The first PEPE training in Colombia was conducted by PEPE leaders from the Brazilian Junta de Missões Mundial (Brazilian International Mission Board) in Cartagena in coordination with the Colombian Baptist Women’s Union. During that training, Sister Adalcy felt called to offer her own house to host a PEPE. At that time, Adalcy was married with four children. She was very poor and lived in a house that only had two rooms: one living room/kitchen and one bedroom shared by all. Her pastor did not support the idea, and her husband was not happy that she would offer half of such a small and humble house for ministry, meaning their entire family had to move into a single room with all their belongings. In addition, she was not going to be paid for this. She was to become a full-time volunteer, and neither her or her husband had a job at the time.
She struggled a lot, thinking it would not be possible. She wondered if her idea was too unreasonable; however, she could not deny the strong call she was feeling directly from God. The lack of support made sense. The program was new to everyone, and it required investment and commitment from the church, the volunteers, and Adalcy as leader.
In the midst of this challenge, Maria Castilla (President of the Colombian Baptist Women’s Union at the time) became a key support for Adalcy. She knew her pastor very well and was able to encourage Adalcy to trust God for provision, and even dared to encourage her to obey God first and foremost even above her pastor (whose heart God did touch afterwards).
Sister Maria started contacting members at Adalcy’s local church and other churches in the city to ask them to donate chairs, tables, and other needed supplies.
Through this and much prayer, God did provide all the supplies. Her husband and children started supporting her, and the first PEPE in Colombia was born. With time, a local mission was also born in that house. Her local church recognized it and supported those weekly Bible studies, services, evangelism initiatives, and became more involved in the PEPE ministry.
God helped them with a job for her husband. They were able to build the rest of the house, and a new Baptist church was born that still stands there today pastored by Adalcy herself. Her children have grown up to serve the Lord as well. Two of them are fully involved with PEPE locally, regionally, and nationally as her daughter is the PEPE Coordinator in the region and Adalcy is the national PEPE coordinator in Colombia.
Praise be God for all He has done through this sister, in this family, this neighborhood, and everyone impacted by them. There is a little boy, part of the very first group of kids, who is now a volunteer in PEPE for other kids like him. We give thanks for Adalcy’s faithfulness and for the victorious life the Lord has blessed her with as she lives out her calling.
NOTE: PEPE is a socio-educative missionary program promoted in partnership with evangelical churches and communities in Brazil and in countries across Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. It aims to bring hope to children in socially vulnerable situations, preparing them for life and enrollment in a formal school.