Miguel Morales interviews our new ACLAME Secretary, Rich Ferguson:
1. Tell us about you and your family.
Wanda and I are both missionary kids who have returned to the mission field to fulfill the call God has upon our lives. Wanda was born in Bolivia where her parents, Bruno & Frances Frigoli, served as missionaries. Wanda’s parents also ministered with Life Publishers in Miami and in Peru and Argentina. She graduated from high school in Lima, Peru and attended Southwestern Bible School receiving an A.A. in business and then Evangel College graduating with a B.A. in Sociology. While attending Evangel, she worked in the MK office as secretary and editor of the MK newsletter. Following graduation, she became the bookkeeper at ICI (now Global University) in Fort Worth, TX. I am a third-generation missionary; my grandparents served in Burkina Faso and Togo, West Africa, and my parents, Ed & Faith Ferguson, served in Ghana, The Netherlands, ICI Forth Worth, Japan and Germany. I graduated from high school in The Hague and attended Evangel for 3 semesters. Following my first year of college, I went to a LFTL banquet and received a call to the ministry (specifically into missions). I then transferred and graduated from North Central Bible College. While there, God called me to work with youth and children. Following graduation, I accepted a position as youth pastor at First Assembly of God in Terre Haute, In. Wanda and I have both completed our M.A. degrees at AGTS.
Wanda and I met several times during our growing up years thru the MK program. We attended the same classes at School of Missions at 8 years old and again at 13. We also overlapped 1 semester at Evangel, but we got acquainted again when Wanda went to work at ICI where my father served as the Director of Development. We started dating during my Senior year at NCBC, and after my graduation and my move to Terre Haute, In., I asked Wanda to marry me…she said “yes.” We served as youth pastors in Terre Haute, youth and children’s pastors in Tulsa, and then I served as youth pastor and Wanda as children’s pastor in Bloomington, IN, where we also worked as Chi Alpha campus pastors at Indiana University.
During that time, God had still not showed us where we were to serve at missionaries, but we knew it would be with youth and children. In 1992, we went on a mission trip to Lima and after returning to the US felt God calling us to Peru. We applied for missions in 1994, were approved, and left for language school at the end of 1995. While in Costa Rica, Wanda taught at the Bible School in San José while I concentrated on language learning. We arrived in Peru at the end of 1996 and have served in Peru for 23 years: 4 years as the National Directors of the Ministerio de Jóvenes; 18 years to the present as the Directors of King’s Castle Peru; 15 years as the Director of Comisión del Maestro (CM) Peru. We have also taught in the Seminario Bíblico Andino and numerous Bible institutes. As part of our work with CM we have served as the Director de Estudios for the Instituto Bíblico por Extension for these students. In 2014, we were asked to begin directing Global University Peru and were later asked to also serve as the South America Regional Coordinator for GU. In 2016, Rich and Wanda also began teaching in ISUM in Lima and have taught several classes as well as directing the 2nd Quincena for ISUM Huánuco, Peru.
We have 2 children Paul and Angela. Both were born in Lima: Paul in 1997; Angela in 2002. They have both attended the International Christian School of Lima. Paul currently attends Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fl., and will graduate in My 2002 with a double major in Pre-med Biology and Chemistry. Angela attends ICSL and will graduate in June 2002. She is in the process of applying to universities and feels God is leading her to minister to troubled teens and wants to pursue a degree in Psychology/Christian counseling.
2. Share with us your call to ministry and to missions.
Wanda felt called to be a missionary as a girl, and later felt God wanted her to return to Peru. However, when she met me, because I was a MK to Europe, she felt that we might end up in Europe. I am a 3rd generation missionary with missions going back in my family to 1907. I never opposed being a missionary, but I told God, “if you want me, you are going to have to call me.” Because he didn’t call me, I went to Evangel to study accounting. After my first year, at a LFTL banquet, God called me to missions but did not tell me where he wanted me to go. I asked Him to return to Europe to work with youth, but God made it clear that was not his will. I spent 8 years praying about where to go. In 1992, the Gideons came to our church for a service and gave us brochures with all the countries in the world they were working. I began praying over the different continents and felt God leading us to South America, so I began praying over the countries of South America and felt my heart pulled to 2 countries, one of those was Peru. After our trip to Peru, I knew that was God’s plan. When I told Wanda that I felt God calling us to Peru, her response was, “I know.”
3. When you started in missions did you consider that you would be “training” or “discipling”?
When we started our missionary career, we let churches and people know that our main area of ministry was to reach youth and children with the Gospel, disciple and train them and then to teach others to do the same. We also desired to develop a ministry similar to Master’s Commission in the US that would prepare young people with a call to fulltime ministry. While we were in Costa Rica, we met Rick and Denise Ryan who were developing Disciples in Action with US students, and we thought about trying to cultivate a similar minstry with Peruvian students. As soon as we arrived in Peru, we were asked to serve as the National Director of Jóvenes and as Pastors of Adolescents and Jóvenes at the Evangelistic Center in Lima. We used this ministry to begin making disciples of young people, some of whom are in fulltime ministry today. After just a couple of months of being in Peru, we were also asked to teach at the Bible Institute of the Lima Centro Region. At the beginning of our second term, the AD Peru asked us to serve as the National Directors of Castillo del Rey Perú, and it was during this time that Comisión del Maestro started in Lima. When the founder left in 2004, we assumed the role of director. Over the past 15 years, we have made disciples of the students in CM, developed a 3-year 6-step discipleship plan for adolescents and done innumerable training seminars. We continue to make disciples and train others to also make disciples.
4. When you shared your vision as a new missionary, was it hard for people to grasp that you would be in “training”?”
I believe that in recent years it has been somewhat difficult for churches, pastors and congregations to understand the importance of missionaries’ involvement in the efforts of teaching and training. I think they have a difficulty in connecting the integral part teaching and training play in every missionary effort from working among UPG’s, reaching the lost, planting churches and especially in developing leaders for the national church. In the early years of missions, churches expected missionaries to teach and train, but it seems a belief now exists that missionaries should no longer involve themselves in teaching and that the national churches can fulfill this role.
5. Has your focus changed since you arrived on the field?
Even though our main emphasis is still youth and children, we have shifted from ministering directly to young people on a weekly basis to preparing and training those who minister on a local level. Our main area of missionary work still includes making disciples and teaching young people and pastors who work with children and youth, minister among UPG’s, pastor local churches, go as missionaries, and take up the mantel of educating. Thru ISUM we have been able to have a greater impact on pastors throughout the entire country of Peru and encouraging them to also place a higher emphasis on reaching youth and children and training the workers in their local churches.
6. Do you have any words of encouragement for missionary colleagues that are interested in “training” others?
All missionaries need to understand that the missionary call is make disciples, which is the fulfillment of the Great Commission, “baptizing them…teaching them…to obey everything”. Making disciples occurs in several different ways: reaching the lost, and then training the believers so that eventually they do the ministry themselves (obey). Paul says that we are to “equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:12-13 NIV). Missionaries need to highlight winning those who are lost and then equipping and training the followers of Christ so they can do the work of the ministry. Training needs to be done in the classroom and in the workplace. The classroom is where objectives, principles and strategies are taught, and daily life is where the lessons are put into practice and disciples are made. Discipleship is done thru relationship, training, the obedient response of the disciples, and finally as disciples reproduce and make new disciples.