8 Oct

You’ve heard about win-win situations, but have you heard of a four-way win? This photo represents a win for four organizations in Latin America: SonLife, International Teams, The Evangelical Free Church of Venezuela, and ReachGlobal. These are 26 Venezuelans who just arrived in Costa Rica for a week of intensive training in SonLife, a Jesus focused curriculum designed for youth ministry around the world.

It all began two years ago when I visited with the Venezuelan E-Free board in Maracay. Venezuela is where our mission started in Latin America over 110 years ago. At one point there were over 100 E-Free missionaries there and the national church grew. But over time fewer missionaries chose Venezuela and today there are only a few still in-country. Naturally our relationship with the national church changed, and when I stepped into the leadership role for Latin America we needed to renew our partnership and explore how we can best work together. One of the desires that the board expressed was to have strong youth leaders for their country where over half the population is under the age of 24. That is when God brought me into contact with International Teams and SonLife who have their Latin America base here in San Jose.

Ernesto, a Costa Rican national and a leader with SonLife here, felt God’s call to the Venezuelan needs. He and his wife explored the possibility of living in Venezuela and working with us and our partners. Instead, they felt the call to do the work yet live in Costa Rica. At first glance, that may sound like a cop-out, but in actuality, it is a very healthy way to avoid dependency issues arising. Ernesto has been to Venezuela several times now, identifying key young leaders and providing the initial phases of training. He has been mentoring these leaders via Skype and has seen incredible growth. We then began to plan a week long intensive in Costa Rica at the International Teams property where lodging and meeting facilities are more available. And today I was privileged to be with this group as they began an arduous but exciting program.

We don’t know what God will do with this in the future, but it is clear that there are a number of leaders here who are going to have a huge impact on Venezuela and the world. What a privilege it is to be part of a multi-entity partnership whose only goal is to see the kingdom of God grow indigenously.

My only regret….I didn’t get one of those very cool Juventud Libre shirts!

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