Mobilized: Latin America’s
Great Commission generation
By Richard Nicholson
One of the exciting elements in the growth of the church in Latin America and the Caribbean is the involvement of the region’s youth. Young people are being mobilized for ministry in a variety of ways. Excitement over evangelism and an expanding participation in both world and home missions are spreading rapidly in every area of the region.
Recently my wife, Cynthia, and I attended the Venezuelan General Conference in Merida. The agenda included a powerful presentation by a King’s Castle team. King’s Castle, a youth mobilization ministry pioneered by Don and Terri Triplett, missionaries to El Salvador, has expanded into several countries in the region.
The woman who led the team in Merida was trained in El Salvador and had ministered in Southern Asia. Now she was in Venezuela to raise up a team of fervent young men and women to join her in dedicating their lives for the sake of the gospel. Already 500 youth are enlisted and ready to go!
With its emphases on missions, evangelism, discipleship and training, the well-rounded program of King’s Castle is energizing the entire church, and the future looks extremely bright. Pastors are wholeheartedly behind this training process. The youths’ passion for ministry is a welcome addition to the ministry of local congregations.
Nelson and Rennae de Freitas, missionaries to Dominican Republic, directed a gathering of 28 youth at a Caribbean Institute for Missions Advancement held in the heart of the nation. They report that these young people already were seeking God concerning His calling on their lives.
One youth expressed a desire to be a missionary to Africa. Another shared his burden for the people of neighboring Haiti.
Claudia, a young woman in attendance, told the de Freitases, “I suffered abuse as a child, but God has shown me how He wants to use my past to help heal others. I dream of opening a home for abused children in a foreign country.”
In Peru, missionaries Rich and Wanda Ferguson led a team of more than 200 King’s Castle members on an eight-day missions blitz in the city of Cajamarca. The group preached and ministered to 126,000 people across the city. By the time they left, 50,000 people had accepted Christ. Imagine the impact this type of ministry makes on a local church!
The emphasis on missions among youth is affecting the attitude of believers of all ages. An estimated 70 percent of Assemblies of God congregations in El Salvador are involved in missions. Churches are sensing the need for missions outreach as never before.
And while much of the focus of missions training centers on youth, children also are being mobilized for ministry. Church leaders believe that by the time these children become teenagers, they will be experienced soul winners who are ready to take the world by storm.
Missionaries in Argentina are preparing for an even greater surge in evangelism. Last year the King’s Castle youth of this nation raised funds for three missionary outreaches — all in sensitive areas of the world — and purchased sound equipment for two newly planted churches in Argentina.
This year they plan to assist Argentine missionaries in Cape Verde, Africa, and purchase vehicles for workers in Spain and Southern Asia. They also plan to do 10 home missions outreaches to assist new congregations.
Missionary Martha Lesperance, director of the King’s Castle outreach in Argentina, believes this is only the initial wave of what God has planned for the youth of that nation.
“We’re going to have an excellent crop of missionaries in just a few years,” she says. “I keep telling them that their borders are the nations. River Plate Bible Institute near Buenos Aires is going to be full of King’s Castle teens.”
Across the region, an army of young people is being raised up to believe in the baptism in the Holy Spirit, the Great Commission mandate and a personal involvement in evangelism. It’s only logical to assume that these young people will one day fill pulpits of missions-minded churches or go as missionaries and evangelists in an international setting.
Get ready, world! The youth of Latin America and the Caribbean are coming!
Richard Nicholson is regional director of Latin America and the Caribbean for Assemblies of God World Missions.
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