“I don’t want it to be me, but the Spirit of God speaking to others’ lives, claiming them, calling them out, and calling them forth in service for His work. Something I feel I need to do is speak the Word of God with my mouth, and I don’t want that to be me, but God Himself speaking. God should be the one calling them. I pray that God would beguile them to Himself and do His ministry and His work. I just want to be a useful instrument in God’s hands.”
That’s the heart of Nikol Calderon, a 40/40 Church Planter missionary in Ambato, Ecuador. She came out of a city only an hour away from the place she spent two years planting a church. She pushed pause on the plans she had for her life to respond to the call God placed on her life, raised funds to do the mission work, and left the security of her family behind. The result has been a complete change of trajectory on her life.
If you ever have the chance to meet Nikol, you would be struck by several things. First, she’s gorgeous. You see her and you think, this girl could be an Incan princess, not just because of her looks, but because she’s also full of grace. Second, she laughs a lot. There’s hardly a moment when things are not serious that she doesn’t have a smile on her face, or she shoots her hand to her mouth to stifle a laugh. Third, she’s so strong. It’s oddly paradoxical. You can feel the softness around the edges of her spirit, but it’s as if the center of it is hard as a rock. When she speaks her voice is smooth as silk, but her words are packed with significance. It’s probable that strength has always been there, but working as a missionary has brought it closer to the surface.
Nikol’s contract as a 40/40 is ending in February, but she’s decided to take a new position within Extreme as a Mobilizer, that is, a recruiter. That’s what she was referring to when she said she doesn’t want the words she speaks to be her own. She’ll be traveling around Ecuador speaking in different churches about Extreme’s vision, spreading the seed of God’s call to young adults that have a call in their hearts, just as she did. Her goal is to find young adults to be missionaries in Ecuador. “I am so excited to show that we can have missionaries in Latin America,’ she shares, ‘and that the church can send missionaries and it can give of its resources. I feel the need to show that we should not simply depend on other developed countries, but that our dependence is in God and that it is more blessed to give than to receive.”
This new job has not been the easiest decision for Nikol to make. “One of the most difficult challenges for me has been living independently and starting a new job in a new city. I left my home and family when I came here to Extreme and became a part of a new family. Now, God is giving me a new opportunity to learn how to be more independent.” If you’re familiar with South American living, it’s a big deal for an 18 year old to leave home. It’s a strong piece of culture in the U.S., but for Nikol, even in her 20s, living independently is out of her comfort zone. “This is a challenge that I want to take on. At first, I was afraid of making decisions alone, paying for things alone, spending money alone, etc. But, I realize it’s an adventure and this is going to prepare me for something bigger in the future.”
We believe God has great things planned for Nikol. She’s already learned so much from her two years on the field. When we asked her to share what she’s learned her answer was inspiring and convicting: “I have learned to practice what Christ did, I mean, how He discipled His 12, right? I’ve learned how it can work practically. Like, it says in the Great Commission “go and make disciples”; it doesn’t say, “go and evangelize” or “go and just pray for the people.” It says “make disciples” and that means, “talk about God, pray for the people, and follow-up with them.” We don’t bring children into the world just to abandon them, right? That doesn’t make any sense! The same is true with spiritual children. We should carry on a relationship with them, pray for them, and walk with them. This is what Jesus does with us every day and is what I have learned to do in Ambato.”
Please help us support Nikol in prayer. She’s taking on this new job that is counter-cultural in part that she will be living on her own and raising support. Here are some other ways you can be praying, “I ask that you’d pray that the Holy Spirit would be manifested more in my life and that He would be putting a longing for God in me. I don’t want to lose that for anything in the world. If you could also be praying that I would see fruit in this ministry. I want to be responsible and useful in the hands of God. Also, pray that God would be taking away any fear that would come into my life and that I can take a hold of the blessings that God gives me and to do the best with them, the best that is guided by God.”
Visit Nikol’s support page to partner with her work in Mobilization.