A Global Love Story
By Lori Dixon
[Author’s Note: In the coming days, we want to introduce you to the missionaries-elect featured in our impactX2 year-end campaign and their stories. Each one is different and the ministries are unique to the country and people, they have been called to serve. We are excited to see what God is going to do in and through their ministry.]
5 December 2017—One of the best parts of my new assignment with Global Strategy is getting to know each of the missionaries and discovering their stories—how they came to be missionaries, their passion, and the people they are honored to do life with.
I met Alejandro and Carmen De Francisco in Daytona Beach, Florida, at the CWC Convention back in October 2017. While eating ice cream on the beach, we talked about our shared love of Latin food and I got a chance to hear their story firsthand. You should meet them as well! One of my favorite parts of their story is that God took them both to Russia in order to meet one another, before they even had a relationship with him.
Called to one of the toughest mission fields, in a very secular society, the De Franciscos are preparing to join the Three Worlds team in ministry, planting a healthy network of churches and raising up leadership in Spain. Most people tend to think of Spain as a beautiful vacation spot, and they wouldn’t be wrong, but there is another side to this beautiful place. In a country where more than 70 percent claim Christianity, 80 percent of the general population would describe themselves as non-practicing. This spiritual void is being filled with all forms of secularism. Alejandro and Carmen have accepted the call to develop ministry and build relationships with the people of Spain, sharing the hope of life in Christ.
They couldn’t have come from more diverse backgrounds and yet God wove together two lives, with all their imperfections and challenging geographical barriers, into the most beautiful love story. God has used every experience to mold them into an amazing ministry team uniquely equipped to minister with the new work in Spain and for that, we are truly grateful.
Alejandro was born in Cuba, growing up as an atheist under the communist regime. Carmen, born into a devout Jehovah’s Witness family, grew up as a Sandinista in Nicaragua. Their paths crossed in the 1980s when both received university scholarships to study in the Soviet Union, he for a degree in physics and mathematics and she for a degree in Russian language and literature. The couple eventually sought political asylum in Spain, where Alejandro’s father was living, later immigrating to the United States in 1991.
Their personal lives were falling apart, the marriage foundering. Within weeks of arriving in Miami, on their first visit to a tiny Hispanic Church of God congregation, they both experienced the life-changing power of the Holy Spirit. Alejandro and Carmen will both tell you, “My faith in Christ has changed who I am in so many ways, in my marriage, my family, my dreams. I was accepted in his kingdom and transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Now I am a child of God, serving him with all my life.”
For the next ten years they served in that church as lay leaders, growing in faith. Alejandro found enormous success as the art director of the Latin American edition of PC Magazine and later PC World. But in 2001, God brought a new calling, one that caused them to leave everything behind to plant a Hispanic church in Tampa alongside Oak Grove Church of God. And so Alejandro and Carmen stepped out in faith into what has now been fifteen years of planting Hispanic churches throughout Florida.
Alejandro and Carmen are excited to see a God-given dream come to fulfillment. They have been uniquely shaped for ministry in Spain, and now they are connecting their passion for church planting with the mission of Global Strategy and the work of the Three Worlds team in Europe and the Middle East.
THEIR MINISTRY FOCUS
Alejandro and Carmen are passionate about planting churches and building the kingdom of God. They will be leading the Church of God back into Spain. Together with the Three Worlds team, they have a vision to plant a network of healthy, self-sustaining, self-replicating congregations across Spain, beginning with the launch of a church plant on the south side of Madrid. Along the way, they will be raising up and training leaders for these congregations. This network of churches will be fully integrated into the fellowship of the Church of God across the region. De Franciscos will also serve in the Europe and Middle East region as the Three Worlds team’s consultants for healthy church plants.
Will you prayerfully consider partnering with the De Franciscos in Spain? Donations to the De Franciscos’ ministry account received by December 31 may be eligible for the imapctX2 matching campaign.
To learn more about the impactX2 campaign, visit www.chogglobal.org/impactx2.
Click this link to go directly to the donation form for the De Franciscos: https://give.chogglobal.org/Default.aspx?tsid=9559&fund=188794