Area Update

Area Update

Updated November 2005

Updated November 2005

Mission Staff:

Carmelo Alvarez continues to serve as a CGMB missionary assigned to the Latin American Evangelical Pentecostal Commission (CEPLA).

Jorge L. Bardeguez continues to serve as a CGMB missionary assigned to coordinate the theological education program of the Christian Mission of Nicaragua, based in Managua.

Angela Fife completed a one-year term of service as Global Mission Intern assigned to Colegio El Pacifico, in Mazatlán, Mexico, on July 31, 2005.  Angela worked with social and youth programs of the Christian Congregational Church in Mazatlán and she also taught English at the school, an educational institution affiliated with the Christian Congregational Churches of Mexico.

Daniel Gourdet continues to serve as CGMB missionary assigned to work as development and educational consultant with the National Spiritual Council of Churches of Haiti (CONASPEH), based in Port-Au-Prince.  On July 15, Sandra Gourdet concluded her assignment as Dean of the theological seminary and began her new ministry as CGMB Area Executive for Africa.  Daniel completes his assignment in December 2006.

Linda and Bruce Hanson continue serving as CGMB missionaries assigned to the Evangelical and Reformed Church of Honduras (IERH) and its Association of Evangelical Institutions of Honduras (AIEH).  They are working with the medical programs of the AIEH as well as in community churches of IERH.

Elena Huegel continues as project coordinator for the design and development of the Pentecostal Church of Chile (IPC)’s new Shalom Conference Center.

John Kleinschmidt is serving as a Global Mission Intern assigned to the Salvadorian Lutheran Synod.  John is working as a consultant for the housing construction project sponsored by the Synod.

Erin Larsen will conclude her term as Global Mission Intern assigned to educational and social service activities of Colegio Internacional, a Disciples primary-secondary school in Asunción, Paraguay December 2005.

Carmen Alicia Nebot will conclude her service as CGMB missionary assigned to work with the Caribbean Council of Churches (CCC) in December, 2005.  She is currently the facilitator for the Spanish-speaking Caribbean countries and with the Amnesty International, Chapter of Puerto Rico. 

Justino Pérez and Zaida Rivera began a new appointment on July 1, 2005 as CGMB missionaries assigned to the Christian Congregational Churches of Mexico, the Alliance of Evangelical Churches (Disciples of Christ) of Mexico (AICEDCAR), and the Fraternity of Evangelical Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) of Mexico (CICE), to work as consultants for church capacity building, church mission development program and reconciliation.

Paul Pitcher will conclude his term in December, 2005 as CGMB missionary assigned to the Cultural Association of Guatemala (ACG) where he works with the Community and Youth Ministries.

Inés Sarli, M.D. concluded her term with the Christian Church Disciples of Christ in Paraguay as general director of the Disciples’ Friendship Mission, a community multi-service center in Asunción.  Inés recently completed her home assignment and has returned to Buenos Aires, Argentina in retirement and will serve CGMB as a volunteer consultant for medical ministries with the Disciples of Christ Church of Argentina.

Shannon Walker began an appointment last May as CGMB Global Mission Intern assigned to Caminante, an ecumenical organization based in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.


As part of the conversation between the Disciples of Christ in Argentina and Paraguay regarding their common background (same origin, same colonial and dictatorial history), similar challenges for today (negative impact of globalization and the lack of human rights) and a similar quest for mission development, the Argentinean Disciples Church, reaffirmed its commitment to develop a plan to work in mutual accompaniment with the Paraguayan Disciples of Christ Church. 

The Institute of Graduates Theological Studies (ISEDET), the leading Protestant seminary in Argentina, has a new Dean — Dr. Mercedes Garcia Bachmann.  She is a Lutheran pastor and Old Testament scholar.  She will visit partners in the United States at the end of November 2005, including a visit to Indianapolis.

After visiting the Council of Evangelical Churches of Colombia (CEDECOL) and its Restoration, Life and Peace Commission (CRVP) three times this year (two by the Area Executive and one by the Program Associate), Global Ministries is in the process of appointing a Global Ministries missionary or missionaries to CEDECOL to work with the Restoration, Life and Peace Commission, to provide pastoral support, in accordance with the critical presence criteria of the CGMB.  In July, Ricardo Esquivia, National Coordinator of CRVP, attended the General Synod of the United Church of Christ in Atlanta, Georgia.

{mosimage}The Women’s Network of CEDECOL was the recipient of a CGMB Award of Affirmation.  Originally, the award was to be presented to the President of the Women’s Network, Carmen Acosta, during the General Assembly of the Christian Church, but she was not able to attend the assembly since her visa was denied.  The Program Associate for Latin America and the Caribbean, therefore, visited Colombia and presented the award to the Women’s Network.  The goal of the Network is to provide women with education, economic development, human rights, leadership development, and training on skills for self-sustenance and physical safety. 

The Shalom Conference Center of the Pentecostal Church of Chile continues its ministry emphasizing ecology and stewardship of God’s creation, as well as peace, justice and God-filled family and community relationships.  

{mosimage}Costa Rica

This year the Center was able to improve its facilities with help from Global Ministries and One Great Hour of Sharing.  New kitchen appliances, cookware and utensils improved food services.  Paint, roof repairs and flooring improved some of the classrooms.  New educational resources were purchased to help improve the teaching efforts.  GM received pictures from the grateful and happy staff and children.

{mosimage}Izcar Delgado, from Mi Tía Day Care Center in San José, Costa Rica, will visit the Shalom Conference Center in Chile from January 3 to February 14, 2006.  Izcar has received financial assistance from the Dr. Mae Yoho Ward Enabling Scholarships Fund.  The purpose of the exchange is to provide Izcar with intense training in conflict resolution, recreation and ecology during the Leaders Training Course at the Shalom Center.

The Theological Evangelical Seminary in Matanzas (SET), with the support of Global Ministries, was able to better equip their buildings to withstand hurricanes and floods.  SET repaired windows and doors and purchased a power saw and an electrical power generator with funds from One Great Hour of Sharing and Week of Compassion.  In addition, the community vegetable garden, destroyed by Hurricane Dennis, was restored and replanted.  Dr. Reinerio Arce, Rector of SET, visited Global Ministries’ offices in Indianapolis from June 15 to 17, and had a dialogue with Indianapolis staff about seminary education in Cuba.  He also spoke at the Christian Theological Seminary.

Dominican Republic
One of the burdens that Dominicans now have is the overall violence that they are facing.  It is, principally, a result of the difficult economic situations, the dysfunctional family relationships and the demographic changes with overpopulated principal cities such as Santo Domingo and Santiago. There is an increase in the number of suicides and homicides, particularly of women. In addition to their other ministries, the Dominican Evangelical Church (IED), a union of Presbyterians, Methodists, Moravians, and United Brethren, is working with the support of CGMB on a pastoral response to the community and intra-familiar crises by training leaders and pastors to assist the families, especially in urban communities where the problem is worse.  As a result of meditation, prayer, and reflection, the IED is preparing a practical document to aid in the strengthening of the faith and life of the families.  The Christian Center for Family Counseling (CECAF), another Global Ministries’ partner in the Dominican Republic, is also part of this effort.

As a result of the new partnership between Caminante and Global Ministries, Global Mission Intern Shannon Walker began a two-year appointment to work with Caminante last May.  Caminante is a program that addresses child prostitution and labor.

Alfalit Dominicano continues its ministries of literary and basic education for children, legal assistance in registering children in the civil registry, and a literacy-training program for adults.  Most participants of these programs are Haitians.  Social Services of the Dominican Churches (SSID) is promoting the Dominican-Haitian dialogue among pastors, teachers and key leaders.  These ministries are very important considering the increase in anti-Haitian sentiments in the Dominican Republic caused by the number of Haitians crossing the border due to the political, economical and social unrest in Haiti.  SSID is also coordinating the training of Dominican and Haitian farmers near the border on fish farming techniques.

El Salvador
This small country has been devastated by natural disasters this past summer/fall as a result of Hurricane Stan and the many storms that spawned afterwards.  Flooding and mudslides covered 75% of the country; over 58K were evacuated from their homes; over 65 deaths were recorded; over 450 make-shift shelters were opened.  Added to the devastation was the eruption of the Ilamatepec volcanto that caused many to leave their homes and communities.  Global Ministries, with the generous support of Once Great Hour of Sharing and Week of Compassion was able to send financial assistance to our GM partners in an effort to provide help to the most critical communities.  At this time El Salvador is still recovering from the loss of crops, homes, and entire communities and is still in need of financial assistance.

In a pastoral letter last May, Bishop Medardo Gómez, of the Salvadorian Evangelical Lutheran Church (IELS), shared his concern about the dangers that the Free Trade Agreement, between the United States and the five Central American countries, presents for the majority of the Central American people.  He expressed that the incomes of the Central American farmers will decrease, the external debts will rise, the production of food from Central America will decrease, and the emigration of Salvadorians will increase.  Finally, he invited the churches in the U.S., Canada and Europe to pray and to advocate in favor of the people.

The Salvadorian Lutheran Synod serves the community with health care ministries, kindergartens and primary school.  They also focus on leadership training programs of agricultural assistance, and aid to the poor and displaced.  The Church continues working to restore the lives of people still suffering the effects of the years of war and terror.  They also have a special project to help victims of the hurricanes and earthquakes rebuild their houses.  John Kleinschmidt is a Global Mission Intern assigned to this project.

Guatemala suffered mass landslides and road cave-ins as it faced the effects of Hurricane Stan and the storms that followed.  Many were left homeless and entire communities were left incommunicado due to roads and bridges being destroyed.  Crops and buildings were lost, as were many lives.  Global Ministries, One Great Hour of Sharing, Week of Compassion and many individual donors contributed substantial funds for food and shelter.  Our partners, ACG and CIEDEG are actively working to bring assistance and relief as soon as possible to as many places as possible.  Guatemala will be recovering from these natural disasters for many years to come.

{mosimage} CGMB missionary Paul Pitcher and ACG personnel provide assistance to many, thanks the help and support that came through GM.

Last August, Guatemalan Cultural Action (ACG) celebrated their 16th anniversary. This grassroots Mayan organization works with victims of Guatemala’s 36-years civil war. Since its foundation, ACG has been an organization of the communities, not just for the communities. Some of the ACG programs and projects include the following: Computer Center, Weaver Training Center (to weave the traditional Mayan clothing), Improved Stoves Program (to avoid extensive use of firewood), and Hamm radio communication system. The organization is planning to deliver 500 stoves this year. The Computer Center is training five students to be computer teachers. ACG also has an Earth Pastoral program.  

{mosimage} Sixty-three young students are participating in ACG scholarship program.  ACG expressed their opinions regarding the open sky mining that is severely affecting the environment. The Guatemalan government is receiving only 1% of the profit.

The political and social situations in Haiti have been deteriorating in the last few months.  Kidnappings, car-jackings, robberies, and overall violence have increased.  There is uncertainty and unrest regarding the announcement of elections in November.  Still, Global Ministries continues its support to Haiti through the work of Daniel Gourdet who continues his term in Haiti and through the financial support of the many programs which bring food, health services and training to those most in need in Haiti.

The National Spiritual Council of Churches (CONASPEH) established a transitional plan with the support of Global Ministries, in the D’Andre Seminary to fulfill the dean vacancy originated due to the appointment of Sandra Gourdet as the new Global Ministries Africa Office Executive.  CONASPEH also asked Global Ministries to appoint new missionaries.

The D’Andre Seminary of CONASPEH has a new, modernized library.  This is crucial in a country where education is a tool to achieve liberation and where access to books and educational material is scarce. The project consisted of the construction of the room for the library, the construction of bookshelves and the acquisition of books in Canada, USA, France and Haiti.  

Also, the library added audiovisual equipment such as a DVD-VCR, digital camera, projector, screen and online Bible.  Part of the project includes the translation from English to French and/or Haitian Creole and the on-site reproduction of study guides and books.

DOM President Emeritus, Dr. William Nottingham spent a week in April of this year, lecturing at the D´Andre Seminary of the National Spiritual Council of Churches of Haiti (CONASPEH).

“Ask questions – find solutions” may not be the first (or most comfortable) thing that comes to a teacher’s mind when she or he is in the front of a classroom.  But that is part of what 58 secondary teachers discussed in their four-week professional training program this summer in Jérémie, Haiti.  Global Ministries, the US Embassy, and personal donations supported the program Pwof Ansanm (Teachers Helping Teachers).  This program, under the leadership of Dr. Joy Miksic,  surveyed child-centered approaches to teaching, namely encouraging students to ask questions, solve problems, and work cooperatively.  The participants discussed how to integrate relevant information into the curriculum, such as communication, health, civics and the environment.

Konbit Anseyan Grandans, a teachers group in Jérémie, found help from Pwof Ansanm to provide training this summer. Pwof Ansanm is a non-profit effort dedicated to supporting educational initiatives in Haiti.  Together, they structured a certified program of teacher training for Jérémie’s secondary teachers.  Teachers from 29 schools were trained and returned to their schools in the fall with new ideas for their students and colleagues.

Click here for a full report to the program.


Noemí Espinosa, the Executive Director of CCD visited GM offices in Indianapolis on March 30, 2005 to give an update about the CCD programs on civil society and local government.

During the October 2005 visit to Honduras, the Latin America/Caribbean Executive will meet with the Evangelical and Reformed Church of Honduras (IERH) and the Association of Evangelical Institutions of Honduras (AIEH) to follow-up on last January’s visit regarding church mission, IERH and AIEH challenges and their partnership with Global Ministries.

Global Ministries and One Great Hour of Sharing provided support to the Comisión Acción Social Menonita for the construction of a water access system in the communities of Chorrerón, Choloma, and Cortes.  Completion of the project is scheduled for the spring 2006.

In a historical and graceful process, the Christian Congregational Churches in Mexico (ICCM), the Alliance of Evangelical Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) of Mexico (AICEDECAR) and the Fraternity of Evangelical Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) of Mexico (CICE) agreed to work cooperatively on an ecumenical Mission Development Program. The objectives of this program are: (1) to develop pastoral and lay leadership that allow the churches in Mexico to meet the present and future needs of leadership, (2) to equip the churches in Mexico to do God’s mission in the midst of the present challenges of Mexico, and (3) to support conflict resolution within the body of Christ overcoming the painful situations and move to re-establish the relationship among the Disciples family in Mexico.

In July, Justino Pérez and Zaida Rivera began a four-year appointment by the CGMB to serve as consultants for this Mission Development Program. A Joint Commission of six people, nominated by the Board of the three national churches in Mexico, will serve as the Steering Committee of the Program.

The Fraternity of Evangelical Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) of Mexico has five new seminary students that are doing supervised pastoral ministry in five local congregations.
On August 9, 2005, Global Ministries Indianapolis received the visit of three people from the Disciples of Christ Churches in Mexico AICE – Rev. Daniel Zarate, former President, Prof. Alberto Garcia and Pastor José Tapia.

The Christian Mission Church of Nicaragua (IMCN) elected a new national director during their General Assembly last March. The new President is Rev. José Raúl Dávila Castro, a CGMB scholarship recipient.  Currently, the Church is ministering, with the support of CGMB, through the following programs and projects: (1) Construction of the Emmanuel Training Center in Ticuantepe.  A new dorm with a capacity for 56 people was completed, including the windows, doors and beds.  (2) Family Economical Self-Reliance Project (livestock/cattle) that assisted 38 families from five local congregations. (3) Pastoral Ministry to the Families Program, and (4) Families Health Educational Program.

The Council of Churches for Denominational Alliance (CEPAD) as it expresses on their web page ( “facilitates strengthening the capacity and self-advocacy of thirty-three organized communities, 206 Peace Commissions, and 120 pastoral groups throughout the country, using social promotion and community organization.”        

Acción Médica Cristiana received support from Global Ministries to hold a series of workshops for church and community leaders to integrate Christianity with health issues.  AMC works first in direct health care and later in community development, mostly with remote the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua, principally the indigenous communities of Miskito, Mayagna, Rama, as well as Afro-Caribbean and Mestizo populations.

After the conclusion of CGMB missionary Ines Sarli’s term, Friendship Mission began the process of securing a Paraguayan to serve as general director of that institution.  In the meantime, Jorge Balanovsky has been appointed as interim Director.
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Paraguay presented their five-year program for church development.  As part of this program, the Disciples in Paraguay reaffirmed their identity as a Christian and ecumenical church, and their commitment to walk with the Paraguayan people in their quest for freedom and justice.  The Paraguayan church also reaffirmed its desire to collaborate in mission with the Argentinean Disciples.


Global Ministries continues its relationship with the Association for Legal Aid and Social Action (ALAS). The purpose of this organization is to assist people in jail, ex-prisoners and their families, who were persecuted due to political offenses as a result of the internal armed conflict in Peru between 1980 and 2000.  As part of their reinsertion into the “free” society, some ex-prisoners have established small restaurants or businesses, while others’ legal cases are being re-evaluated.

Puerto Rico
In March of this year, the Joint Commission meeting of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Puerto Rico and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the U.S. and Canada was held in Indianapolis, Indiana.  During the meeting, the participants heard presentations on the state of the Church and participated in a dialogue on the theme “How to be Faithful Toward the Future”.  It was a very open dialogue, where leaders from both churches shared their joys, concerns and serious problems.

The Disciples from P.R. and the Disciples from U.S. and Canada, both agreed to reaffirm their commitment to work together in mission, exploring ways to work together on various projects and programs.  As part of this joint effort, Justino Pérez and Zaida Rivera, from the Disciples of Christ Church in Puerto Rico, were appointed to work as mission development consultants for the three national churches in Mexico.