Adrian Federico Apecena is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church serving as a new church developer and school chaplain with the Methodist Church in Uruguay. He goes by Federico—or Fede—and was commissioned in October 2015.
Federico’s work is in the northern border area where Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil meet. Notable cities in the region include Salto, with a population of 124,000, and both an agricultural and educational center; and Bella Unión, the poorest city in Uruguay and a hub for the sugarcane industry. Both have small Methodist congregations and there are two church-related schools in the vicinity. Fede is chaplain at Crandon Institute. The Methodist Church in Uruguay has a community of some 5,000 people, concentrated mostly in the southern part of the country around Montevideo.
A native of Argentina, Fede was living in Durham, North Carolina when he entered mission service, having attended seminary in Durham, and is a member of the Apex United Methodist Church there. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Duke University Divinity School and a law degree, granted in 2010, from the Universidad Nacional de La Plata in Argentina. He has served as a student pastor (at City Well United Methodist Church in Durham), a children’s ministry coordinator at Fiesta Cristiana Hispanic ministries at Apex church, and a legal assistant at a law firm. He anticipates ordination in the North Carolina Annual Conference.
Born into a culturally Roman Catholic home, Federico moved in a more Evangelical direction in college when he began to read the Bible on his own. “I experienced God’s salvific work in my life and a sense of purpose,” he recalls. He enrolled in law school after high school—and completed the degree—but discovered that he was more drawn to seminary and a vocation in the church. He was introduced to Methodism when he enrolled in the Duke Divinity School, and also worked in the children’s ministry at Fiesta Cristiana.
His time at Duke provided opportunities for Fede to preach and hone his talents in worship leadership. He visited churches and preached in Kenya, Mexico, and North Carolina. His call to mission service paralleled that of his wife, Veronica Fe Apecena, also a Global Ministries missionary.
“I have always dreamed about the possibility of serving abroad and that is something that my wife and I have in common,” Fede says. “Roni and I share the call to work with children in need and also to develop life in the communities around the churches with which we share life.”
Fede and Veronica have one young child, Kin, born in 2010 and adopted from Hong Kong when he was four-and-a-half years old.
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