GCI: GCI Churches and Work in Latin America

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Hector Barrero,
National Director
for Colombia, is our Missions Director for Latin America. He is well known in
Colombia because he hosts a radio program. Easily 60 percent of our members in
Colombia came in during the past few years as a result of the radio program.
Hector served as vice president for both the NAE in Colombia and for the
largest pastor’s association in Bogotá. He is also the national representative
for Christian Schwartz’ Natural Church Development. He is often invited to
speak at various churches. Recently he was called in to share his testimony by
a group of churches that are concerned with the growth among many churches in
Colombia of Jewish practices from the Old Testament. 

Mexico: We have over 200
people attending church services every week in 15 groups scattered in the country,
the one in Guadalajara being the largest. We have members in Chihuahua,
Cuauhtemoc, Mexicali, Mexico DF, Monterrey, Tepic, Tijuana, Torreon, Tampico,
San Luis Potosi, Ciudad Juarez, Xalapa, Veracruz, Jalpa de Mendez, Orizaba, and
Francisco Villa. At present we have two yearly seminars of three days each for
the leadership. In these seminars we work on doctrine, governance, promote
unity and direction.

For Spanish-speaking areas,
see the Comunión de Gracia Internacional website.

For Brazil, see the Você Está Incluido blog.

For México, see the CIG México blog.

The groups in these cities
are working within their communities helping and reaching out. They have weekly
church services, in most cases at member homes. They invite family and friends
to their Bible studies. The Guadalajara congregation has a rented hall.

Central America: We held a
yearly seminar for members and leaders in either El Salvador or in Honduras. We
invite leaders and members from Costa Rica and Nicaragua. This seminar is the
only opportunity we have every year to see each other to plan for the future of
the congregations in this area.

In Honduras we have two
groups: one of about 50 people in the capital Tegucigalpa, led by Mauricio
Diaz. This congregation has a ministry serving prisoners in a local jail.
Members of the congregation are allowed by the prison authorities to present
Bible studies. Members also take used clothing and Bibles to the prisoners.

The other congregation is
in the northern part of the country, in San Pedro Sula, attended by about 30
adults and 50 children, led by Marco Antonio Mejía. Marco Antonio, a former
school teacher, has a growing children’s ministry in the area. At the end of
each year the congregation gives children school supplies for next year.
Parents of the children appreciate this gesture very much, as many of them need
the help.

In El Salvador we have a
small group of about 12 in the capital, San Salvador. There we have David
Agreda, who translates our church publications into Spanish. He does an
excellent job translating and keeping updated our Spanish web page. David is
also our contact reference for all our leaders in Latin America. Two U.S.
pastors and the local congregation in San Salvador give David a monthly
offering for his work. We appreciate the help of those who contribute to make
possible this monthly offering. David is translating into Spanish some of the
classes offered by Ambassador College of Christian Ministry – material used by
the denomination to train leaders and pastors.

South America

This is a huge area with over 450
million inhabitants. Our denomination is present in the following countries:

In Colombia, we have two
congregations – one in Barranquilla, of over 50 in attendance, pastored by
Sonia Orozco de Vengoechea. Sonia is the owner and principal of a school with
270 students. Sonia registered her school as a Christian-oriented institution,
so she is allowed to teach Christian values to the students. As a result, many
students and their parents are attending weekly services. Sonia has in the
school a youth ministry led by a deacon with an attendance of 35 youngsters.
The influence of Sonia’s school in the community is positive and well received
by the neighborhood around the school.

The other congregation is
in Bogota, the capital, with over 100 people in attendance. The church’s
three-minute daily program in radio station Nuevo Continente reaches many
Christian homes. We constantly receive new visitors to church services and
phone calls from people who want spiritual guidance and counselling. The radio
program has been on the air for over seven years and has given us the
opportunity to come into contact with other denominations and their pastors and
with secular radio stations, which have occasionally invited us to discuss a
variety of subjects. We also receive constant invitations from the other
Christian radio station, Vida AM, to participate in opinion programs. Our
church is well known among the Christian community in the city.  Nuevo
Continente officials have invited us to increase our time spot from three to
five minutes for 2008. Vida AM has invited us to have our program on their
station but we have not accepted it because of our limited budget.

In the Bogota congregation
we have been working to train small group leaders, and we have 10 small groups
going during the week. We also send trained missionaries to visit scattered
members over the country.

In Peru we have three small
groups in the country. In Lima, the capital, we have 12 to 15 people who meet
weekly with pastor Jose Kasum. This year we had a two-day seminar with
attendance of 47, children included. We invited leaders from the Piura and San Benito
groups. We plan to continue having a yearly seminar in Lima as budget permits.

In Argentina we have two
congregations, one in Bahia Blanca of about 25 in attendance, and the other in
Buenos Aires with close to 50 in attendance, whose pastor is Julio Fernandez.
Julio works for a local Christian publication and is in contact with other
evangelical pastors and denominations. In 2007 we held a two-day seminar in
Ezeiza, near Buenos Aires, attended by over 50 people. The Ezeiza congregation
owns a nice church hall in the middle of a community in which residents are
somewhat related by family ties. When the MD visits Argentina he also visits
Uruguay and Chile, where we have friend congregations. We want to keep our
commitment to visit members and friend congregations in this area once a year.

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