Bogotá, a city of 7 million people and the capital of Colombia, is the largest economic center of the country and the home to unique and diverse music, art, and culture. For a long time it has had the nickname, “The Athens of South America” because of its high concentration of universities and libraries. Yet in spite of these things, many also know Bogotá as a place plagued by poverty and warfare.
Nestled in the heart of this city, Pastor Libni Gasca and a team of people are obediently responding to be faithful to God’s call. Beginning as a small church plant meeting in Pastor Libni’s living room, leaders prayed fervently and studied their community to identify its most critical needs and how to respond. They began a home for girls who were abused, neglected, and are at high risk for sexual abuse and trafficking. The lives of these girls are literally and tangibly changed as they enter this home, experiencing love, nurturing, and safety for the very first time.
Many of these girls arrive not even being able to read or write but are now making the highest marks out of all the children in their school, causing even their teachers to take notice. The vision is to walk alongside these girls all the way through their graduation from the university. The commitment is not just to their physical well-being, but also to the healing of their emotional trauma and the nurturing of their faith in a powerful God and the unfailing love of Jesus Christ.
This is just one place where the intersection of the city’s need and the hope of Jesus meet together bringing about actual change in the lives of people. It is part of the vision Pastor Libni and the Bogotá church have for reaching a new generation for Christ. Since 1994, Pastor Libni has been pastoring the first Free Methodist Church in Colombia, which now has more than 400 members. It is a vibrant and growing congregation that is making an impact in a highly strategic place in Latin America. Pastor Libni leads a team of extraordinary national leaders with great vision, a sustainable organization, and the anointing of God to see that vision become reality.
The church has a Foundation through which they are able to proactively address the needs they see in their community, including the home for girls. The church also started a small business called the Detail Difference that works in hotels and other businesses in the community. Profits from the business are tithed to the church, go to support the foundation, as well as support the salary of an associate pastor and a lay member of the congregation.
Pastor Libni is a man of faith, prayer, and vision. He is a wise and effective leader who is gifted at developing other leaders. He trained a group of young adults that meets on Friday evenings to pray and then walk the streets to see what opportunities may arise. When they reach the University about nine blocks from the church, they engage students in conversation about faith. Many have come to Christ through their witness and creative outreach.