A ‘Relaxing’ Sabbatical for Igor Améstegui!

A sabbatical is an extended period away from work. It provides an opportunity to travel and study outside of a regular role and to rest, recharge, reflect and rejuvenate.

Try explaining that to Langham Preaching Latin America Director Igor Améstegui!

Igor and his wife Charitos visited the UK and Ireland in October 2023 during their ‘relaxing’ sabbatical break. Their daughter Sara lives in England as she studies for her PhD as a Langham Scholar and while they visited her they decided to make a quick pit stop in N. Ireland to make a special appearance at a Langham Magnify event.

Igor Améstegui and his wife Charitos at a Langham Magnify event in October 2023

Igor holds a degree in psychology and became secretary general of the Comunidad Cristiana Universitaria (a movement affiliated with IFES) in his home country of Bolivia. He has also worked as a clinical psychologist and was a university teacher. He and his wife both took courses in biblical studies and cross-cultural missions at All Nations Christian College.

God’s calling brought them to Langham Preaching, or Langham Predicación as it’s called in Latin America.

Mark Armstrong, Charitos and Igor Améstegui and David McMullan

Langham Predicación

Igor’s role as Director of Langham Predicación makes him responsible for all of the Latin America countries including the Southern Cone (Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay), the Andean Region (Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela), Central America (Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Cuba) and Brazil. If that wasn’t enough, he also works alongside the Hispanic Diaspora throughout the USA and Canada!

Of course, Igor cannot hold the weight of the American continent on his shoulders alone. During the Magnify event, he shared about his invaluable team (shown below) and how their dedication has helped expand Langham Predicación year-on-year.

Latin America Leadership Team

‘Facilitate don’t lecture’

Core to Langham Preaching in Latin America is the creation of escuelitas which translates as little schools.

An escuelita holds three to eight local pastors who come to study together to achieve Langham Preaching Levels 1, 2 and 3. Before they begin that three-year journey, they must complete a 3-day event called ‘Pray the Word’. This in essence is a teambuilding exercise designed to bring these men and women together to form bonds and friendships that could last their entire lives.

Each escuelita is managed by a facilitator and a Bible expositor. The Esuelita Coordinator manages meetings and the dynamics of the group and they in turn are managed by the National Coordinator. This ensures autonomy for each tiny group while keeping their momentum moving in a structured way.

“In a context of a crisis in values, corruption, devastation, and hopelessness, we dream of nurturing, with the Word of God, upright preachers who will lead the church toward attaining full life in Christ for a more just society, as a result of the action of the Holy Spirit in His creation.”

Igor Améstegui

The results are astounding. There is less than 10% drop-off over the three-year period! In many cases, no one wants to leave the group.

And the reason for this remarkable feat? ‘Facilitate don’t lecture,’ Igor says. He recounts the teaching methods of Paulo Freire, a famous Brazilian educator and philosopher who taught that education should never be passive but be fully engaging.

Wilfredo Weigandt (Southern Cone Regional Coordinator) and Jorge Bermudez

Peer Evaluation Equals Performance

Igor has fashioned all of the Preaching Clubs in that vein and along with smaller group sizes, he has seen tremendous growth as well as staying power. But that doesn’t mean that the sessions are easy!

Each member must deliver their prepared sermons to the rest of the group for evaluation. Not even the facilitators are immune. Yet, this instils courage and honest debate and that leads to a strengthening of the members’ preaching capabilities and also their respect for one another.

At the end of each year, the group members receive a well-earned award, usually a theological study book. When they complete all three Levels, they are rewarded with a Langham commentary in their own language. The commentaries are prized possessions and travel with the pastors as they teach and preach to their congregations, affecting thousands if not millions of lives!

Level 1 La Paz Bolivia

Please Pray for the Améstegui Family

Please continue to pray for Igor and his wife Charitos, his son Esteban (who works on the Langham Connect team and helps to coordinate escuelitas in Bolivia) and their daughter Sara. Pray that God may bless their work in Langham Predicación and that Igor may have some time during his sabbatical to finally get some rest and relaxation.

Sara Améstegui Deik is the special guest speaker on Langham Live in January 2024. Please support Igor’s daughter by registering and joining with us for those events.