Delia Nüesch-Olver

Delia Nüesch-Olver

Country leaders of the Free Methodist Church in Latin America have agreed that Community Church Planting (CCP) is our official strategy to fuel and sustain a biblical movement to reach Latin Americans for Christ.  Based on the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 10 and Luke 10, this strategy has been taught to 850 people in 16 Latin American countries in the last three years. As the contextualized Latin American version of the CCP manual rolls off the presses this week and we prepare for the next church planting summit to be held in Medellín, Colombia, July 24-27th, we wanted to provide a glimpse of the CCP training that took place in Nicaragua last year (and invite you to pray for the social unrest there).  We believe that God will bring about transformation in Nicaragua and throughout Latin America through His Church!  For that glimpse we promised, please watch the video below.

The Latin America Area has adopted Community Church Planting (CCP) as its official strategy to fuel and sustain a biblical movement for Christ.  CCP both trains and empowers leaders as well as plants new churches.   Since adopting the strategy, several training sessions have been held throughout the region and as a result, new churches are being planted.  This video provides a quick glance into the beginning of the church planting movement in the Central American country of Honduras.

Years ago we learned an axiom that has proved to be a basic principle of cross-cultural ministry: Nothing for us without us. This is from the perspective of people from other cultures who have coached us in effective cross-cultural ministry. Nothing for us without us means: don’t do things for others without processing it with them, without asking their opinion, without discussing with them at the front end what you plan to do to help. Don’t come up with ideas from the outside and tell them, “This is what we are going to do for you.” That’s charity. There is no dignity in that for either the giver or the receiver.

People from within their own communities tend to know quite well what they need. In the case of the church, when there has been a clear framework of why we exist -- a clearly articulated vision for who we want to be -- local people come up with fantastic ideas, much better than any outsider could.

Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm, plowed across Puerto Rico last September. It was dreadful. Twenty-five years after a similar hurricane hit South Florida, we’ve seen grown men cry when they remember the day the hurricane hit. It was a life changing experience for everyone.

There were many in the US mainland who prayed through the night as Hurricane Maria was mauling Puerto Rico. The following days we desperately tried to communicate to determine if our friends and leaders and church people were alive, and to find ways to help them survive the aftereffects of such a storm.

You have given generously to help meet their needs! The money sent has been used in remarkably creative ways. People have been treated with dignity as they have started the slow and painful process of rebuilding homes, families, and communities. Generators were used not just to bring light to churches and homes but also to provide medical help for those who need to be connected to electricity to remain alive. Food and water has been distributed. Counseling is being offered. Stories of bravery, sharing, and sacrifice abound.

The last money we sent to Puerto Rico has been used – get this! -- to purchase laundry equipment. In our church buildings our friends have installed washing machines so neighbors can wash their clothing and other items that got soaked during the storm. Their homes may not have electricity yet, but people who live near a Free Methodist Church can walk down the street with clean clothes and their dignity intact. What a great way to serve the neighborhood! I would not have thought of that.

And here we all are at the end of 2017. Those of us who live in the US have the opportunity to give a generous end of year financial gift that will also lower our taxes. I’d say: Let’s do it. Let’s send more money to our leaders in Puerto Rico. From my perspective as the overseer of the Free Methodist Church in Puerto Rico I can tell you with my hand firmly placed on a stack of Bibles that the money you send is being used in totally responsible ways. Your giving has saved lives. And the integrity and dignity of the process we have been using is something we can all be very proud of.

On this last week of the year, I invite you to give a generous gift to be sent to the leaders in Puerto Rico. They will be able to determine how to use it to rebuild lives in their communities.

We will continue sending construction teams – VISA groups, as we call them in the Free Methodist Church. We need more of those. If you or your church are interested in going please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We have a system to help you send an effective group. But the money we raise through this website will go to Puerto Rico to help Puerto Ricans rebuild Puerto Rico. We need both. Together we can do what as individuals or churches alone would be unattainable. Together we can continue doing what seems impossible.

Here is where you can send your end of year gift. Please be generous.  Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief Fund

written by Delia Nüesch-Olver

I’m not a shopper, but this year I am excited about Christmas shopping! Let’s give to Puerto Rican families and churches still trying to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria almost 2 months ago!

The Puerto Rico Electric Power’s grid is working at less than 50%, leaving much of the island in the dark with no electricity. Pastors from Puerto Rico want me to express their thanks for the generators we all sent right after the hurricane.

The generators have not only been used to provide light for some homes and church buildings, but they also make life significantly safer once the sun sets. Bad things happen in the pitch darkness, folks!

An unexpected use of the generators is that neighbors with medical needs have been showing up at the churches to use the generators for routine medical therapies that require electricity. The word has spread among the medical communities near our churches, and neighbors keep coming. Our churches have become places of respite and healing – truly holistic sanctuaries. Who would have thought that our basic generators would keep people alive?! Friends in Puerto Rico have expressed that they need a few more for specific medical purposes.

Puerto Rican people are very creative, and are making do with gas barbecue grills, daily trips to the grocery store, and wide-open windows to stay cool. But it is not fun. No electric power means no jobs. No jobs mean no money. No money means all sorts of other unpleasant things. This is an economic disaster with no end in sight.

Thankfully we can continue to help! We can continue to come alongside churches, families and children – many that have become sanctuaries both spiritually and physically. Our giving this season of Thanksgiving and Christmas can make life a little bit more bearable for our sisters and brothers on the island!

Here is my suggested gift list for Puerto Rico:

  1. Walgreens or Walmart gift cards. The gift cards you have already sent have been given to families and individuals to purchase medicine and food.
  2. Generators (Please let us know if you choose to do this, as we need just a few more.)
  3. Sawyer Water filters (The bucket kind – found at this link.)
  4. A financial gift to the Puerto Rico Recovery Fund (Click here to give). This money will be used to hire local labor to help rebuild the economy, provide jobs and help families.
  5. Prayer.  Pastor Mercedes asked that we pray along these lines:  “Pray for strength and discernment as we serve people with so many needs all around us. Pray for continued good relationships in spite of frayed nerves. And pray for our health; pray that God will keep us healthy in the midst of so many things that could make us sick.”

Items 1 - 3 can be ordered and sent directly to the address below.

Pastora Mercedes Reynoso

Hacienda Real Jazmín del Mar 322

Carolina, PR 00986

(Our friends in Puerto Rico tell us that items sent via UPS are getting there, while other means of shipping are not as reliable.)

Together we can! These gifts will not only make life a bit better under awful circumstances, but also will let our friends in Puerto Rico know that we have not forgotten them.

#PuertoRicoSeLevanta #PuertoRicoYoTeVeo #IglesiaMetodistaLibrePuertoRico

 Our sources in Puerto Rico tell us it will be many months before electricity is restored.  
Superintendent Mercedes Reynoso says it is a priority to have a generator for each church and each pastor’s family so that they can minister to others. Our churches and pastors’ homes have become centers of respite, counseling, and aid distribution. This is a project for a family, Sunday School class, small group or church.  
We finally found a reliable way to send the generators when UPS started delivering in Puerto Rico again. Here are 2 good options to channel your help. (I said reliable not cheap!)

• You can purchase a new generator wherever you are and ship it via UPS. This will be a significant blessing as people in Puerto Rico have been without electricity for almost 4 weeks already. Shipping costs start at $140 per generator depending on the weight and where your are shipping from.  It will take a week to get there.  UPS is open until 6 PM Mo-Sat.

  • Please note:  In Puerto Rico gasoil generators are much cheaper to run than regular gas, but they will use whatever you send.

  •  Purchase the quietest generator you can find. 3000 watts or higher.

  •  Ship them to the following address and let me know (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) so they can know what to expect:

     •  Pastora Mercedes Reynoso

     •  Hacienda Real Jazmín del Mar 322

     •  Carolina, PR 00986 


  •  We continue to gather money to purchase generators at about $430 each. To give money towards a generator, please click on the link below. Write GENERATOR in the comment box. We will find volunteers to buy generators in the mainland and mail them via UPS.

• Puerto Rico Recovery Fund  

Please continue to pray for strength and wisdom for our brothers and sisters living an unbelievable crisis. Pray that God will protect their minds, emotions, and health as they deal with their new normal. Also, pray for the children.
Thank you!  Thank you!

written by Delia Nüesch-Olver

We have been touched by the outpouring of interest in helping our people in Puerto Rico who continue to live in a crisis situation nearly a month after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.
Here are ways you can remain engaged:

  1. Pray.  On Monday October 16 Pastora Mercedes said: “We need God to give us strength and wisdom to respond to the crisis all around us. Pray that God will protect our minds and our emotions as we deal with this new normal. Also, pray that God will keep us all healthy in spite of the unsanitary conditions all around us. And please please pray that God will specially take care of our children." 
  2. Purchase Walmart or Walgreens gift cards and send them to Puerto Rico Hurricane Recovery, 770 N High School Road, Indianapolis, IN 46214.  We are regularly sending these cards to Puerto Rico so families and individuals are able to purchase whatever they need as soon as it is available. 
  3. Help with generators.  We continue to gather money to purchase generators at $430 each. Our sources tell us it will be many months before electricity is restored.   Superintendent Reynoso says it is a priority to have a generator for each church and each pastor’s family so that they can minister to others. Our churches have become centers of respite, counseling, and aid distribution. This is a project for a family, Sunday School class, small group or church.  

To give money towards a generator, please click on the link below. Write GENERATOR in the comment box.
Puerto Rico Recovery Fund
On behalf of our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico, mil gracias!
Puerto Rican Children
written by Delia Nüesch - Olver

The goal of Free Methodist World Missions in Latin America is to fuel and sustain a biblical movement to reach Latin Americans for Christ. Many ways exist to approach such an immense challenge, but a clear and consistent sense of direction from the Lord provides focus: We develop leaders and plant churches.

As area director for Latin America, I concentrate my best efforts and continually challenge all teams I lead toward empowering and coaching national leaders. Missionary transitions may occur because of personal calling, family needs and local circumstances. National leaders, however, tend to live in their countries for life. Together, we invest our best in them, equipping them for the present and preparing them for the future.

The coaching and empowering of leaders take a variety of shapes:

  1.  Annual leadership conferences in each country have been well-accepted. These training events are open to all who attend Free Methodist churches and are required for pastors and ministerial candidates to attend. Many lay leaders enthusiastically participate. They often take vacation time from work, pay their expenses and travel long distances to be present. Current and future leaders understand they play a vital part in the development of the church in their own countries and are eager to be trained to do it well.

  2. Our new pastoral formation system is up and running. This well-received system prepares pastors for effective ministry and ordination. It establishes and trains Ministerial Education and Guidance (MEG) boards in every district while coaching each Ministerial Appointment Committee (MAC) toward health.

  3. In some countries, the church is highly educated. In some others, it isn’t. The system welcomes people where they are and takes them to the next level in their education and preparation for effective and contextualized ministry.

  4. Mission district leaders are offered personalized coaching to internalize, contextualize and implement what they have learned at leadership conferences and through participating in and implementing the new pastoral formation system.

  5. We model decentralization at every level and encourage the use of technology for peer mentoring among leaders in different countries.

There are many ways of catalyzing initiatives and partnerships to plant clusters of churches in strategic cities. Countless church planting techniques have been used. At a recent Latin America Mission District Leaders Summit in Medellín, Colombia, all gladly agreed that Community Church Planting is our official strategy moving forward. Community Church Planting is a biblical, grassroots strategy that embraces, trains and catalyzes church planters at multiple levels of spiritual and leadership development.

This mission and vision have been broadly owned. Leaders of different countries and at different levels of official responsibilities encourage each other, share best practices and openly cheer each other on. Missionaries work together with focus on the mission, vision and values contextualized to the countries they serve. Most Free Methodist missionaries minister in several Latin American countries, and all contribute meaningfully to the goal of fueling and sustaining a biblical movement to reach our continent for Christ.

All of this results in delightful teams throughout the continent serving God together with good ministry traction and fruitfulness. A sense of identity grows as the Free Methodist Church continues to move forward in Latin America across the broad diversity of countries and cultures where we are privileged to serve.

written by Dra. Delia Nüesch-Olver