"We will go out of respect. But we will say 'No' to any invitation to get involved." That's what Geovanny and his wife Jenny agreed to before their first visit to República Church.
Geovanny's father had invited him and his wife to visit his church. The respectful thing to do was to accept. The shrewd thing to do was to have a plan for getting in and out without saying yes to anything.
Following his parent's divorce, Geovanny watched his father get involved at Church…from a distance. That had always been Geovanny's relationship with God and church—distant, unfamiliar, and strange.
With their plan in place, Geovanny and Jenny respectfully went to the República Sunday gathering. Just as they were finishing their obligatory attendance, the announcement came for República's women's retreat.
Geovanny's father insisted Jenny sign up and he covered the fee. Only minutes from tiptoeing in and 'escaping' as planned, they got tossed into the deep end.
But Jenny wouldn't go down without a fight. Two weekends following the women's retreat was the men's retreat. "Fair is fair," Jenny insisted. If she had to go, Geovanny had to go.
This was it. "No more," they insisted. Once the retreats were over, so was their fleeting relationship with República Church. But the grace of Jesus invaded each of their lives at their respective retreats.
Despite the best plans and considerable effort, grace won.
"I felt the hug of a perfect Father at that retreat and I fell in love with God," Jenny says—abandoned by her own father as a child.
A week later, in desperation, Geovanny prayed "If you are real Lord, change my life."
Soon, Geovanny and Jenny were making the 1-hour trek north from their home to República Church each Sunday.
They began volunteering and taking discipleship classes. They met Jesus together, got baptized together, and grew together. Geovanny even started seminary.
Several years in, República Church announced plans to plant a daughter church called Norte. Geovanny & Jenny felt called to join, but this would push them even farther north from their home.
A 1-hour trek doubled. For months, they traveled 2 hours through the city to help plant Norte Church.
Like Jesus telling Peter to put the boat out 'into deep water,' they were called further into relationship and ministry.
At Norte Church, Geovanny felt the call to full-time ministry.
In the next chapter of a story only the Lord could write, Norte Church recently announced plans to plant their first daughter church in the northern-most tip of the city of Quito.
And who will be leading the charge as the planting pastor? Who said 'yes' to the call? Geovanny, Jenny, and a core group from Norte Church.
When Jesus invites you deeper, even the best-laid plans can fail beautifully. Thank you for saying 'yes' to partnering with CMI. You are changing lives, planting churches, and reaching cities for Christ.