The Latin American Intercultural Seminary (SEMILA) celebrated its 7th graduation recently. Nestor and Donata Duque are Church of God associate missionaries. Nestor, as president of this excellent institution, is pleased to acknowledge 52 graduates of all degree levels (Bachelor’s and Certificate). The majority of the graduates are Quichua pastors and church leaders, all of whom will return to their communities in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. They have a great passion to continue to build God’s Kingdom among the poor and most needy.
One of the graduates is Fransisco Asitimbay, a well-known Quichua worship singer in Ecuador. While he was studying at SEMILA, he received a calling to pastor. Francisco finished his education and now is in the transition to pastor a church in the Quichua community of Quisapincha. His wife and son also graduated with him! Kelly Vargas, an Afro-Ecuadorian woman, completed her Bachelor in Pastoral Studies and she planted a new church near the border of Peru. She traveled at least seven hours to attend class. Her husband will continue his pursuit of a Bachelor’s degree at SEMILA.
SEMILA is committed to its mission to equip Christian leaders for Christ-centered and Spirit-filled ministries by providing biblical, theological, missiological, and practical education. In 2015, SEMILA was certified as a Church of God Level III Granting Institution.
Besides running the seminary, the Duques also direct a daycare for the poor in the community. Forty-five children, ages 1-3 are assisted daily at their facilities, and they receive three meals a day. The Duques pastor a multicultural church called Iglesia de Dios, “Voluntad de Dios.” On the weekends they direct a knitting project for Quichua women. The Duques go to their communities and provide Bible studies, knitting courses, and spiritual retreats. They experience true joy seeing women build their self-esteem and seeing them grow into strong women of faith.
As missionary educators, the Duques give God all the glory and honor, and are thankful to be part of this mission story among the Quichua people group and the low-income pastors.
Thank you to those who stand with them in this ministry of changing lives.