Church Plant in Medellin Columbia
I am Reverend Cleary currently I work for World Impact Newark as site administrator for TUMI Newark. TUMI stands for The Urban Ministry Institue. I work directly for Dr. Peter Padro the Site Director.We both feel called to go to Medellin Columbia and plant churches. We would like to raise enough funds to buy a multi-family house that we would use as a Christian Evangelism hostel.
Evangelists from the United States could stay at and help in Church Planting. Although it is mainly a Roman Catholic country there is a huge under-served population in need of Bible based training and preaching.
Dr Padro is of Purto Rican desent, he was dedicated to the Roman Catholic Church and at 16 he was sent to Spain to study at the seminary there. He finished his training at the Vacican in Rome and was Ordained as a Bendictine Monk. On Peter's first Church assigment to a homeless shelter in the Bronx, Peter was shot in the face and leg with a shotgun during a robbery by four men.
In the course of this robbery three other members of the Church were killed. This horrible crime netted the criminals six dollars, all but one were killed during the police chase. Peter was blinded and disfigured, as a result of his injuries he was dismissed from the Beniditine order as unable to carry out his duties.
During his long convolesce Peter lost his faith. How could God, who he had been dedicated to since his birth, allow this to happen. He recieved a call from UCLA medical center asking if he would be interested in experimental surgery.
Peter agreed and went to California. While in prep for surgery the doctor who would be doing the surgery said he would not begin until Peter prayed with him. Moved by the doctors faith he regained his own, and some of his vision as well. While in California Peter met and married Sonia, Peter was a passenger in a car Sonia ran into. And more about Sonia shortly.
Still facing years of cosmetic surgery to repair the horrible disfigurement from a shotgun blast to the face, Peter begain taking more seminary training and became a Ordained Reverend of the Presbytery Church, pastoring several churches, and for a time, a Professor at Drew University. Peter is multi-ligual, speaking seven languages, and owns an extensive Biblical library, he is also my dear friend and mentor, as well as his wife, Sonia.
Sonia was born in Medellin Columbia, and has recently returned from a visit there to say goodby to yet anot her sibling. She has lost a brother and two sisters within three months. Before coming to the United States and meeting Peter, Sonia ran a hostel for her Aunt on the outskirts of Medellin Columbia. Sonia is very excited about this idea. Her Mother and Aunt were Church planters in the sense they were responsible for getting the Roman Catholic Church to build in Medellin.
As for myself, I have lived a decandent life before coming to Christ. I spent many years in prison, and yet even then I did not see the error of my ways. The Lord had to literally bring me to my knees to get my attention. After being released from prison a third time, I found myself living on the mean streets of Newark New Jersey. My family had long since washed their hands of me, and I had no friends to speak of. Because I am a veteran (Navy 12 years), I was going to the outpatient program at the VA hospital, not because I thought they could help me, but rather because they had a free lunch.
One day I was on the bus going from the VA to the homeless shelter I was staying at, when the bus broke down. Looking around I saw a man I knew from the VA and he was working on this decrepit building. Since I wasn't going anywhere, I went over to talk to him. He was repairing the windows (in what appeared to be, speaking generously it looked like an abandoned building). So with nothing to do I started helping. After working awhile I finally met the man I assumed owned the building, and he invited us upstairs to eat. To my great surprise this was a Church and Frank was the pastor. I was invited to come back to do more work, and more importantly more food.
It has been over ten years since I walked though that door. I eventually moved into the Men's house and started attending the seminary program they offered (TUMI). Today I am a Ordained Reverend, I preach (at the World Impact Community Church), and teach, and evangelize I am also the office administrator for TUMI the seminary program I started studying so long ago, as well as a teacher there. I built the web site for TUMI www.tuminewark.org and developed the chaplain program and the web site www.newarkchaplalin.org.
While Peter, Sonia, and myself love what we have done here, we would like to do Gods work in Medellin Columbia, and we would like your help in doing it. Sonia in particular is extremly excited about this idea. She feels that she would be following in the footsteps of her family's work in Church planting.
I ask that you to look into your heart, and pray on this. And if God leads you to help us, it will be God leading us in this direction. I thank you in advance for your help in this endevor.