Opportunities…Passion…and Celebration!

 Left to right Alessandra Mercon (interpreter and Eduardo’s daughter), Javier Silva (Norte Church, Ecuador), Craig Murray (CMI) , Victor Herrera (Puembo Church, Ecuador), and Eduardo Mercon (Encuentro Church, Venezuela).

CMI jumped at the chance last week to personally hear from three pastors on the frontlines of urban ministry in Ecuador and Venezuela! CMI works alongside these guys, and they were in Houston for a semi-annual Pastors Circle gathering of CMI ministry partners from cities throughout Latin America.

Following the Circle, CMI hosted a “Meet the Pastor” Dessert in Dallas to hear from three pastors how God is working through His church in Latin America to transform families, communities, and cities for Christ.

We gathered around the Hope Center’s fireplace last Thursday evening with Pastor Javier Silva of The Norte Church (Quito, Ecuador) Victor Herrera of The Puembo Church (Quito, Ecuador), and Eduardo Mercon from the Encuentro Church (Caracas, Venezuela) as our honored guests. We were grateful they were able to attend the Pastors Circle and our Dessert in light of the longer-term difficulties going on in Venezuela, and the most recent riots and chaos happening in Ecuador.

Venezuela’s situation seems grim… poverty, violence, lack of food, water, and electricity are among the realities the country is facing. And Ecuador’s more recent violence and riots resulted in blocked streets and curfews, affecting Pastor Javier as he flew out of Quito last week. A simple trip to the airport proved challenging as blocked streets and rioters caused Javier to change his route many times…finally reaching the airport after continued delays.

As the three pastors shared details of their own ministries and how they see God working, some common themes emerged. My takeaways from the evening were:

1. Difficulties are opportunities! In spite of what’s happening in Venezuela and Ecuador, God’s Church is alive and thriving there! And the hardships make for open hearts to the gospel like never before! As Eduardo shared…when he began his ministry in Venezuela, trying to engage people through conversation or handing out tracts was hard. Most turned away and were not interested. Today, Venezuelans are hungry for hope. Eduardo finds few turn him away as he shares the ultimate hope found in Christ.

2. Be faithful and passionate about the gospel! Our Latin American brothers and sisters’ faith and passion in sharing the gospel daily are something we can learn from and copy!

3. Celebrate! God is working in and through His church to impact cities around the world…as witnessed through the testimonies of Eduardo, Javier, and Victor.

Craig Murray
Executive Director
Church Ministries International