SENDAS graduates credit education for strong foundation in ministry
In 1983, an Argentine couple arrived at Seminario Nazareno de las Américas (SENDAS) following God’s call to prepare for ministry in the Church of the Nazarene. Eduardo Alejandro Lelli and Graciela Monica Portini de Lelli spent three formative years growing, learning, and serving in the SENDAS community.
“SENDAS led us from being youth leaders in our local church in Buenos Aires to being bi-vocational pastors committed to the work,” Eduardo said. “It challenged us to think theologically, to love our Nazarene doctrine, and to commit ourselves to church planting and the spread of the Kingdom. In addition, our experience with other students from 18 countries was something wonderful that taught us to love and appreciate our brothers and sisters from so many other Latin American countries.”
When the Lellis left SENDAS, they went to New York to plant Hispanic churches. Today, they are still doing the same. Eduardo is the Hispanic coordinator in the MidSouth District, which covers the Western half of Tennessee and Mississippi. In just four years, they have planted 12 churches.
Graciela served at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs for many years, and since 2004, she has served as the editorial director for Grupo Nelson and Editorial Vida, the Spanish imprints of Harper Collins Christian Publishing.
God has led them to shepherd and serve in many capacities, but they never forgot the local church in El Alto de Guadalupe (on the SENDAS campus), which according to Eduardo, “was the first church in which we pastored, and the lessons learned there have guided us all the way.”
Eduardo and Graciela remember the people and experiences at SENDAS fondly.
“In Costa Rica, our first daughter (Barbara) was born, and both the teachers and the classmates supported us beautifully and taught us how to care for our first baby,” Graciela said. “We especially remember Jerry and Tony Porter, Jonathan and Magda Salgado, Enrique Guang, Daniel Montero, Arturo Molina, John and Sheila Hall and many others, both teachers and students who were a great blessing to our lives in those years of ministerial formation.”
Eduardo offered some advice for students who are following a call of God and want to prepare for service.
“Times have changed, and most of the studies are remote,” he said. “This has brought a great opportunity for study and has served to reach a much larger number of students throughout Latin America. Whether in residence or at a distance, the training provided by SENDAS in Spanish is of unparalleled value. Here in the MidSouth District, we have made an agreement with SENDAS and it is our hope that some of our students who graduate from the modular ministerial formation will continue their distance studies to obtain a bachelor’s degree in pastoral theology and even more, a master’s. We work in Spanish and serve in Spanish, so our training must be in Spanish, and this is something that SENDAS can provide.”
--Adapted from Seminario Nazareno de las Américas. Click here to read more.