort due to her academic achievements in the first quarter of the year.
Good work Nicole. Keep up the good work!
Monday, June 13
Last Friday it was publicly announced that Liliana is the new Nazarene Missions International (NMI) Coordinator for the SAM Region.
We are very encouraged and feel challenged with this new ministry that Liliana will be leading along with the National Coordinators and the Districts, to continue to develop a missionary mentality and awareness in the Church of the Nazarene in South America.
We ask from you, our prayer partners, for the upcoming days and months as the leadership transition between the previous and the new Coordinator occurs. These will be learning times and adjustment times to the new responsibility.
With these responsibilities, as couples, we will be working on both sides of the missionary equation. Fernando will continue to challenge Nazarenes to respond to God's call to invest their lives in Missions (through the Global Mission Ministry); whereas, on the other side, Liliana will be motivating the church to gain a participatory awareness of the Great Commission, by the missionary education, offerings, prayer and participating in the mission (e.g. on short-term mission trips) and/or sending missionaries.
Thursday, May 19
For six days, leaders from all over South America got together at the Bruno Radi Convention Center in Pilar, Buenos Aires, to celebrate their Regional Conference. This was a conference where people sought for God's power to act in their life empowering them, for the fulfillment of the great commission. We had 24 speakers, all of them preaching for no longer than 45 minutes including altar time.
After the Regional Conference, for those who were able to stay, we had a 2-day "school of ministries". This was an intensive training event in different ministries according to the abilities and gifts of each person present. In the school of Missions, the ministry that we as couple are responsible for, we had about 30 people attending.
See more pictures here
Saturday, May 7
See more pictures here
Thursday, May 5
Monday, April 11
The Global Mission of the Church is still as real today as two thousand and eleven years ago when jesus gave the Great Commission to his disciples. "Go therefore and make disciples of call the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Mat. 28:19-20) And, as a result, God continues to call people to serve in ministry as missionaries.
As I wrote some time back, part of our current responsibilities include the mobilization of Nazarenes for the missionary work.
In February we held our first "Cross-Cultural Orientation" (CCO) in the city of Quito in Ecuador. We had 45 participants searching for information on how they could serve the Lord with the Church of the Nazarene. It was a time to share some of the different opportunities for missionary service in the Church of the Nazarene, to gain a global worldview of the Christian reality, to know of the challenges related to cross-cultural work, and to help each of the participants know themselves better.
Several witnessed of their call to missions and readiness to serve, about 15 were interviewed and directed regarding their upcoming steps in their preparation to be become missionaries. As a result of the interviews and of the CCO, 1 young man is already serving in the Jungle in Peru in our Bible Institute, and another one is preparing himself to serve in a Caribbean Country.
At the present moment, Liliana and I are in Brazil offering the same training. Over last weekend we were in the Paulistano district, in the city of São Paulo, where we had about 20 youth and adults interested in missions, and we are presently in Recife, and will be preparing for a CCO on next Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
We live difficult times for the church and for society in general. The economy looks to be less and less favorable. But God's mission does not stop. God is in control raising young people and adults for the missionary work, and South America will soon take a prominent role in sending Nazarene missionaries with the Church of the Nazarene for the whole world.
Sunday, January 30
January is also the time for the NYI camp in Argentina. This time, the camp was right here in Pilar. More or less 150 teens arrived for this camp of the Argentina Central District. The theme of the camp was "Generacción", a mix of "Generation" with "Action", challenging the youth to be a generation of action in our present society.
Doing justice to the theme of the camp, in one of the days, the youth group was distributed by three poor neighborhoods of the region and took a message of hope and a demonstration of love and compassion to these people.
The camp ended with a night of celebration and concert with several christian Nazarene bands from different churches of the district and a variety of rhythms including rock and reggae.
To crown the program, the NYI group from our church presented a choreography - My life is You - and Nicole was part of it. This is the ministry she feels most confortable in serving since she was a little girl.
We post below the video of the presentation. It's a bit long, but it's worth seeing.
Monday, January 17
We traveled with the Zani family (Field Strategy Coordinator) and the Ramirez (Ezequiel parents) for a very special service of children dedication. In this service 5 children were dedicated to the Lord. Fernando had the privilege of dedicating two of these children and that brought us much joy and was a tremendous privilege.
On this Sunday we got home very late, but feeling a tremendous satisfaction.
See more pictures here
Saturday, January 15
The first Assembly was in the district El Alto Noroeste, and it took place in the city of El Alto located at 13,615ft. It was a two-day assembly, but I only came in from the second day. Besides the privilege of preaching and chairing the assembly business, I was also given the pleasure of doing a child dedication during the opening service of the Assembly.
The second Assembly was at the La Paz District, and it was in the city of La Paz, located at 11,942ft of altitude. It was a full-day Assembly. It was tiring due to the quantity of reports we listened to. But it was at the same time inspiring to receive a challenge to go out to the mission. During the assembly and closing service we had the opportunity to listen to two musical groups, "Mujeres Virtuosas" (typical Bolivian music with christian lyrics) and "Mariachi por Amor" (christian music with a Mariachi rhythm).
The third Assembly was in the Los Yungas district, in Palos Blacos, a small town in the middle of the Bolivian jungle, in the region of Los Yungas. To get there, we traveled through the famous road known as the "Death Route" due to the many fatal accidents that happen so frequently on this road. Although the route has a section that is really dangerous, the new asphalted road has helped a lot to improve the reputation of the ancient route between La Paz and Caranavi in Los Yungas. It was a 7-hour trip and it felt good to arrive and be so welcomed by our brothers and sisters that were waiting for us there.
The second to the last assembly was in the South district. To get there, we had to go back to La Paz and from there travel 3 hours to Oruro located at 12,159ft above sea level. With all the differences in altitude and the number of days spent in high altitudes, it helped to take some coca leaves' tea, as that helps the lungs to better process oxygen at these high altitudes. We also had to take some of the famous pills against soroche (also known as the disease of the altitudes). At this assembly we received the report of organization of two new congregations as Organized Churches.
Finally, on route to go home after 10 days of travel, we stopped at the beautiful city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Since this was a mid-week assembly, the assemly took place in the record time of 3.5 hours. But it was equally inspiring to listen to each pastoral report, and to the report of the development planned for the district.
This was an opportunity to be in contact with a reality very much different from the big cities and of the more developed Countries and see that we find there the same or even greater passion for the development of the church of the Nazarene even in the most remote places of our World. The Great Comission is being fulfilled not only in the places of easy access, but it is getting to the places that seem to be most inaccessible.
See more pictures here.