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Ministry director with the EMI team


Getting ready for growth in Latin America

By Jorge Agüero and Phil Iekel

Demand for Christian camps and placements in the missionary training school for 2020 had surged like never before.

El Monte staff and facilities were about to be pushed to the limit and maybe beyond. Then it all evaporated with Covid.

Ministry director Paul Wilson

For Ministry Director Paul Wilson, the Lord’s message was loud and clear: “This is what’s coming. Get ready [prepararse] for it.”

Located a few hours from Mexico City, the staff team and the beautiful 70-acre campus had come through some serious legal threats. They had reached a point where there was now space and focus for what God was calling El Monte to become. As a ministry of WEC International, El Monte has remained committed to intimate camp discipleship and equipping Mexican missionaries for cross-cultural service.

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To face this challenge to grow, God connected them with EMI’s seedling Mexico staff. Earlier this year, a 15-member EMI team joined El Monte’s team to explore God’s vision for their ministry—through surveying, architecture, and engineering.

El Monte’s culture of discipleship through confianza [trust] built through time spent together is foundational—from the youth that first choose to follow Jesus at camp to the missionary preparing to adopt a new culture and people.

But not only are we helping El Monte to grow their role in a Mexican missionary movement—we’re getting ready to be part of it as EMI.


Jorge Agüero

Jorge Agüero, EMI Mexico Director

El Monte is a great example of how relevant EMI can be to the Mexican church. There are many ministries in Mexico with a vision to serve and extend the gospel to the far corners of the nation and the world. Many of them are in the process of getting ready and realize that the endeavor comes with many challenges.

The Agüero family

Gilda and I have a passion to serve the Latin American Church as it continues to strengthen and mature in its participation in God’s mission. We have two small boys and have served with EMI since March, 2018. After two years with the Nicaragua team, we are now back home preparing to launch EMI in Mexico.

EMI Mexico will be a resource to ministries like El Monte, helping them envision and reach their full potential.

Directors visiting Ensenada

We are planning to establish an office in the city of Ensenada, B.C. Mexico. Last month, EMI’s CEO and Regional Directors visited to see the city and talk about the potential.

While we’re praying for more expat staff to join the team, there’s a solid local team supporting the pre-launch stages.

We will be joining a vision for ministry in Latin America that EMI Nicaragua has been cultivating the past six years. Now we will serve the Spanish-speaking world together!


Sketch of Phil Iekel

Phil Iekel, EMI Nicaragua Director

Nestled in the busy and vibrant city of Managua, EMI Nicaragua has been involved in transformational projects from Mexico to Chile since its founding.

Despite many challenges, including a staff team of just three this past year, EMI Nicaragua has continued to serve ministries such as El Monte. We know God has sustained us because the need is great and He has more in store!

After stepping into the role of Director earlier this year, my wife Olivia and I are serving together as team leaders.

Phil and Olivia Iekel

Prior to God aligning our call to lead EMI Nicaragua’s team, I served as a staff structural engineer and deputy director, while Olivia worked with a local community development organization.

Looking back, we see how God used our collective experiences and time working cross-culturally to help ready us for this season.

Our team is getting ready, too, for rapid growth and a widening reach in 2022. Three new international staff families along with one or two more Nicaraguan professionals will join EMI Nicaragua’s next chapter of ministry.

Through His faithful provision, God is calling us to look outward to support how He is moving in greater Latin America.

But He is also calling us to look inward, as witnesses and participants in His restoring work in our team, churches, and communities in Nicaragua.

Latin America team

EMI Mexico and Nicaragua share a vision of the Latin American church influencing its local communities and partaking in the global great commission.

Jorge and Phil are excited to discover the ways God wants to use EMI in this region as their Spanish-speaking teams grow and as they grow in partnership with each other and ministries like El Monte.

There is much hope and expectation as we see God working in Latin America, and we are getting ready!

EMI team working at El Monte
  • Photos: Matthew Coffey, Jorge Agüero, Darius Cinpean
  • Video: Darius Cinpean, Anchored Creatives
  • Editor: MJC
  • Published: 15-September-2021
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Join the EMI Mexico launch team!

A medida que EMI comienza a planificar el nuevo lanzamiento de la oficina en México, estamos buscando conectar con diseñadores de la red de EMI que hablen español. ¿Podrías ser tú? Por favor contáctate hoy con hr@emiworld.orgRead in English

As EMI begins planning a new office launch in Mexico, we are actively looking to engage Spanish-speaking design professionals in the EMI Network. Could this be you? Please get in touch with today!

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