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Soccer and Prayer: Introducing New Workers in Spain

By Lydia Gingerich, RMM staff writer

A young boy and his friends huddled behind a concrete building, hoping to evade the enthusiastic Christian walking down the street. They hated when the evangelicals started talking to them about heaven, hell, Jesus, and Salvation. Like most people in Honduras, Rolando’s family was Catholic. They went to mass and said the prayers, but apparently that wasn’t good enough for the Christians. The kids breathed a sigh of relief when the loco evangelist walked by without noticing them, allowing them to continue their soccer game in peace.

Around this same time and 1,500 miles north of the street soccer, a young Mennonite girl got into the car with her mom to attend another revival meeting. Lately her mother had been quite enthusiastic about her faith and Andrea was hearing a lot more about Jesus and his love. Andrea could feel that love inside of her and she enjoyed going with her mom to these meetings. She wished that everyone could know the joy of Jesus’ love.

Through hours of soccer and years of persistence, one of the detested evangelical Christians finally made an impact on Rolando. After falling in love with the Gospel and wanting to share his faith with others, Rolando began to pursue opportunities for overseas missions. While attending a leadership training for young adults, he met Andrea, who was equally excited about sharing her faith and just happened to be looking for a Spanish tutor. Their relationship developed and they eventually got married and dedicated their lives to serving God.

Rolando and Andrea’s passion for missions has taken them all over the world. After attending Eastern Mennonite Missions’ YES program as participants, Andrea led two teams to Latin America and Rolando led two teams to Romania. They also lived in Honduras, ministering to prisoners and working with a program to keep young people out of gangs. Upon returning to the United States they were asked to be Resident Advisors at a halfway house in Pennsylvania for one year. Rolando says that “from the indigenous K’iche’ to the sophisticated Romanians, it has been good; it has been exciting.”

This year they plan to join RMM’s team working in Granada, Spain. Their decision to move to Spain is a response to God’s call on their life to share Jesus with those who do not know him yet. Rolando says that during the thirty-three years he has been following Christ, he has found it to be the best way to live – and he is compelled to share this way of life with those who are not a part of God’s family. “That’s why we are going to Spain,” he explains. “They know church from a Catholic perspective, but that doesn’t mean they know Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.” Both he and Andrea realize that many people will decide against following Jesus, but they want to give them the opportunity to at least make that decision.

“A soccer ball and people – that’s how I came to Christ.”Andrea relayed that “people in Spain are happy with their lives and don’t see a need for Jesus.” Sharing the gospel with these people can be difficult, but God has called them to creativity, persistence, and prayer. Andrea is looking forward to forming bonds through teaching English, getting involved in community choirs, and relating to people over common interests. Because Rolando has been involved in prison ministry for many years, he hopes to have similar involvements in Granada, along with building friendships through sports. “A soccer ball and people – that’s how I came to Christ. And it wouldn’t surprise me if the Lord uses that same setting to introduce other people to him.”

This couple believes that prayer is a vital part of their ministry. “We want to go in with a heart of intercession.” Rolando thinks back to the years of prayers made on his behalf leading to his own decision to follow Jesus. He knows that those prayers were foundational to his salvation and says that if he has “to spend more time in prayer than talking to people, that is the way it has to be.” They are both grateful for the people in their life who introduced them to Jesus, and they are compelled to do the same for others – knowing that every person, from any religion or country, is in need of God’s love.

Rolando and Andrea currently live in Royersford, Pennsylvania, where Rolando serves as a teacher and disciple-maker at a home for men who have been incarcerated, addicted to drugs, or involved in gangs, and Andrea teaches both English as a Second Language and Spanish at a public high school. Their two sons, Daniel (13) and Wilmer (15), enjoy watching, playing, and talking about soccer. During their time in Royersford, their family has been tremendously blessed by attending Nueva Vida Norristown New Life, a multilingual congregation excited to send their first overseas workers.

Please pray for this family as they prepare to go. These next few months will include selling their house in Pennsylvania, raising support for their assignment in Spain, and finding the right school for their sons to attend once they arrive. Pray for patience and strength for these tasks and that they would not be discouraged.

If you would like to partner with Rolando, Andrea, and their family, join their team of supporters at donate.rmmweb.org, or email your contact information to info@rmmoffice.org to receive news and prayer updates and on their journey.