New Life in Latin America
The year 2020 initiated a season of pruning in the Latin American branch of the Free Methodist Church. The coronavirus crisis, with all of its health and financial implications, tested people’s faith. Some fell away, but the difficult realities brought on by the crisis strengthened the faith of many others, making them more committed, more resilient and better Christ-followers. A new remnant has risen out of the ashes of the deaths of two beloved and fruitful pastors in Ecuador and Peru. New leaders have taken on their responsibilities, and revival is taking place in those parts of their countries!
Changes made in district leadership caused some pastors to leave the denomination. Still, at the same time, God is raising new leaders who are committed disciples and aligned with the vision of the FM church in Latin America. Pandemic-related quarantines drove believers out of their church buildings but resulted in a renewed focus on holistic ministry, creative methods to share the gospel, and church growth. In October 2020, the area celebrated over 70 baptisms!
Growing instability and governmental turmoil in countries like Nicaragua, Venezuela, Argentina and Chile resulted in the church standing up to take on transformational roles in society. As they meet physical needs, they are introducing people to the everlasting hope found in Jesus.
Likewise, the migration of people fleeing these difficult situations has resulted in more new believers as hearts are softened to the gospel message and community church networks expand. We now have 40 thriving Community Church Planting (CCP) networks and have assigned a second CCP coordinator.
In Matthew 15 Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” The pruning process is difficult and painful, but God continually reminds us He is in control; we can depend on Him to meet all of our needs. We can celebrate His creative ways for growing the church beyond the four walls that all too often limit us. Our role is to participate with Him in the restoration of Latin America by developing healthy leaders, multiplying committed disciples and equipping transformational churches! We invite you to pray with us for the restoration and transformation of Latin America!– Ricardo Gómez, FMWM Latin America Area Director