When our team started working in Mendoza 25 years ago, there were many huts at the entrance of the “12 de Mayo” quarter built only of cardboard. Four kilometers outside the city of Mendoza a sad picture presented itself: the density caused violence, alcoholism, and drug trafficking to rise rapidly. To give a sign of hope here the Social Center Mendoza was created with the vision of bringing hope to the disadvantaged urban population which is characterized by economic and spiritual poverty.
It all began in the Araya-Ahumada family farm. They were poor but they knew Jesus and He was their wealth. They had a big heart and took in six neglected children. Very quickly, EBM INTERNATIONAL (then still MASA) began helping and was always ther from that moment on. Over the years we acquired two plots of land. A dining hall and a multi-purpose room were built. There is also financial support for the employees.
We fought many spiritual battles: the owners of the land were involved in drug trafficking. When everything was ready for the inauguration of the PEPE preschool programs, fires were set and everything was delayed. We were stunned! As a result, contact was made with the provincial authorities, who decided to pay the salaries for the pre-school. God has done so much good. Over the years he has brought people from many communities to us: teachers provide tutoring, others offer educational services. There is theater, dance, painting, handicrafts, sewing, and cooking. Thanks to a donation we were able to offer help with a health station for seven years. The social development is being promoted and in children’s classes and youth groups people tell about Jesus. Dozens of families heard about Jesus through the personal testimony of the professionals. Many have seen our faith in God. In 2015 we received an award from the province for our social commitment.
Today, 60 children belong to our preschool program and since 2008 the MANNA groups have been in existence. We train teams that accompany the families to give the neglected children health care, school attendance, and an access to faith. The volunteers take on a sponsorship role and take care of the children’s needs. Currently, nine communities from different cities in the provinces of Mendoza, San Luis, and Córdoba are involved in MANNA. 86 children are taken care of.
In all this growth it became clear that we needed to plant a local church. Carlos Waldow and Arturo Köbernick have always encouraged us in this concern because it is a value of EBM INTERNATIONAL that projects are directly connected to a local church. God has called Alberto and Natalia Giménez from our group who are now the pastor couple of the new church. After one year they had their first baptism in March.
And then came the Corona pandemic … Our plans were interrupted and God gave new possibilities. We are now distributing food bags for 410 children, whom we have already provided for before. We support families in their basic needs and share our faith. We have continued training and networking online. Bible classes are held with the permitted number of people. The activities have somehow been consolidated and in the middle of the pandemic we are experiencing a growth of the church.
There are about 80 people waiting to be reunited. God is and remains faithful! We are convinced that he still has great plans! We thank EBM INTERNATIONAL and all donors for their support and trust. May God continue to bless this wonderful work. For the benefit of those who need it most. Soli Deo Gloria.
Miriam Patrón, Director of the Social Center Mendoza