Faith and patience, two words that describe Pastor Custudio.
“I accepted the Lord in my life when I was 29 years old and was struggling with alcoholism,” he begins. “A pastor told me that God was the only way out of my addiction, so I accepted Him. Right after my conversion, I told God that I wanted to serve Him.”
Custudio and his wife were living near the capital city of Bogotá, Colombia at the time. While he was anxious to get started serving, God asked Custudio to wait. Not just for a few weeks—10 years went by and Custudio had no idea how he was supposed to serve.
“I was frustrated to see others receive their calling while I did not hear anything,” he says. “But I was trusting. And the Lord is faithful and merciful.”
Custudio and his wife Francia are church planters in Rincon Grande.
After 10 years, a visiting pastor from Panama told Custudio that he and his wife were supposed to be pastors. They were afraid and doubtful, until they received another visitor from the United States who told them the same thing: God wants you to be pastors.
“I could not ignore the calling,” he says.
He and his wife have now been serving as pastors for more than eight years.
"I can see that the Lord was preparing us for his work, so I do not complain about the years of patience and waiting,” he says. “I cannot explain how I kept my faith while waiting to become a pastor, but during those times I would still share His Word when possible."
As a pastor in Bogotá, Custudio was traveling 24 miles—a three-hour car ride—to the Rincon Grande, a rural, agricultural area outside the city. He was leading Bible studies there, making the trek every eight days. He and his wife attended a Church Planter Training information session, and of the 20 pastors in attendance, they were the only two chosen to take the course. They decided to plant a church in Rincon Grande.
The couple took on the stress of planting a church as well as relocation and changing their lifestyle. They went from an urban area surrounded by resources to an agriculture-based, rural town where they had to plant and harvest their own food. Rincon Grande is surrounded by mountains and houses are made from plywood, aluminum foil, or clay bricks. Not many have cell phone service and cars are scarce.
But even in the face of uncertainty and change, they remained obedient.
Custudio’s home in Rincon Grande, a rural, agriculture-focused town outside of Bogotá.
A month after moving, God confirmed that their obedience was paying off. Pastor Custudio and his wife had 20 regular attenders at their new church.
The couple hopes to grow their congregation and minister to more in the area. The Church Planter Training helped tremendously with their ministry, but it also helped with their personal relationships with the Lord.
"I am a lot more mature now. God has given me wisdom through the Bible League International program,” Custudio says. “Details that were not priorities for me or that I have forgotten are now extremely important, things like enthusiasm and love. Church Planter Training renovated my intentionality in those areas—the program is a fuel that God has given me."
In places where there are no local churches, and for growing churches eager to share the Gospel with those who have never heard of the gift of salvation, Bible League International provides resources and training for church planters. We help train and encourage students who are eager to show God's love, in remote areas and the world's busiest cities, so they can teach others and care for the spiritual needs of their communities.