I spent my childhood and adolescence in the Colombian countryside of Antioquia Bajo Cauca, an area that’s been hit hard by years of armed conflict with leftist guerrillas and more recently by criminal gangs. I was born into a Christian household. When I was seven, my parents began to shepherd the only Christian church in the small town where I grew up.
Watching my parents work so passionately in the ministry produced in me a strong desire to serve the Lord. This desire began to take a tangible form as I assumed responsibility in the church, working with the children and later with the youth of the church. I soon realized I wanted to carry out my ministry in the most efficient manner possible.
So in 2009, when I turned 18, I joined my twin brother for two years attending the Center for Biblical Studies in the village of Córdoba. I found the practical ministry on weekends of supporting pastors and churches in the villages of the region, to be an enriching experience that helped me grow spiritually and as a minister. In 2012, I took an interim appointment at a church that had been without a pastor and was going through a very difficult time. This experience was one of the most significant experiences of my life, leading to deepening faith and further growth in ministry skills and the formation of my character.
This and other mission experiences showed me the great need I had to be better prepared. So my wife and I decided to move to the city of Medellín to study at BSC. As part of my practicum I have served in several capacities at New Life Church in Medellín, providing discipleship training for small groups, helping with preaching, working with the youth pastor to plan and participate in youth events and more recently, spending two hours each Sunday discipling a group of newer believers.
I’ve grown through my courses at BSC. In Introduction to the New Testament we learned about the geopolitical context in which the New Testament was written and now I understand better how the message of the Bible did not occur in a vacuum – it was influenced by political, religious, social, and economic factors. I see how important it is that we take these factors into account so our teaching of the gospel message is more effective. Our Systematic Theology class challenged me to face the fact that we live in a world that questions the existence of God and the Bible as absolute truth. I had to think through how to respond to the way the world thinks about God and His Word. Now in my 6th semester, I am learning in Church History about the Protestant Reformation – why it happened and how it remains relevant for today.
After I graduate my first priority is to return to Córdoba and support the pastor of the church where I served. I also want to support the training of pastors and leaders in the region, for many of the them haven’t had much opportunity to train biblically and theologically.
I am married to Soady Causil Rodríguez, and we have an infant daughter. Soady is serving a foundation that trains teachers of children in the Caribbean region of Colombia. She’s also studying at BSC’s Bible Institute certificate program, and I thank God for this opportunity.
I remind myself of Hebrews 6:10: “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”
Andrés Steban Villadiego
Biblical Seminary of Colombia