By Engage on Jan 16, 2012
Carlos and Robin Radziszewski (Radi for short) serve in Argentina, in the South America Region, and work for the Southern Cone Field Office specifically for the countries of Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. They took this most recent assignment three years ago. Before that, Carlos worked as the regional evangelism coordinator for the South America Region.
Robin recently (just this year) took the assignment of working with the field office. Before that, she worked as the former South America Region's Sunday School and Discipleship coordinator.
Carlos is the multi-ministry coordinator for Argentina. He is also the Work & Witness coordinator for Argentina and Chile. Robin is the assistant to the Work & Witness coordinator in Argentina and Chile as well as the Sunday School and Discipleship coordinator for the Southern Cone Field.
Previously they’ve held various positions in the Mesoamerica Region, including Work & Witness hurricane relief coordinators, Dominican Republic (1999-2001); General Assembly World Mission Booth (2001); regional missions and mobilization coordinators, Guatemala (2002-2004); General Assembly World Mission Booth (2005).
In the South American Region mobilization, they have also served as evangelism and Sunday school coordinators, Argentina (2005-2011).
They have three daughters: Nicol (10), Natali (8), and Natasha (6).
Engage: What is your favorite aspect of what you do in your present assignment?
Radi: We enjoy investing, motivating and seeing the growth in local churches around Argentina. It is encouraging to see young pastors and superintendents passionate about reaching their society for Christ. One of the largest churches in Argentina -- Nuevo Alberdi, with a membership of 700 people -- recently purchased a piece of land and are in the initial planning for a church building for 6,000 people. This type vision is vital to growth in this country.
Engage: What are some of the challenges that you face in carrying out your work?
Radi: The Argentine church is praying for revival like never before. The church here is seeking examples of healthy churches with substantial growth that we can emulate in this context. We have many churches all over the country, and we want our members to continue to grow strong and mature in their faith, so that rough times and difficulties do not discourage them too easily.
Another difficulty is establishing the church as a vital community center instead of a religious center only. The evangelical church in Argentina is still met with social persecution. Since most Argentines are nominally religious, it is difficult to teach new Christians that their relationship with Christ should affect every area of their life, not just special occasions. Argentina longs for large churches that provide stability and a good reputation to their community.
Engage: How did you first recognize God’s call to be involved in missions?
Radi: Both Carlos and my call is to full-time ministry. He has simply led us in the area of cross-cultural ministry. Yet we are open to whatever ministry God would have for us.
Engage: Please share a story of a significant event or moment that has happened in your current assignment.
Radi: In our local church, we have seen lives transformed in significant ways. One of the teenagers in our church, Esteban, recommitted his life to the Lord after having strayed when his mother suddenly passed away. His bitterness had distanced him from the Lord, and each one of his four older siblings experienced some type of deep crisis after their mother´s death. Esteban´s faithful attendance and ministry in the music group began to bring healing and restoration to his family. Today, every single one of his siblings and their numerous family is back in church and in ministry. The joke around the church is, that if the Lezcano family comes to an activity, there are enough people to fill the church.
Another incredible story is one of Miriam. Two years ago she was run over by a public bus and was told she could never walk again. One of her colleagues is a member of a Nazarene church. She lifted Miriam up in prayer in her home cell group and at church. The pastor visited Miriam in the hospital and prayed for her. By the time she was miraculously walking again, she was diagnosed with cancer. She began seeking the Lord and started attending the church. Many Sundays in the bitter cold winter she would come to church completely bald due to the chemotherapy. Yet she would praise the Lord as she claimed His healing. Today, Miriam is cancer free! She was baptized last Sunday and is a testimony of the grace and beauty God brings into the lives of others through His church.
Engage: How do you maintain a close relationship with God and your family in the midst of the demands of missionary service?
Radi: Our local church ministry is our anchor. We pastor a growing church in Buenos Aires, and have found that this connection with grass roots has strengthened our relationship with the Lord. As we disciple people on a weekly basis, we are forced to depend on the Lord. We cannot give what we do not have. So our daily walk with the Lord has become more vital than ever before.
Our local church has also been a source of family connection. Our daughters view the church as THEIR church and they feel included in the ministry there. Our weekends are a time when we minister together as a family, which is not the case during the week when our girls are in school.
Engage: What are the rewards of what you do?
Radi: The most significant rewards are seeing the process of transformation that God does in lives and in churches. We love returning to a growing church and seeing it doubled in size; or witnessing the life of an addict becoming totally liberated of his addiction.
It has also been incredible to be able to produce some of the materials and programs we have been involved with over the years. There are many to mention, but most recently I got to write and produce a TV series for pre-teens called Industria X. I am thrilled to see what God did through that time and am anxious to see what He does with the show. You can check it out on www.industriaxtv.com I never thought I would be able to produce a TV show! God has an interesting way of using us in unexpected ways!
Engage: What are some aspects of the culture where you live that you have come to love or embrace?
Radi: We love drinking mate with the people. Beyond being a drink, it is a cultural and social experience. We also love the World Cup Futbol (soccer) games and the crazy fan spirit. The people are warm and hospitable, yet simple and uncomplicated in their cultural etiquette. Argentines tend to be very gregarious yet private when it comes to themselves. Most have a natural tendency for leadership that is wonderfully refreshing. They are open to all sorts of dialogue about many topics, even if they disagree with you. And they have a great capacity of accepting friendships outside of their comfort zone, social economic class or generational gaps.
Engage: What do you like to do for fun?
Radi: During our free times, we like to go out to eat, go to a children´s park or a picnic for fun. We like spending time with Carlos´ family, or with friends. The girls love playing on their Wii and enjoy being part of the choreography team at church.
Carlos and I love to escape every once in a while and see a theatre show or a concert in Buenos Aires, or go to Starbucks, or eat out in one of our favorite restaurants. Our favorite show is Les Lutiers (a musical comedy team).
Engage: What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
Radi: Carlos is an Argentine and Italian citizen. My girls are citizens from Argentina and U.S. and working on the Italian. I am a U.S. citizen born abroad in Peru. We are an international embassy nightmare.
- I am a cake decorator.
- I am learning to play the guitar.
- He is a history buff. Ask him any date or about any war around the world and he will probably have an answer about it.
- He loves maps and atlases.
Engage: What advice would you have for others exploring a possible call to missions, or embarking on their first missionary assignment?
Radi: Always go to another country with a student mentality. As a missionary, you have much less to teach and much more to learn. Go out on a limb and try new things -- not just food -- try to talk even when you make mistakes- try new ministries -- try a new way of looking at the world. Always remember you are a guest in this country. They have managed without you for hundreds of years. You may not understand why they do what they do. It is not your job to change what they do -- it is your job to understand why they do what they do. Your ministry will be much better when you understand them.