Amelia Casillas

How would you describe the mission of our partner in Argentina and your work with them?

God gives us beautiful privileges, which allow us to reach other lands where we can share and learn about the experience of faith that allows us to build and serve in love, friendship and solidarity.  After 17 years of pastoring in the city of Caguas, P.R., God allows us to reach distant lands, to meet and accompany a people that our God has already been taking care of with much love.  Being a part of the God’s project is an undeserved privilege.  It is being able to get to where there are people that receive me with love and attention.  They are a believing people, hardworking and helpful that worship and love God.  So I have to say thank you God for this gift so precious that we've arrived to Argentina, to the land of the Chaco, so that together we can accomplish the mission that has been entrusted to us.  We have had the opportunity to share, talk transparently where we can have open spaces to meet, listen and learn from each pastorate and their leaderships; but at the same time with the opportunity to share strategies, work plans, our love and understanding.  We are located in the Northern Region where there are three congregations: Resistance, Barranqueras and in the community of General Vedia in Chaco Argentina. We have initiated the process of getting to know each of the congregations, sharing with them, which has allowed us to begin along with the pastors’ possible strategies to strengthen the congregations.  The difference is made by the capacity of their leadership to recognize areas of need, allowing us to help, and in this way being able to walk together towards God’s project in the North Region of Argentina.

The congregations of Argentina have particular needs.  And in these two months not yet completed, having established ourselves to live in one of the pastoral houses of one of the congregations of the Chaco, has enabled us to begin with these congregations a beautiful relationship of partners.  Our responsibility will be guided to what would be the advice in all processes corresponding to the support of each congregation and brotherhood with the Disciples Of Christ Church of Paraguay.  Work has started in the North Region of Argentina, where the doors have opened to an active collaboration, united and with much desire to be able to develop strategies that will strengthen the congregations. So we are walking with the pastorate and its leadership (especially in the Church of Resistance where I reside), at their pace, listening to them with great intent, observing their processes of life, learning and talking in formal and informal gatherings.

What led you to engage in this calling?

As a young person, newly married, with my husband who was widowed, we went to preach in various parts of the United States, my husband went to Colombia and the Dominican Republic and it was together when we went to the United States and Mexico. We spent several months in Mexico where we settled in Clanepankla; together with a family we met at the Assembly of God Church in East Chicago, US.  We arrived there and helped them with a new church start in Tizayuca and we did community work in Tenayuca, which was the area where their family lived. This experience marked our lives. It was necessary to leave and return to our people in Puerto Rico, with my husband, sick from kidney failure, we had to settle in our country.  But I prayed to God to give me the privilege of coming back to Mexico. It was a period of preparation for this stage in my life, even though at that moment I did not understand.  There was an opening to work in the Department of Family in Puerto Rico, I studied at the Evangelical Seminary of P.R. and by the grace of God I obtained a Doctorate in Ministry at the Theological Seminary of Mc Cormick, Chicago. The result of all this was: 17 years of secular work experience, pastored in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Puerto Rico for 20 years, where I was ordained.  Widowed and God gave me the privilege to meet and marry my current husband, Pedro A. Carlo and God answered my prayer to return to Mexico in 2005, for a Disciples of Christ Women activity in the Sierra Huasteca in San Louis Potosi. However, God sent us to Argentina, where we feel loved, accepted and there is room to do what God wants us to develop, with whom they have come to be our people, too.  So what leads us to participate in this call is the love for the work of God and the recognition that God wants to share with others how much He has given us. God has called us to walk with the people of Argentina and Paraguay, where we arrived on Thursday, May 2, 2013; in that place I was received by beautiful people.

Is there a passage of scripture that carries special meaning in your daily work? 

The first calling that I can identify where I felt the Word become life in me was the biblical portion of Mark 6:30-44 "Give them something to eat."  I took that biblical reading as a deep call to consecrate my life to the service of God and share what God had given me.  I was raised in a Christian home, full of joy, peace and security.  After two years of marriage, I was faced with the terminal illness of my first husband for 19 years, of which he was sick 16. I experienced the peace of God in the midst of the crisis.  I was sustained and supported by the love of family, church and community in which I related to.  Today, I have to share that peace, love and support that God gives to his people to face every challenge in life.  It's the moment to continue accompanying our people according to their needs, not abandoning them in the middle of their shortfalls.  We must continue to keep feeding physically, emotionally and spiritually the people. So help us God.

What are some of the challenges that our partners in Argentina are facing?

I’d like to present at this moment a great challenge that the Church of Resistance is facing. Their youth and adolescents, which are not many, have been given the task of working on a mission for many years in Fortuna.  The Mission of Fortuna is located in an area of ​​extreme poverty, the streets are unpaved when it rains it can transit.  God has given us the opportunity to join this group of youth and adolescents, some whose mothers join.  There they are attending around 9-13 children.  They are given songs, Bible classes and come with bread.  They wait for us every Saturday, because whenever I'm in Resistance, we accompany these youth that are rising.  

We could say of a lot of things we need, such as put conditions on the structure of the mission, equipment, materials and others.  But what we really need and which I ask is for you to help us pray for a young adult or adult, that God places this call to ministry; and this effort of young people and adolescents with the children of that community can be formally channeled as a place of worship and care for the fathers, mothers and adults in the community.  To supply what each family needs, the manifestation of the love of God spiritually, emotionally and socially. We will be grateful for your prayers.

What lesson have you learned working alongside the people of Argentina?

I’ve observed a faithful group that loves God and the church unconditionally.  Seeing the brothers and sisters, yes, women also of the congregation arrive to the services or activities on Saturday and Sunday in public groups, scooters and bicycles, no matter the time, has been something I’ve admired and celebrate.  It has shown us a lesson in the sense of responsibility and the manifestation of God’s love in people who do not make excuses to arrive to the temple.  The church in the North Region of Argentina is sustained by courageous people who love God and the church.  We pray for more committed people so that the work is fulfilled with the mission of the gospel and with communities.

Amelia works with:

Amelia Casillas