iTEE Global is passionate about multiplying disciple-makers, and it is always a joy to see how the Holy Spirit works in and through our students. Pastor Mario of El Salvador is an amazing story of transformation.
El Salvador is a beautiful nation in Central America, where only one frontier people group have been reached. Praise the Lord for this. One major concern about the country is the label of El Salvador as the “homicide” capital of the world. The youth are especially vulnerable. Last year, the government jailed more than 60,000 individuals related to gang violence. In this crisis, what is the church to do?
Pastor Mario first encountered iTEE Global through a Nehemiah Project that was conducted at his church. The following year, he and church members taught it to others. He said that the workshop was very challenging. However, the pastor admitted that “It’s worth it. It is a great blessing!” Using the tools for effective learning and teaching, he heard from God through that learning community, where each person is valued for their input. And the team members learn from each other. Applying Jesus’ principles and teaching methods transformed Pastor Mario. He began using what he learned to disciple others. Soon, he and more people in his church started to take courses with iTEE Global, without presenting a specific academic degree to be admitted. As he said, “The only thing required is a desire to learn about the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and about fulfilling the Great Commission”. The basis of their learning is from the Word of God – La Palabra de Dios – and that is the most fundamental thing. Indeed, God’s Word is transformative.
At a certain time, Pastor Mario’s nephew was arrested. Like many others, he was part of a gang. When Pastor Mario found out, he went to the jail. With courage from the Lord, he approached the judge and told him he was a pastor. “I will take responsibility for my nephew,” he said. In El Salvador gang violence is a serious matter, especially considering their history. Nonetheless, the judge released the nephew to Pastor Mario to become his responsibility. He had to participate in community service. The nephew was not a Christian, but Pastor Mario welcomed him into his church and told him about Christ. Pastor Mario used the materials from the Galatians course he had recently taken to present the Gospel to his nephew.
Praise the Lord for that! His nephew encountered the Word of God, seeing his uncle’s faith and strength. He also put his trust in Christ. He is now learning to walk by faith away from the violent path of gangs. We praise the Lord for this work of God, and we know that the gang crisis can only be redeemed by the power of the cross!