Moving to ArgentinaPublished 10:00am Sunday, August 3, 2014
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Two years ago, as Heather Rego was preparing to return home after a mission trip to Peru, she felt her calling to return to South America and serve as a missionary.
The group of about 30 short-term missionaries was gathered at a restaurant before returning. A leader passed out cards to each of the participants. On each card was printed information about Extreme Nazarene Missions as well as a demographic category. Each category was represented by a proportionate number of Nazarenes, so if 15 percent of Peruvians were affected by drugs, 15 percent of the missionaries held a card that had drugs written on it.
The leader read out each of the categories and asked those holding the corresponding cards to stand. Rego’s card read disciple. She recounts sitting there watching as all those surrounding her stood at his or her turn. Disciple was the last category to be called, and as she stood Rego was shocked.
“I realized I was the only one standing, and I started bawling,” she said.
After a lifelong urge to serve as a missionary, Rego finally knew where she was needed. But knowing her path was not the final step toward a commitment.
“I pushed it to the back of my mind throughout junior year,” she said.
In March of this year, Rego broke up with her boyfriend, which she describes as “out of the blue.”
“I felt like I was free to do Extreme,” she said.
Within a matter of a few days, Rego filled out the application with Extreme Nazarene Mission, was interviewed and was extended an invitation to join the team headed to Argentina to start a church.
“To him, I was speechless, but I was in my room jumping up and down,” she said.
From then until know, she has been working tirelessly to get ready for the big move. She has been fundraising, and she attended a weekend conference for the first part of training. She also had to get in order her last bit of schooling.
Rego has just finished her junior year at Trevecca Nazarene University where she has been pursuing a degree in missions. She was fortunate to have support from her dean, who worked with her adviser to get Heather on track to graduate in December. Rego will be joining the team late during training and leave just before the end of the semester, so she will have to work hard to be successful at both roles.
After Thanksgiving, Rego will be heading to Quito, Ecuador, where she work on her Spanish language skills until February. From February to March, she will travel to Cali, Columbia, to learn about churching planting. And in March 2015, Rego will finally settle in Cordoba, Argentina, for the next two years.
Rego, along with five other North Americans and six Argentines, will work on developing relationships with people in Cordoba, community outreach programs and, last but not least, the church plant. They will build up disciples and mold them into leaders, so that when the group leaves in 2017 they will be self-sustaining.
Rego has previously been on two mission trips to South America, the aforementioned trip to Peru and one to Ecuador. Rego’s trip to Ecuador was her first experience with mission work out of the country.
While in Ecuador, Rego helped with a lot of community outreach programs and handing out flyers. She spent time evangelizing and talking to those in the neighborhood, especially the children.
“We played with them all day long,” she said. “The kids were such a blessing.”
On the day the group left, some of the children accompanied them to the airport. As they were crossing through security, one of the 14-year-old boys started crying.
“And of course we all started crying,” she said. “It was the most emotional goodbye.”
The following year, she traveled to Peru, where Rego transitioned to the role of the more experienced. One of the things the group did for publicity were flash mobs throughout town. People would gather and then the group would ask the audience for contact information, so they could call or visit.
“Not selling the church thing, but this is who we are,” she said.
The Peru trip also focused more on prayer and its importance. Every Thursday they would wake up for 4 a.m. prayer at the church.
“If you’ve never done anything like that it’s like I’m going to pray for two hours, but it was great,” she said.
She saw the power of prayer in action. For example, she remembers wanting to go out to do work in the city, but it was raining. They went into the church and prayed that it would stop, and it did.
“Sometimes you don’t see it instantaneously like that,” she said.
For anyone wanting to donate, call 1-800-326-9235 or visit extremenazarene.org/rego. Besides financial support, Rego said prayer is one of the most important things they need. Rego will be keeping a blog during her stay at hjrego.blogspot.com.
Rego is a 2011 graduate of Brookhaven High School and is the daughter of Chris and Kelli Rego.