We recently sat down with Dr. Angel Marcial, field director of Latin America, to find out what God is doing in his area. (Excerpts of this interview originally appeared in Evangel Magazine.)
Give a general overview of what God is currently doing in your area.
The church in Latin America is facing political, security, and immigration situations. But despite this, the Church of God is growing. New churches are being planted, and this year we hope to plant more than 1,000 churches. Children are being ministered to in a strategic way—we are taking care of orphans, battered women, and young people who are facing the problem of vices. The social impact is being addressed as it is part of the integral mission of the church. But at this moment in the midst of these difficulties, God is with us!
What is the spiritual climate?
The Lord has decided to bless us; His presence is moving in the daily work of the church. People are becoming saved, God is healing, families are coming together, and we are seeing the hand of God. In addition, we are strengthening educational processes and discipleship throughout the continent. There is a powerful movement of the Spirit that is manifesting itself over the church. Consequently, we are fighting against the false doctrines that arise, political persecutions against the church, the postmodern influence, and a revival of the darkness against the values and the institution of the family.
How has Church of God World Missions helped the people and ministries of your field area?
[They have helped] in the accompaniment and contribution in difficult situations of this vast region. Example, in Venezuela the department of World Missions has been hand-in-hand with the field director and the Venezuelan church. Dr. Tim Hill made an appeal to the general church to assist Venezuela, and these funds assisted many pastors and members with food and basic needs. The department of World Missions has developed a pastoral influence on all of us in Latin America. In addition, the projects Send the Light to the Cities in Sao Paulo, Brazil; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Mexico City, Mexico is a vision that Dr. David Griffis, director of World Missions, intends to make presence in the important cities of these countries.
What are some of the current needs you see?
Some of the needs:
- The care of church planters
- We need to prepare lay people who will face the call of the prophetic voice and who can enter the systems of governments to transform legislative processes that go against the church. Additionally, to prepare leaders who can face the modern challenges of the communities from an emerging and active pastoral ministry.
- To try to develop programs that can be inspiring to [the people to whom we minister] so that they can get out of extreme poverty and inspire new generations of the church to become entrepreneurs.
Describe a favorite moment or favorite story when visiting the work of God in your area.
Speaking with the Overseer of Venezuela, Bishop Pedro Guzman, about the situation the country is going through—of hunger, of crisis—he told me, “In this difficult moment of the country is when the church has been the closest. God has visited us and has placed His hand of care over us, for the church and for the ministry. This time has been a visitation of God in the midst of our pain.”