The Leadership Team
Area Director and Support Team
Dr. Delia Nüesch-Olver is the Latin America Area Director for Free Methodist World Missions. She began this role in August 2008 after 35 years of ministry experience as a cross-cultural church planter and pastor, and professor of Global Urban Mission. She is an ordained elder and has a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology (Syracuse University). "Doctora Delia," as she is known in Latin America, is a third culture person, born in Argentina to a Swiss missionary family. She is uniquely suited to identify with both missionaries and national leaders, to be embraced as an insider in Latin America while seeing the overall picture with the eyes of an informed outsider. She has a great passion to develop strategies to reach cities and lead Latin Americans to Christ. As Area Director, Dr. Delia supervises the North American missionaries and the leaders of the 12 Mission Districts and three Provisional Conferences, while coordinating ministry with the Latin American Bishops and Conference Superintendents.
Dr. Paul Olver (Dr. Delia's husband) served part time on the Latin American Team from 2010 through 2013 while continuing to pastor Rainier Avenue Church -- a multi-ethnic, urban, mission-focused congregation in Seattle, WA. In 2014 he joined the team full-time. He now serves as Associate Director, focusing on pastoral formation, administration and urban strategies. Paul has over 30 years experience in urban and cross-cultural mission in the U.S. and has led some two dozen ministry trips to various Latin American countries. He has Masters degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Fuller School of World Mission and a Doctor of Ministry from Eastern University - Palmer Theological Seminary, all in the field of missions.
North American Missionaries
There are 19 North American missionaries serving in Latin America. They raise their own salary, benefits, and operating expenses through individual and church sponsors. Missionaries are currently assigned to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Haiti, and Mexico. There are also 3 missionaries sent by local Latin American churches serving cross-culturally in Ecuador and Peru. Missionaries serve in a wide range of roles - medical missions, theological education, community development, resourcing children's ministries, community church planting, and coordinating short-term missions teams. Together they seek to empower and support the vision of dedicated district leaders and national pastors.
The District Leaders are the engine of missions in Latin America. The District Leader is an ordained Free Methodist elder appointed to lead an emerging Mission District or elected to superintend a Provisional Annual Conference supervised by the Latin American Area Director. The District Leader is usually the most productive and effective Free Methodist pastor in their country. VISA teams (short term volunteers) - and missionaries - come and go, but District Leaders generally stay long term. District leaders often are planting a church (or two), while simultaneously coaching a network of church planters and pastors. Theirs is an apostolic role, doing direct evangelism and church planting, developing training for pastors, helping churches to grow, forming appropriate structures for a multiplying ministry, creating a contextualized, indigenous, identity of the Free Methodist Church in their country.
Several of these leaders are ministering cross-culturally. Leaders indigenous to Latin America have great potential for impact and fruitfulness. District Leaders face many of the issues North American missionaries face - financial hardship, ministry impact on family life, and sacrifice for the cause of Christ. Therefore we must mobilize resources to support them - consistent and equitable funding, coaching and leadership development, and systems to undergird their ministry with prayer.