This week, please pray with us for Jhohan Centeno in Colombia.
Located in the northwestern corner of South America, Colombia is home to over 50 million people (71% Catholic, 17% Protestant, and 5% irreligious). From the 1960s until the 2016 peace accord, Colombia endured armed conflict – partly fueled by the United States and multinational corporations – among government troops, left-wing guerilla forces, right-wing paramilitary groups, and various crime syndicates. Since 2015, over 1.8 million Venezuelans have fled to Colombia amid the economic, political, and human rights crisis back home. The pandemic has exacerbated work conditions for migrants, especially women, who face high unemployment, hiring discrimination, low income, and lack of pensions.
Jhohan is pursuing a PhD in Biblical Studies at Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana in Colombia. His dissertation examines the biblical roots of contemporary Pentecostal perceptions and practices of anointing, in order to promote healthy models of church leadership. Jhohan teaches and serves as Academic Vice President at the Biblical Seminary of Colombia (FUSBC), a client school of the Vital SustainAbility Initiative. Jhohan and his wife Ginna have a twelve-year-old son, Santiago, and a ten-year-old daughter, Sofía.
Jhohan shares the following message:
Dear ScholarLeaders Brothers and Sisters,
I thank the Lord for his support in my ministerial development, and for his provision for my family and for the ministry of the Biblical Seminary of Colombia (FUSBC).
Colombia and Its Church
In Colombia, we have a congressional election today (March 13) and a presidential election on May 29. In recent years, the elections have generated strong tensions in the Church due to nationwide polarization. This complex reality adds to the difficult economic situation that the country is going through due to the pandemic, currency devaluation, and inflation. The Church’s challenges include witnessing to the faith and modeling a relationship with God amid a loss of credibility due to polarization and the loss of many leaders due to the pandemic.
FUSBC (Biblical Seminary of Colombia)
The work at FUSBC brings with it various ups and downs. Joys include starting a new year with old and new students, new cohorts in our residential and virtual programs, and the first cohort of eight students in our Master’s in Biblical Interpretation program.
Although we celebrate these new groups, we also face economic difficulties due to the decline in our student population. Several students could not enroll in all their courses due to a lack of resources, so some have postponed their semester.
Meanwhile, we continue our commitment as an institution to working in all modalities (face-to-face, virtual, and technology-assisted), and to serving across Colombia as part of our call to serve God, the Church, and society.
My doctoral research continues to advance. I am still working on my doctoral dissertation. It has been a big challenge to combine my studies with my work as Academic Vice President, but we have been advancing step-by-step. I have been highly challenged by my PhD learning to find avenues of theological training suitable for Pentecostal churches.
My family and I live on the FUSBC campus. At this time my wife is not working, so that has meant rethinking some dynamics at home. My children are happy to be studying in-person again. At the end of last year, we had the joy of having our oldest son baptized in church.
1. Please pray for my dissertation writing.
2. Pray for the Church in Colombia, as it engages in ecclesiological reflection, raises its prophetic voice, and serves those in need. Pray also for churches’ economic situations.
3. Pray for my family, for God’s direction in decisions that we must make. Also, pray that we will find good spaces to share amid multiple responsibilities.
4. Pray for me, for strength and discipline amid my administrative work, teaching, and doctoral studies.