Over the last week I had the honor and privilege to interview Uruguay-native and GMI missionary Talo Vergara. The interview was a true joy and I cannot wait to do several more interviews with him before he departs for the field once more. Here is part 1 of the interview:
1. Were you born in the States?
No, I was born in Montevideo, Uruguay.
2. Did you have Christian parents?
I was saved at seven years old. When I was seven, my mom started attending the Bible studies that GMI missionaries Sally and Arnie Selfors were having at their home, and she would take me with her. My brother, my sister, and I, along with my mom, all accepted the Lord about the same time. My Dad came to know the Lord three years later.
3. What first inspired you to become a missionary?
I was in my early 20s and the GMI missionaries had left Montevideo. I had grown up with the idea that a missionary was someone who came from the United States to my country to proclaim the Gospel.
One day, I was searching through the job ads in the local Christian newspaper when I found an advertisement for a 4-month mission course. The course changed my whole perspective and I came to realize that we are all called to do the work of a missionary, not just those who go away to school to become one. After that I spent much of my time sharing the Gospel with my friends. You see, most of Uruguay is either atheistic or agnostic and when I took them to my church the first time, they were bored and disinterested because the missionaries had left and there was not much to do there. I decided to help lead the youth group there and eventually my friends accepted the Lord as their Savior and we started the worship team. Around that time I had been thinking about full-time ministry when my mother told me about Grace Bible College.
4. What was life like in the States?
Life was very lonely in the States. Everyone spent less time relating to one another. In Latin America relationships are very important — here it seemed like everyone was running around and people talked less. I liked that people were where they said they would be when they said they would be there. Even though life was fast paced, it was nice to have people show up on time. The food was ok, but I can eat anything. I had Mexican food for the first time while I was in the States as well.
5. Did you go to Grace for a degree in missions?
No, I went for the BTh in Pastoral Studies because it allowed for the most exposure to the Bible. I feel strongly that we are all to be missionaries where God has us, so I felt that it was more important for me to get as many Bible and Theology classes I could. I am bilingual and I come from Uruguay so I felt as though I would profit more from the pastoral degree that they offered.
I was approached by GMI to do my internship in Bolivia and I was able to intern under now GGF President Frosty Hansen. After my internship, I returned to Bolivia and worked with the youth group there.
I would like to thank Talo Vergara for taking the time to interview and I look forward to posting the next part of this interview!
Grace and Peace,