People in Latin America enjoy spending time the afternoon at near by parks.  Photo by Garrett N

A call to serve

Since joining OM 10 years ago, Gerardo has worked to strengthen local churches across El Salvador, train Jesus followers to share the gospel, and invite more individuals and churches to live out their faith in their daily lives.

Ever since his introduction to OM through a friend, Gerardo Genoves has worked tirelessly to advance the Word of God in his native country of El Salvador, as well as several other countries in South America. However, being involved in ministry and mobilisation was not Gerardo’s initial intention.

“I was planning to become a pastor — going to seminary, being there for four or five years at a desk, studying — and God changed things,” said Gerardo. “He sent me and gave me all the resources. And so, He changed the plans. I didn't expect this.”   

While Gerardo was eager to follow the will of God regarding ministry, it was not always a smooth journey. When asked what he had struggled with when first starting the ministry, Gerardo answered that it was the idea that God had chosen him to spread His Word. “That God really chose me to do something that big, like preaching the gospel everywhere I go,” said Gerardo.  

The ministry that Gerardo started partners with local churches in El Salvador and works to strengthen and disciple believers while equipping and encouraging them to reach out to others in their own country and beyond. 

Throughout the ministry, Gerardo has seen the hand of God at work. For example, in a strongly Catholic community where a team went on outreach, a family came to Christ through some creative thinking and the help of an eight-year-old girl.  

“One day, we were preaching to an old lady who wasn’t able to read or write,” remembered Gerardo. “She had accepted Jesus, so we gave her a Bible, but she said: ‘I cannot read it. I cannot use this. I would love to, but I cannot be. It's better to give it to somebody else.’”   

Instead of passing the Bible on to someone else though, an idea was born. When asked if anyone in the house could read the Bible to her, the woman mentioned her eight-year-old granddaughter. So, the young girl read outloud to the household of eight people. 

“(The household) was listening, and the lady started attending church,” said Gerardo. “Suddenly, all the family started going to church because faith came with the reading of this little girl."  

People don't commit their lives to Christ "because of who is preaching the Word of God or because we insist on people to accept [Him]," shared Gerado. "We just need to share the Word of God and He does the work.”   

The harvest is plentiful

Gathering and training volunteers to aid in sharing the good news of Christ is a vital part of Gerardo’s work and sharing the gospel.  So far, 13 team members work with Gerardo. 

Gerardo and the team often travel around the country and visit local churches, where they present what they do and invite others to join them. Those who decide they want to be involved are invited to attend monthly meetings, where guest speakers from around the world share about what they do and how they share the gospel in different ways.   

“So, if we have a topic that we want to talk about, such as Bible translation, we’ll invite Wycliffe to come and share with,” said Gerardo. “We invite them to come and share, and volunteers to come and listen…believing that they can also use their skills in our organisation.”  

Gathering volunteers has been more difficult in recent years, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the interest in missions work has not disappeared, and Gerardo and his team are excited to work with people who are interested. 

“Normally, we go through a process of one year for people [who want to be involved in sharing the gospel], and we talk about ‘why missions, why you?’,” said Gerardo. “We see if they are involved with the church, the local church, and if they have a good testimony with their pastors.”  

Some of the volunteers who join have backgrounds in theology or short-term missions. Others come with a passion for serving the Lord and spreading His goodness and Word.  

“We try to follow a discipleship [programme] with them, trying to find out where they fit, and then we try to send them to training,” said Gerardo. 

The ministry has experienced growing pains. One of the main challenges that Gerardo and the team face is the growing individualistic nature of churches throughout El Salvador.    

“After the pandemic, something that probably was very inside the church came out. They want to strengthen themselves if something like a pandemic comes again,” said Gerardo. “Virtually, I can visit a church in the USA, in Australia, in Spain. So, I think now that the biggest struggle is the thought of the church trying to have all the people inside the four walls.”  

Strengthening alliances

Through these struggles, the hand of God is evident. Gerardo and the ministry have recently started working with Alianza Cristiana y Misionera en El Salvador (Christian Alliance Mission in El Salvador), a church in El Salvador that is eager to bring in international missionaries and has been receiving missions workers from Canada, the USA and Europe.  

The Christian Alliance Mission in El Salvador hopes to one day partner with the Central America Church of the Alliance to start missions in different countries in Central America. 

“The whole [Christian Alliance Mission in SV] is inviting the whole Central America Church of the Alliance to do something together, to go to a country in Central America, and for all of them to serve together with OM and the churches they visit,” said Gerardo.  

As this ministry grows, please keep it and Gerardo in your prayers.    

“We need to believe that God has the control, the power and the resources for us to share the gospel with those that need it. We have a huge responsibility,” said Gerardo.  

Pray for Gerardo, his wife and their family. For good health and wisdom as they raise their children and continue to work among the churches of El Salvador.  Pray for good relationships between the ministry and the churches. Please pray for the provision of a van that fits at least 13 people to aid in outreaches to different communities and church visits. 

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