San Miguel, El Salvador – December 2021
Gran Comision San Miguel lives the great commission in the community of La Canoa.
People Don’t Want To Be Your Project, They Want To Be Your Friends
In the last month. we’ve been seeing students more, as we said in the last Newsletter, we would look for the right strategies to continue doing ministry with college students in the midst of a pandemic. We have found that we have built nice relationships with many students so in the last days we’ve been inviting them to our apartment to have lunch or dinner, to pray together, workout together but mostly to hangout. Most of them know what we do, they know our purpose, we have shared the gospel with the majority of students and what they value the most is that we treat them as our friends, we don’t see them as a nice project so that we feel proud of what we have accomplished so far.
The reason of this Newsletter is not to brag about what we do here – because we believe that we are still in a process of planting a church and we still have a lot to learn and to accomplish – but to tell you about something that has been working for us and that we have focused our efforts on becoming friends to the students. In order for them to believe in what we believe we want them to feel and make sure that they belong to our community, that they belong to our circle, and that they belong to H@ngout.
I asked one of the students what is the thing that he values the most about us (H@ngout) and he told me that what he values the most is that we listen without judging, we let him draw his own conclusions and we allow him to share his own perspective. That made me very happy because I know I gained his confidence and he sees me as his friend. Caring about people is key when you want them to show what Jesus is. He is Love. He loved us first, He served us first, He offered His friendship first.
So, in the last few days, we’ve been eating a lot! That’s what students like.
And we have been praying a lot too!
Thank you for your support, and thank you for your prayers (We need them everyday).
MAKING DISCIPLES IN SAN MIGUEL, El Salvador
January to April
Hey guys, this is Gio from San Miguel, El Salvador. Thanks God we are ok, the whole family is doing well. These past months have been so intensive. Since starting our life group at home, which is super exciting, until being for 40 days (and counting) in quarantine because the Covid 19. God is in control, even when we are not able to see clearly.
In the first trimester, we have been making some good contacts of people in different schools, academies, etc., in order to identify how we can help them, and providing us doors to share the Gospel with the potential beneficiaries. In the next lines, you will see a couple of things that have been happening here in San Miguel.
Esteban started in his new school.
Esteban (My first boy) started in his new school. It is called Colegio Josue. This is a Christian and bilingual school; Susi is so excited because it means to have the chance to know women in order to influence them. Not all of them are believers, she realized that in the first parent meeting at the school.
Because the coronavirus, the kids are receiving classes online, using the platform Zoom (Kind of messy some days ). When we get the “normal”, we are expecting to make some really good friends there.
Edenilson Castellanos is a person that attendees the church in San Salvador, he has a consulting firm that works here in San Miguel. I was able to go with him to some meetings to talk about what we are doing here. This allowed me to get some contacts of people that want to receive Coaching sessions. In these meetings, I try to share with them tools that eventually can help them to improve their lives, and also, it provides me the chance to share my testimony and talk about the Gospel (the way God changed my life).
Great Commission Latinoamerica has been supporting us with leadership and helping us to plan for the future. Pastors from different churches (El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica)
visited us in January and shared with us their experience with planting churches. That time was so refreshing.
We visited some universities trying to know people and identify needs we can help with. There are a lot of thing that we can do with mission team here, and the potential to reach the youth is huge.
Meeting new people
This is Oscar Alvarado; he is an English teacher in a prestigious English Academy in San Miguel. I met him in a local coffee shop. I shared the Gospel with him, he understands the message, but he had some bad experience in other church before. My challenge is to show him that we are different. He has been helping me to plan the activities for mission teams in San Miguel, he has very good ideas. Pray for God to call him to serve with us.
Also, Oscar introduced to us his friend Isela Orellana. She is a single mother that lives with her son Mateo. Mateo has a special condition (Autism). Susi has been so close to her, taking care of Mateo, being present for every need she has. One day after a long conversation with Susi and I, she accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. Praise be the Lord. She has been attending the life group regularly.
Life group on Friday
We already started with a life group in our house. We invited the 3 guys that are considering the idea to come and live in San Miguel (Lea, Adonay y Daniel, all of them from La Libertad). Some people from San Miguel were coming regularly since that.
Thinking about future
We are still expecting Lea, Adonay y Daniel to come and to live with us. We continue with the plans, but we need to wait for a while and ask God for direction, in order to know what he wants us to do, after the quarantine (Covid 19).
Things you can pray for us:
For God to protect our family, church and community from Covid 19.
For God to provide for every family in need in our country in this quarantine time (We are not allowed to go out unless is very needed, for instance: buying food, medicine, etc. So, a lot of people is not making money).
For God to show us the way to continue with the ministry in San Miguel, when we get the new “normal”.
Even with the Covid 19, for God to provide the opportunities to make disciples (Using social media).
For God to continue providing for all our finance needs.
In general, for God to confirm the plans that we have for future with the ministry or He to show his new will on it.
Thanks for all the support you have given us these months, we as a family really appreciate. God bless you all.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Church Planting: San Miguel, El Salvador
New Church Plants 20/20
GCLA announced a year ago about new church plants in the Hispanic world. Since then we have been supporting the church plants in Bogotá Colombia, Oaxaca México, Valle de Angeles Honduras and we are about the send the team to plant the church in San Miguel, El Salvador.
Giovanni Bonilla is 35 years old. He is part of a new crop of leaders in Latin America who are deeply committed to obey the great commission. together with his wife Susana and two young kids, will be moving November 1st 2019. Gio, as we call him, is a college graduate with a Master on finances. He is giving up his professional career to pursue serving God and proclaiming the Gospel.
San Miguel is a town located 3 hours East of San Salvador, with 300,000 people, a business and production hub near the Pacific coast. There are five universities, and Gio and team hope to reach students and faculty as part of the initial core team.
Gio was trained in the local church. He has served as a Worship Leader, part of the teaching team, has attended the courses at the Leadership Training Institute, and was part of those trained at the Church Planter Workshop. He speaks English, and has a beautiful way to celebrate others. When you come in the presence of Gio he will always clap and whistle and even looks star-struck making feel good old and youth, locals and foreigners, Christian and non-believers welcome at all times.
We ask for your prayers as he begins this new initiative. We are confident that God is going to use Gio to transform lives in Christ in San Miguel, El Salvador. We also invite our sister churches in the US to mobilize mission teams to come along the planting team to become part of this great commission.
Church Planting Heredia, Campus en Costa Rica.
August 2019 by Carlos D. Lagos
A new month has arrived and we have four Bible study groups going on now. Praise the Lord! One of them is dedicated just for women and another just for men. The reason we started those two groups is because we noticed that most of the students really wanted to open their hearts, but being in a large group or with people from the other gender makes it hard for them to express what is in their hearts. Sometimes to express their struggles it’s beneficial just to listen to other men or women that are struggling with the same things as them.
For the first time, we went off campus to serve the community as our H@ngout group. This time we joined “Chepe Se Baña” an organization that is ran out of an equipped school bus that drives around Costa Rica to provide free clothing, breakfast and showers for a day. It went really well, we served 76 homeless people! We learned together and grew in unity as we served, sharing God’s love to the people that came.
In November, my wife and I are planning to visit the United States to raise support. While we’re there we are also planning to visit friends. We are praying for that time. We haven’t book the tickets yet but by faith we believe we are going.
Thank you for praying!
Thank you for partnering with me and our ministry!
More students understanding the gospel and taking steps of obedience
God’s financial provision
Trip to United States
If God is moving you to support us financially email me
or click here to help us reach our goal for 2020!
Carlos D. Lagos Heredia, Costa Rica.
Learning to Love
One of the students asked me once in one of the Bible studies: how can we love people that we don’t want to love? She said her father was an irresponsible man that abandoned her when she was in her mother’s womb. She met him just once and found out that she has 12 other siblings from 7 different moms.
We all had different opinions, but it was one of the students that hit a home-run and made me realize that God is working in their hearts. She said something like this: “I have a very similar story, but when I understood that I’m forgiven by Jesus my whole point of view of life changed. Now I believe that I can be a light in my family by sharing God’s love with them because He doesn’t judge us. I’m forgiven and now I want my father and my siblings to have and accept that forgiveness”.
We are currently studying the “5 Love Languages” with our H@ngout group, “we are all loved and we all need to love” that has been our phrase on each of our studies. God is at work and He is the one who is telling every student that they’re loved.
The school year is almost over and what the students don’t know is that on our 2018 farewell party I’m going to talk about a sixth language of love:
1. I’ve been praying for one or two missionaries that feel God calling them to our ministry that will decide to come and support me and work alongside me long-term. I have to confess that sometimes it gets really hard to do ministry by myself. I’m not complaining, I really enjoy what I do and I know that God is glorified but I’m very sure that we can be more effective with the gospel by having one or two missionaries working full-time with me.
2. Please pray for hearts to be moved to give to H@ngout and consider partnering with me so that we can continue to do ministry well.
a. Link to make a donation https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/1426459 (select: “Costa Rica Campus Church H@ngout”)
3. Keep praying for my heart and God’s dependence. I’ve been challenged lately by the book of Nehemiah and how his faith, vision, and passion for God made him not only to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem but to leave a nation fearing and worshipping God.
“Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build…”
Nehemiah 2:20a ASV
Let’s keep building for God’s kingdom!
Pastor Sergio Handal visita la iglesia en Valencia, VE
El éxodo de Venezuela: crece cada día.
Gobierno de Venezuela niega que está enfrentando una crisis migratoria. Brasil puede limitar a los venezolanos que cruzan la frontera norte: Temer. Los grupos de ayuda se tensan a medida que la crisis de refugiados venezolanos se desborda. La iglesia de Valencia es un faro de luz en medio de la crisis.
Artículo escrito por Sergio Handal
Muchas noticias se escuchan de Venezuela en el exterior. Pero nada es mas útil, para darse cuenta de lo que realmente sucede, que visitar el pais. Y eso fue lo que hicimos. Después de ser una de las naciones con mayor crecimiento de America Latina, y después de casi veinte años de socialismo, Venezuela es un país en ruinas.
Millones de personas han salido huyendo del país en calidad de refugiados, las empresas están quebradas, el aparato productivo del país es de solo un 18% según la OEA, la criminalidad ha alcanzado cifras mas que alarmantes, el transporte ha colapsado en casi todo el territorio, la producción de petróleo se ha venido abajo por la incapacidad del gobierno para administrar.
Solo se puede decir que lo de Venezuela es una catástrofe humanitaria. Pero en medio de esta desolación y del ambiente adverso, la iglesia de Valencia esta creciendo en Venezuela. En el mes de julio tuvimos un retiro espiritual de 400 personas, aun cuando casi un 40% de los jóvenes de la iglesia han salido huyendo del país. Los grupos de crecimiento crecen llenos de entusiasmo. La iglesia se ha convertido en un faro de luz en medio de la oscuridad reinante.
Dios se ha manifestado tan poderosamente que acabamos de comenzar la construcción de una segunda localización en el municipio de “Los Guayos”.
A través de la generosidad de miembros de la iglesia y apoyo de hermanos extranjeros comprometidos con la obra en Valencia se compró una propiedad donde estamos edificando una estructura para atender a mas de 200 personas por cada servicio. Y la idea es eventualmente tener mas servicios de reunión de iglesia para satisfacer la necesidad espiritual de las personas.
Dios nos concedió la oportunidad de participar en el reconocimiento como pastor de Vianes Yanez
Vianes nos ha acompañado durante casi tres décadas en la iglesia. Para Enzo Palumbo, el pastor de la iglesia y Héctor Pineda, quien fue plantador de esta iglesia, esta ha sido una gran satisfacción.
También la iglesia se ha manifestado en apoyo social donando agua, medicinas y comida, algo que no se encuentra en este país.
Algo que nos causó mucho dolor es ver a personas como Malena (nombre no real) , que era de la clase media del país, perder todas sus pertenencias, comiendo una vez al día, sin poder tener acceso a higiene decente, (pues o no hay agua o el agua viene contaminada). Ella ha visto a varios miembros de su familia mas cercana salir de Venezuela, dejándola herida, perturbada en sus pensamientos. Sin embargo, personas como Malena, han encontrado al Señor en estas circunstancias y han llegado a la iglesia y han comenzado este viaje espiritual de la mano del Rey de Reyes que viene y no se tardará en proteger y rescatar al desfallecido.