Cecilia Valdiviezo News

Dear  friends


I know I haven’t been in contact with you for a while but you know me! These couple of months have been very interesting for me, God is showing me the need I have to trust in his will and to realise He is in control of everything.


As you know the church I am working in is very new (3 years old) so we are in the process of growing and that takes lots of planning, time and hard work. The pastor I work with is a very talented and humble man whose heart is in “mission” so he and his lovely wife support my ministry and encourage me to keep on. For the past weeks I’ve been visiting different churches and helping them with some workshops and some meetings for the youth and women. The one that took my attention was one that is in a shanty town, where almost 60% of the people are into drugs and prostitution. Pastor Celso introduced me the pastor that lives and works in this area, he wanted me to go and visit them and encourage the youth about being a Christian. When I got at the place I couldn’t believe where they meet, they have a tiny room and as there is not enough space they take chairs outside and sit on the sidewalk, the kids are around 40 and almost all of them have serious problems with “paco” ( a popular drug for “the poor”). The pastor, Jorge is his name, has a great love and compassion for these kids and I do know God is using him greatly because through him two gangsters received Jesus and now they are attending the group and since they became Christians violence had decreased . For me this is a real challenge because I worked with 2 drug addicts before and the works is exhausting and because they are sick sometimes they just change their mind and don’t want to go on. As they don’t have a youth leader they ask me if I can visit them at least once a month and spend time with them, so we agreed to do it twice a month and a friend of mine who is also a youth leader will visit them twice a month, we know that is not enough but at least it is a good beginning.


Last weekend I spent 4 days in Bermejo (Bolivia), as you know I’ve been doing this for the last two years. For me every time I visit my brother and sisters there is a time of joy and of course a time of very good food!…lol. I don’t mind travelling by bus during the night because I know that as soon as I arrive there the blessing is amazing. I met the women and we spent a beautiful afternoon meditating about the “role of the woman”, that was a time of sharing their stories and learnt from one another, I also spent time with the youth and preached. The best part of my staying there was after the service, when a couple approached to me and asked me if I wanted to be the witness of their marriage! I was over the moon, as I told you before this type of society just live together without getting married but I and some friends have been working during this 2 years about the importance of putting in order our lives so God can bless us. They are the second couple that are getting married I hope this is just the beginning.


I don’t want to say good bye before letting you know that yesterday I was invited to El Circulo where the pastor Celso is in charge. Yesterday was their first Sunday service and I know that for almost most of you that have been here know how important this is! The building was used just for the youth meetings and the Happy Hours but now they also are opened on Sunday. We had a great celebration with lovely food…of course!.


My friends, there are lots of other things I would love to share with you but I’ll do it in the next letter. I just want to tell you that none of these things will be possibly without your support, I thank God for that.

Once again thanks for you support, your love and your prayers.



Prayer Points.


Thank God for my time in Bermejo and the blessing of this new marriage.

To give me wisdom to start helping the church in the shanty town twice a month.

To thank God for the visit we did in the schools and to for the future visits in other schools.

For the activities we have in my church so the community can see God is available for everyone.

My future trips to Buenos Aires y Bermejo so I can keep safe.

My future volunteers that are coming in August and September.

To Thank God for my good health.



Cecy!!! xoxoxox


Chris Hawksbee in the Chaco shares about his agricultural work: We are progressing well with the projects I’m helping with. In March we started with strengthening beekeeping in three communities, and next week we get the cash advance to start the fencing for two cattle projects. Please pray for a possible interview being arranged for next week with the President of Paraguay, where I hope to present projects to use Moringa Olifeira (dried leaf powder) as a supplement in the government’s school children’s nutritional programme and for patients recovering from tuberculosis, and using the fruits form the Chaco forest for income generating activities in Indigenous communities.

News and prayer update from Marcus & Tamara Throup in Belfast and Brazil.

Just an update on Throup life! Please continue to pray for Tamara and me, as it is quite hard being apart. You’ll recall that I’m on a post-graduate diploma course in Theological Education in Belfast, whereas Tamara is at her Mum’s in Recife, finishing her post-grad course in Psychology. Studies are going well for both of us, and one good piece of news for me is that the University of Nottingham accepted my PhD proposal in New Testament studies, so I am now officially a (part-time) PhD student!

The pregnancy is going well and via Skype I am able to have some idea of our daughter (Rebekah’s) progress. Tamara is now 22 weeks and so far so good; this Thursday Tamara is due in for another important scan so please pray for her and Rebekah.

Here in Belfast, I’m having a productive time.  As well as studying around 10 hours a day on the Theological Education and on the doctorate, I have done a small amount of Greek teaching and may yet do some further teaching in other areas. I’m also learning a little Swahili with Dr Paul Mwangi, my Kenyan roommate! We’re quite an international group, with college lecturers and principals from all over the world. A lot of us (me included!) are feeling the cold now! Term is coming to an end though, and on January 1st, after Christmas with my folks, I’ll be getting on a plane to Brazil!

Both Tamara and I sense that this is a very special and formative time in our lives. The arrival of Rebekah and the start of the PhD bring new challenges and serious commitment, but both of us are sure that the Lord is with us, guiding us through. As of next year, alongside the PhD hours, I’ll be doing various teaching jobs that the bishop has lined up for me. Please pray that both of us will be refreshed and rested over the coming Christmas break, so that we can be at our best for the things God has for us next year.


With every blessing in Christ


Marcus and Tamara

SAMS Prayer Line for the week beginning Tuesday 20 January


Please remember a number of people who are travelling this week:


On Friday (23rd) the Irene family arrive back in La Paz, Bolivia, after a holiday which has included time with Nicky’s parents, Bishop Greg & Sylvia Venables, in Buenos Aires.  Please uphold Nicky, Ronny and the children as they resume their vigorous pastoral and evangelistic ministry during an unstable period in Bolivia.


On Monday (26th) Gwen Carlisle and Mags Southern fly back to Paraguay after their month in the UK. Pray for their travel and preparation for the new academic year at St Andrew’s School in Asunción, starting next month.


Also on Monday Andy Roberts and his Brazilian fiancée, Rose, arrive in the UK for a visit of several months. Andy is a volunteer at My Father’s (safe) House in Olinda for boys at risk and is seeking God’s will about serving there full-time with SAMS.  Andy and Rose became engaged just last week.


Starting on Monday SAMS Chilean Partners Pablo & Pamela Zavala will be far from their La Serena home directing a course on sexuality for young people in Temuco, down in the south.  Remember this ministry in your prayers.

San Lucas, Santiago, Chile.

La Familia Cerón Espinoza

San Lucas, Santiago, Chile.


Dear friends,

We are at the beginning of a very special year and are convinced that God has great things prepared for us, in spite of the current crisis! He is real, and will show the world his beauty and faithfulness as we proclaim Jesus in our home countries.


There is a lot going on in Chile and we would be very grateful if you would join us in prayer for the things set out below:


Our family now has a new member – our daughter, Jacinta Lael, was born three months ago. She is a beautiful, calm baby and has made us very happy. Alejandra is rather tired, so we would ask you to pray for us to get into a healthy routine this year. In the midst of tiredness, we would like to be able to really focus on family life and continue serving God joyfully.


This year we will be researching the university world. In 2010 we would like to establish a university church plant in the centre of Santiago and want to find out what God’s plan and strategy is so that we can work with him. It will be a year of walking the streets, doing evangelism, praying and forming training teams. Please pray that God will give us the WISDOM AND COURAGE we need to start out in this mission work, completely new in Chile, and which we would like to do with real passion.


This year too will see the Urban Mission Operation, which brings together over 500 young people in Santiago, and has now spread into many different cities. It is an evangelistic mission, which I am leading and which has simply become too big for us, thanks to what God is doing to make it grow. Throughout Chile many young people are making a commitment (and also in Argentina and other Latin American countries). Pray that this passion for evangelism will continue to grow and that these urban mission projects will be led by HIM in the different cities where they are taking place. The goal is that by 2010 we will be able to celebrate a National Urban Mission Operation when all the young people can go out in their own cities during the same week to share the good news of Jesus. Pray too for us, so that the power of God will be manifest in Chile as we preach the gospel of his Son!


Thank you for your continued support and wishing you many blessings for the coming year.


 (Cristóbal, Alejandra, Belén y Jacinta).

La Caldera 2010

Following the successful mission trip by young people from Down and Dromore Diocese to Northern Argentina SAMS Ireland is launching a new project – La Caldera 2010. The project aims to help the Anglican church in Northern Argentina to develop following several difficult years.

La Caldera retreat centreLa Caldera is a retreat centre 30 minutes from the regional capital Salta. It is a key centre for the ministry of the diocese as it is the focus for outreach and ministry training. The original building is 100 years old and badly in need of repair. In July 2008 the team of young people started to help rebuild the retreat centre. Following this trip Bishop Harold Millar has asked that the young people of Down and Dromore and DDYC will help with an on-going project called la Caldera 2010.

Dani and Flavia LescanoAnother key part of this project will be to sponsor the training of ordinands in the Anglican church in Argentina. Key ministry students will be identified and brought to Ireland to meet interested churches. The students will spend some time getting to know the congregation who will then follow their progress through theological college in South America and pray for them as they begin ordained ministry. The first students to be chosen are Dani and Flavia Lescano, they are just starting their 2nd year in theological training in Buenos Aires.

Update from Pamela Gomez

Pamela GomezPamela Gomez is a Latin Partner working in Annaghmore Parish for the last six months. Here are a few of her impressions of her time so far.

What have you been doing in the Parish?
I have been working especially with children in the Parish, helping with the Sunday School and youth activities during the week. Recently I joined the worship team and for Pentecost Sunday sang for them in Spanish. I’ve also been giving Spanish lessons for those going out on BTN teams this coming year.

What has been the best thing of the last six months?
The best thing has been working for God over the last six months. Working with the people in the Parish has been very special and I have grown as a Christian as a result. I have learnt that I can spend a lot of time working, even in Christian work, but my priority has to be my relationship with God. Spending time reading the Bible and praying has really helped me.

What do you think of us Northern Irish?
The people are lovely. They are always asking me if everything is ok. The people of Annaghmore are really my big family. I have so many friends there, and Dorothy, the Rector, is a real support and absolutely lovely.

It’s very important to me that SAMS is working in my home town in Argentina, it is a real honour that people here want to help the church grow in Salta. I really appreciate that.

Pamela is here until 13th of July, please pray for her as she prepares to return to Argentina.

News from René and Marina Pereira in Northern Argentina

René and Marina PereiraDear brothers and sisters,

With these lines I want to send you some news regarding the work of the Anglican Church in Northern Argentina…
This year we have had a lot of rain in this region and unfortunately, as has happened in the past, it caused the rivers Pilcomayo and Bermejo to flood. As a result of this, various communities suffered from flooding, some even having to leave their homes so as to move to other places. The communities that were flooded in the Province of Formosa are: el Quebracho, Pescado Negro, Las Lagunitas, Pocitos and Pozo Yacaré (in the Bermejo region); our brethren in El Churcal are isolated, they can only be reached by canoe (this is in the Pilcomayo area). While in the Province of Salta the affected communities were Bajo Grande, Las Vertientes, Las Juntas, Pozo Mulato, Alto de la Sierra and Pozo las Chivas (in the Pilcomayo area).

Pilcomayo RiverIn these last months the rains have not stopped; even last night it rained all night and it’s still raining this morning; this has made the situation even worse as those who left their villages are living very precariously and the roads have become unusable so that it’s almost impossible to reach them. We ask for your prayers for these brethren who are in great need; thanks be to God that the government has been helping them (by air) with food and some shelter. But as has happened previously, I think that when the waters recede and the people establish themselves in their new places they are most likely going to need a new church and they will certainly ask for help from the Diocese for this.

Because of all I’ve mentioned above, we had to cancel the youth meeting which was due to take place during Holy Week in Juarez, as it was impossible for many to travel out from their villages. We also had to postpone a zonal conference in Sauzalito (Chaco Province) for the same reason; this was due to take place on April 5th and 6th but has been postponed till August.
As regards ministry in the criollo (“white”) church, in February we had a Young People’s camp in La Caldera (Salta), with about 70 young people taking part, including 35 from Juarez, Laguna Yema and Chiriguanos [towns in the Chaco]. There we had workshops to learn about theatre, music, puppets, clowns and plastic arts, in order to offer the young folk tools to use in evangelism. The young people returned home from the camp both challenged and encouraged, to such a point that in Juarez we organised an open-air event in the little town square where they put into practice what they had learned. This happened on Good Friday: there was a massive crowd, whole families came to the place, lots of children along with their parents; it was a really great opportunity to present the Gospel; as a result of this the numbers coming to the church meetings have grown, especially in the Youth Group and the Sunday School. We ask for your prayers for the central criollo church in Juarez and especially for the two young pastors who lead it: one is Narciso Sanchez (unmarried) and the other is Juan Maldonado (married with 7 children).

In July the youth of the Criollo church in Juarez want to organise their First Youth Camp; after taking part in the Camp at La Caldera they came home with that expectation. It will be a great blessing for them to be able to carry it out; there would be participants from the nearby towns and including some from the capital city of Salta. We don’t have the infrastructure required to do this, but in faith we believe it’s possible. Please pray
for this too.

Also in July, as is our custom we shall have our Youth Camp in Misión Chaqueña which will embrace all the youth from the rural ministry; usually there are about 100-120 young people from different congregations in the region. We are counting on your prayers for this.
As for family news, we give thanks to God for Marina’s recovery although it is not yet complete; she is still physically quite poorly, she has to take care not to get a cold or flu, and she still has to continue the treatment to improve her natural immunity. She is still very susceptible to anything which concerns the respiratory system or the lungs. Many thanks for your prayers; we are sure that you are still supporting us in prayer for Marina. On the other hand, Marcos and Sarai have begun their school year really well. Sarai who is 13 is in the 3rd year of secondary while Marcos (only 11) is doing 7th grade (last year of primary school). They are both very healthy and growing taller than their parents, I think very soon they will be looking down on us!
Well, that’s all the news that I have to tell you for now, hoping and praying that our Almighty God will continue to bless you richly, both physically as well as spiritually.

Your brother in Christ,

Rene Pereira.

Economic Problems in Argentina

Cecilia sent us this email about the economic problems developing in Argentina.


The intention of this email is to share with you the present situation here in Argentina. I’m convinced that together united in prayer, our Lord will deliver us and guide the government to find a solution to the current crisis.

I came back from Ireland almost four weeks ago; I had left a country which was trying hard to improve its economical and social problems. Since 2001, because of the crisis, the whole population has had to learn to live differently to what we were used to, it took some time but after a while the changes became more manageable.

For the last two months the government has faced some difficult situations with the farmers, the government wants to increase some taxes and the farmers are refusing to pay the new amount. After some attempts to solve the dilemma and without any positive response, the farmers decided to start a strike and as part of their strategy they blocked the motorways and many of the main roads. Because of this the people who deliver goods all around the country couldn’t do their job and for almost three weeks they were living in their lorries waiting for a solution.

As a result the whole country suffered a sad consequence; little by little we started running out of food. Every time you went to the supermarket you were allow to take only a certain amount of things, in the hope that by introducing rationing there would be enough food for everyone and to make this unfortunate situation worse many business´ took advantage of the crisis by pushing the prices up on almost all of their merchandise .
Meanwhile the government chose not to reconsider the situation so the people who were affected most by the strike started supporting the farmers and asking the government to do something about it. After some meetings they decided to stop the strike for 40 days and after which they will meet the President again to see if a definite solution can be agreed upon.

The meeting will take place this week, if they don’t come to an agreement the problems of a few weeks ago will recommence, and once again we are going to suffer the cost.
On the other hand, the banks don’t trust the new government (It has been said they are afraid that there will be another crisis like the one in 2001) so they have changed some of their policies, instead of working with the people they are working against them. For example the maximum amount that can be withdrawn per transaction is equal to about 45 pounds sterling and as each transaction costs 1 pound this quickly adds up.

As you can imagine, this change also affects the church because everything we planned to spend this year for the new building as well as the soup kitchen has to be reconsidered due price increases.

In less than two months the entire economy has changed dramatically and returning home has been a real shock for me. There are some families in the church who are struggling with this reality as they are in great economical need. It breaks my heart to see them working so hard and not even being able to get a house of their own, to see them crying out for help because they feel completely lost and tired, very tired. But something that has astonished me is their way of praying, always thanking God for what they have (one family couldn’t even put food on their table for a week).

So this is the present situation in my lovely Argentina, we are all waiting to see what the government decide to do with this.

My prayer to God is that He will give wisdom to our President so she can help her people who trust her.

My friends, I just want to thank you for reading this and for praying for my people and also for me. May God be with us.

Love, Cecilia

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