Husband and Wife Team Strengthens the Church in Honduras
By Melissa Dixon
At 12 years old, Alexandra Castro, a pastor's daughter, asked herself questions any young girl would ask. What will I be when I grow up? What gifts will God bestow upon me? Upon hearing her concerns, a neighbor prayed to God for guidance, and later prophesied that Alexandra would be blessed with the gift of stewardship. The girl walked away disappointed. Why can't I be given the gift of faith to pray for the sick and heal those who need it? Or why can't I be given the gift of evangelism so I could preach God's word to the world?
Twenty years later, Ms. Castro embraces her gift of stewardship—a gift that has served her and her husband, the Rev. Dr. Juan Eduardo Guerrero Pulido, well in their 15 years of ministry together.
Castro and Guerrero, members of the Colombian Methodist Church, currently serve as missionaries in Honduras. Together they work toward advancing the Methodist Mission in Honduras and serving the needs of their local communities, all while raising their eight-year-old son, Jeremías.
Rev. Edgar Avitia is the General Board of Global Ministries executive for Latin America and the Caribbean. He says, "Our partnership with the Colombian Methodist Church, one of the new Methodist Churches in in the region with proven experience in leadership and church development among the poor, has been a great blessing for the advancement of the mission work in Honduras."
United Methodist work in Honduras began in 1998 and was recognized as a formal mission in 2002, focusing on the Spanish-speaking population. By 2012, there were 12 congregations and three emerging worshipping communities, and therefore an acute need for clergy and lay leadership development. That's where Guerrero and his family entered the picture.
"My workday is never predictable," explains Guerrero. Serving as Mission Superintendent of the United Methodist Mission in Honduras, he supervises mission staff, supports local pastors, develops programs, and even plans and coordinates construction of new churches. Every day he experiences new obstacles and welcomes new opportunities.
"One of the biggest problems right now is the economic situation for mission pastors. Many do not earn enough to adequately support their families. We are always searching and praying for resources," says Rev. Guerrero.
Castro, a CPA, serves as treasurer of the Mission. She also makes sure the day-to-day administrative operations of the Mission office runs smoothly.
"I never expected to become a missionary, but after 14 months here, I believe that living in Honduras was God's will for my life," says Castro. "He has given me the strength to be obedient to his call."
"The leadership of the Guerreros has been instrumental in ordering the Mission and advancing from the grassroots perspective with works of mercy and works of piety," says Avitia. "We are very appreciative of the ministry of this outstanding and most committed missionary couple."
The couple, along with two other Colombian missionaries, will be commissioned during the General Conference in Tampa, Florida, later this month.
To "commission" a missionary is for the church to recognize God's special call and to bless and send that person to carry the Good News of God's love into the world. The term "commission" reflects the Great Commission of Matthew 28, a passage in which Jesus tells his disciples to take the Gospel into all the world—an instruction the Guerrero family have been faithfully obeying for a long time.
The Rev. Juan Guerrero, a native of Colombia, is a United Methodist missionary and superintendent of the church's mission in Honduras. Here he visits a family in the town of Danli.
Photo Credit: Paul Jeffrery