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Serving God Through Disappointments

By Lydia Gingerich, RMM staff writer

On October 28, 2015, Patty Córdova* left her home in Manta, Ecuador to follow the call God had placed in her heart. She was sent as a part of the Latin American Missions Partnership (LAMP) to work at a special needs school and community center in a small coastal town in North Africa.

For many years, Patty has been passionate about family, children, and missions. She received a university degree in elementary education, and then taught at and directed an elementary school in Manta. From 1999 to 2000, she spent time working with RMM missionaries in Durán, Ecuador, to help plant the church that is now there.

Patty was excited to combine her love for children and missions by working at the school in North Africa established by a non-governmental organization from Spain. LAMP and RMM partnered with a Latino missions agency to send her. During her time there she traveled to two different cities meeting other workers and working to get her long-term visa. She developed a valuable relationship with two expatriate workers in the city where she was supposed to live. While there she enjoyed serving at the school and teaching children with hearing and speech impairments. It was exciting for her to be able to talk in Spanish with a few local people and learn to mix Spanish and Arabic to communicate.

After going to many different places to try and get a long-term visa, she began to see that it might not be possible for an Ecuadorian who entered the country on a tourist visa to apply for a long-term visa. This was not something RMM or LAMP thought would be a problem. She received numerous answers about whether or not she would be able to obtain a visa from the different authorities she asked, but in the end, her request for a long-term visa was permanently rejected.

“We can’t sit around with our arms crossed while there is a world without hope and without Christ. Every obstacle that the enemy puts in front of us should challenge our churches more to prepare missionaries to go to the field.”In the two months she spent in North Africa, Patty had come to truly love the teaching she was doing and the people she was serving with. It was frustrating to have to leave all of this potential behind and return to Ecuador, but there was no other option. It was hard for RMM, LAMP, and the other organizations that had put so much energy into sending Patty to face the disappointing truth that there was currently no way for someone from Ecuador to remain long term in the country. Even though this has been difficult, we know that God has a plan in all of this.

Patty says that in spite of the limitations and the change of plans to return so soon, God taught her that “we can’t sit around with our arms crossed while there is a world without hope and without Christ. Every obstacle that the enemy puts in front of us should challenge our churches more to prepare missionaries to go to the field.”

Back in Ecuador, Patty is working at the Christian school where she was before and has joined a team to plant a new church in Las Jacuatas. Through her time in North Africa, she has learned that “All of humanity has been created by the same God, and for that reason, no one is unreachable to Christ. But if we are to take them the message of salvation, we need to know their culture, language and religion.” She desires to be a missionary wherever God has placed her, and she continues to promote missions and inspire others to go overseas.

Patty asks that we pray for the church to obey the command God has given us in Matthew 28:19 to prepare workers and send them to unreached people, and that there would be open entry for people from Latin America to other countries.