New Program Turns Professionals into Missionaries

A medical doctor from Costa Rica, a nurse from Ecuador, and a biochemist from Brazil are among the professionals who will become bi-vocational missionaries through a new mission training program targeted at Latin American believers.

In the latest move by one of the world's oldest broadcasting mission groups, HCJB Global, which has expanded its work to include health care services and other ministries, launched the "Corrientes" outreach this past week to mobilize and train the large number of Latino believers to serve in mission fields.

Specifically, Corrientes targets three professional areas – media, healthcare and development – and seeks to find professionals such as doctors, nurses, radio program producers, engineers and water project specialists who are interested in using their skills as a full-time missionary.

Les Hirst, the program's director, said graduates of Corrientes will be bi-vocational Christian workers, meaning they have two full-time careers that are "completely interrelated."

"While studies show a great number of Latin missionaries leave their field of service prematurely, greater attention to placement, individualized training, innovative funding models and Latin-specific member care will enrich the Latin American missionary movement as a whole," Hirst said.

Participants of the program will be guided in personal and professional development in five key areas – biblical, spiritual, languages, vocational and cross-cultural. Training and resources - in the local dialect as well as English and/or French - will be provided through partner organizations including the Southern Baptist International Mission Board, SIM, the Christian & Missionary Alliance, Frontiers, Mission Aviation Fellowship, Latin America Mission, and Global Mapping International, among other groups.

According to Wayne Pederson, president of HCJB Global, Latin American church leaders see the "innovative and essential" role the program could play in the development of the Latin American missionary movement and have been cooperative and supportive of the ministry.

The first Corrientes team – consisting of the Costa Rican doctor, Ecuadorian nurse and Brazilian biochemist – will train at HCJB Global's hospitals in Ecuador, after which they all plan to serve in Africa.

The Spanish word "Corrientes" translates to currents and implies movement, hope and vision for the future, HCJB explained.