Transformational Opportunities

I've always been fascinated by butterflies. How can something so beautiful and sometimes large, come out of those often and ugly and much smaller cocoons? Today, all of the Latin American countries are in the midst of some level of quarantine - in Colombia we are on day 28 of at least 36 days of strict quarantine. As we've been cocooned in, I've been wondering what we will we look like when we emerge from it? I definitely don't think we'll emerge this present reality unchanged!

As you probably know by now, if you've been getting these newsletters for a while, last year the whole Latin American team adopted the following mission statement: We develop healthy leaders who multiply committed disciples and plant transformational churches to bring Biblical restoration to Latin America. I truly believe that the pastoral care groups we began to help develop healthy leaders definitely helped prepare us for and have kept us strong throughout this crisis. Though it is difficult to truly track, as services moved online, more and more people started tuning in and there have been new conversions! Churches have also responded well to the crisis as they care for the daily needs of the people in their communities. In fact, the glimpses of transformation that we are seeing in Latin America are beautiful indeed!
Unprecedented Unity
Just like everywhere else in the world, when churches were closed, ministry moved online. One of our pastors told Ricardo, there are so many people watching online that I don't know where we will put them all when we can meet together again.

Several churches and conferences have invited "guest" speakers from other parts of the continent for conferences or services. The travel cost alone made this idea unheard of prior to quarantine.

Most exciting were the Holy Week Without Borders service that we held. People from all of the Latin American countries sang, prayed, preached or read Scripture in these 4 services which were viewed throughout the region, in the USA and even Europe. Without the global pandemic, we probably never would have had this opportunity.
above: Ricardo meets w/ all of the Latin Leaders to share and pray. He met with US missionaries the same way. below: united Holy Week services.
Ministry that Truly Transforms Lives
Many people in Latin America depend on informal employment, sometimes living off of what they can make daily. Due to the Coronavirus and governmental quarantines, opportunities for informal employment have come to a screeching halt throughout the region. Many people are hungry and there is no relief in sight. Thankfully, despite their own limited resources, many of our churches are responding. They are cooking and distributing meals, creating food pantries, delivering groceries, and providing for the vast numbers of needy in their communities. Below are pictures of just 3 examples of the transformational ministry taking place.
Youth uniting to prepare and serve meals to the hungry in Argentina
Providing food and cleaning supplies to families at a FM school in Paraguay
Delivering groceries to needy families in Colombia
At the Carmen de Areco church in Argentina, the youth started cooking meals and feeding lunch to over 100 people a day as soon as the quarantine started in their country. This past weekend they made a big pot of soup. At 1:30 p.m. the food was gone, having already fed 200 people. They decided to make more so that the workers could eat. When they finished there was another line of hungry people outside. They gave them all that they had and there were still people crying for food when it was gone. 

This is the reality of many places in Latin America and it will get worse as the quarantine continues. We are so thankful that the churches are stepping up to the plate to serve. If you would like to help support these already ongoing efforts and feed the most needy in our communities, please click on the button below or write "Latin American Humanitarian Aid" on the memo of your check to FMWM.
Personally Speaking
As a family, we are doing well. Of course, Ricardo is no longer traveling (he got home safely from his last trip - Praise God - just before the quarantine started). We were supposed to move into our new apartment on April 8 but won't be able to do so until a few weeks after the quarantine ends. Thankfully, the seminary is allowing us to stay in a guest apartment until then. The kids are both doing on-line school and I am working hard as Ricardo's assistant and trying to keep up with communication for the area. As a family, we have read through the book of Acts and are now in 2 Corinthians. A quarantine bonus!
The health of our leaders as they serve the needy among them
That new people might become committed disciples
For churches to continue ministering to most vulnerable during this time of Coronavirus
That the financial obligations within the area might be met through ongoing, generous giving
A cure and vaccine for this disease.

Thank you so much for your ongoing, generous support and for you words of encouragement in such a time as this.

We are praying for you,
Ricardo, Beth, Juliana & Jonathan Gomez
Contact us on WhatsApp +57 317 730 5344
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