Thursday, May 29, 2014

Covenant Theological Seminary trained Robert Woodson (BDiv’60) Leads Multigenerational Impact on Latin America

Bob and Shirley Woodson
In May 1960, Robert Woodson graduated from Covenant Theological Seminary with a calling from God to serve in Peru, at which time about 90% of the population considered itself Roman Catholic. He and his wife moved to Peru in 1965. After serving in rural areas for about two decades, he and a national pastor decided to plant a church in the capital city, Lima. Today Lima hosts about 10 million people.

In 2001, Israel Ruiz heard the gospel of grace preached by Rev. Woodson. The Lord called Israel to his flock and kindled a passion in him to share the gospel with others. Israel moved to the United States in 2006 to marry Marietta Lessley (an American who served in Peru for six months with MTW). Still with the desire the Lord had placed in his heart to share the gospel, the Lord opened the doors needed to attend seminary and he was accepted at Covenant Seminary. He started his M.Div in 2009 and graduated in 2013.

Guillermo "Guille" MacKenzie (white shirt, front row) with the congregation of La Iglesia Nuevo Avivamiento.
While in seminary, he met Guillermo Mackenzie from Argentina and they became good friends. Guillermo had been a pastor in Buenos Aires, Argentina and came to the States to attend Covenant Seminary. He graduated with a Master of Theology in May 2010 and is about to finish a Doctor of Ministry this spring.

Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina and has between 10 to 13 millions people, it is the second largest city in South America and it has less reformed missionaries than other cities in the continent.

Guillermo invited Israel to work with him in Buenos Aires in a church plant that Guillermo started about two years ago. Guillermo approached a Presbyterian Taiwanese Church that was planted about 30 years ago, but had never had a service in Spanish.  After deciding to partner together, Guillermo started a Spanish service which has developed into a multicultural congregation. The service in Spanish hosts about 50 people from 10 different countries.

Israel has accepted this call and is now raising support to go to Buenos Aires and serve this multicultural church. The congregation and Guillermo are waiting for Israel and his family to have them as part of this multicultural family. Guillermo and Israel have the vision of fostering a multicultural community of people who worship God, share life with fraternal love, and is committed to being a witness of God to its neighborhood and the world. Racial reconciliation is emphasized in this church since this is what God is calling Guillermo and Israel to do in La Iglesia Nuevo Avivamiento (New Awakening Church).

Israel Ruiz with his wife Marietta and child.
Covenant Theological Seminary has rooted Rev. Woodson, Rev. Mackenzie and Israel Ruiz in a gospel focused on God's grace. This grace is what makes the apostle Paul say that "the gospel is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes," first to the Jew, then also to the Greek, the American, Argentinean, Chinese, Taiwanese, Peruvian and to every nationality. God is impacting unique cultures in Buenos Aires with the gospel of grace.
If you would like Israel and Marietta to speak at your church, please contact them at or 309-202-8804. They would love to tell you about this exciting project of urban church planting in one of Latin America's leading cities. Their goal is to finish support raising and move to Buenos Aires in the fall of 2014.

Mr. Israel Ruiz (MDiv ’13)

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