Gómez Family / Latin America Area Report | October 2019

It has been difficult to put the last two months into words. In fact, this newsletter has been ruminating in my brain for several weeks. What should I write? What can I say? Yes, there are a lot of good things to report...but there is an opposite reality. And then, this morning, the newsletter came to me in one word.... UNREST. That is the word that best defines the state of our area at this time.
  • Tensions growing after years of inequality
  • Unjust systems, corruption and abandonment
  • Citizens unite and governments react
  • Peaceful protests turn violent
  • Confrontations, ugly and telling
  • Fingers pointing, accusations flying
  • Fear, division and desperation take hold
  • Civil unrest prevails
This is a simplistic glimpse of what is happening in Haiti, in Venezuela, in Chile, in Bolivia, in Nicaragua and Honduras. Turmoil is the daily bread, in fact in some places it is the only bread, as nations appear to be imploding. Transportation is paralyzed, food and water scarce! In Venezuela and Chile the Mission District leaders are distributing food the food they can collect to our pastors.

Ecuador also had 10 days of unrest, protests and destruction unlike any in their history. The Mission District Leader there, Mariana Mafla, said, "we know that the only perfect and just government is the government of Jesus Christ. It is time for the church to seek Him and to proclaim Him and share His salvation with the world around us!" What a word for all of us in such unsettled times. Please pray for revival and restoration, please pray for peace, and above all, pray that God will reign in the hearts and minds of the people. Let's get out there and share Him with those around us!
Jet-lag, Joy-filled Jet-Lag  Another reason that unrest is appropriate for this newsletter is because we (and Ricardo in particular) have been traveling a lot.
In September, Ricardo led the annual meetings in Puerto Rico and the Shoreline district. In Puerto Rico he ordained 12 elders in the FM church, two of them were mother and daughter, and one of them is our first ordained pastor in Antigua. While the job is not yet finished, it was great to see the many ways in which the island is rebuilding after Hurricane Maria, including spiritually. Pastora Mercedes Reynoso was reelected Superintendent for the next 4 years.
He got to spend wonderful time with our fellow missionaries, the Leon Family, during the Shoreline District Annual meetings. It was encouraging to see the number of capable leaders in this young district that stretches from Costa Rica to Germany and beyond. There he officially receive 3 Conference Ministerial Candidates, including District Leader, Pastor Dennis Leon. 
We spent two weeks in the USA attending meetings and visiting two of our supporting churches, Wilmore FMC and Calvary FMC. It was great to reconnect with them!

We also had the blessing of a mini-family reunion with Beth's family since she and her sister, who is a missionary in Guatemala, happened to be in the same country at the same time. About 68% of the family was able to attend.
In October, Ricardo returned to Costa Rica to oversee the Annual Meetings there. As he taught them about the new pastoral formation system, he was also able to model a new way of conducting annual meetings in which they were able to celebrate together God's faithfulness in the ministry there. The united service on Sunday morning was a real highlight of the trip.
Finally, we all traveled to Brazil for the FM World Conference where we met most of the Bishops from around the world. We also had important organizational meetings with Bishop Linda Adams, Gerry Coates (from FMWM headquarters), and Bishop Daniel Abe (from the Nikkei Conference). Bishop Abe and Adams treated us to a true Brazilian Churrasquceria. Jonathan thought he was nearly in paradise with all-you-can-eat meat!
We got back just in time for Ricardo to head off to Honduras where he met Supt. Brent Thompson (Ohio Conference) and together they will officially create the Honduran Mission District, name a local leader, and model the format for annual meetings. Whew! That's a lot of jet-lag!
We thank God for each and everyone of you, and for your commitment to partner with us as we serve Latin America to bring Biblical restoration to the region. (By the way, the FMWM publication called the Heartbeat focused on ministry in Latin America this month. Check out the articles using the link below.). Please continue to pray with us...and let us know how we can best be praying for you!

Many blessings and...Happy Thanksgiving in advance,
Ricardo, Beth, Juliana & Jonathan