International Ministries

Then, my life changed dramatically . . .

March 8, 2014 Journal
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News from Ruth Mooney


March 2014


Dear Friends,

Several of you have asked about our new students at UBL. I would like to introduce to you one of them, Herold Ambrocio, from the central part of Perú (la selva). He will tell you the story in his own words.

Together with you in ministry,

Ruth Mooney


"Then, my life changed dramatically . . ."

Herald Ambrocio

My birth was celebrated with great rejoicing: the first boy after 3 girls! A big event in a macho society. My family invited their friends, neighbors, and the workers from my father's coffee plantation for a great banquet.   


But this wonderful life ended abruptly when I was five years old. The Sendero Luminoso guerrilla group threatened my parents with kidnapping all their children to incorporate us into their army. My parents fled with us, leaving behind our house and all our possessions. I didn't understand why we had to walk in silence through the mountains in the icy morning air, why we were not permitted to cry even if we fell down in our hurry, why we had to share one piece of bread amongst everyone, when we had never lacked anything. Our parents gave us all the food they could find, with nothing left for them. My mother, 8 months pregnant, got a job in a kitchen, where she could bring us the leftovers. We lived in fear from both the guerrillas and the army, who arrested and tortured indiscriminately, and many were the nights we slept on the floor as battles raged outside our door.


My father, in his despair, turned to alcohol, and the violence moved into our home. Night after night, the ten of us children would watch helplessly as our father beat up on our mother. Crouched in a corner, we would cry, "Daddy, please stop!" to no effect.   


When I graduated from high school, I enrolled in the Special Command Forces of the army to complete my two year military requirement. I was filled with anger and resentment, and determined to get revenge on the guerrillas who had destroyed my family's life.  


Then, my life changed dramatically: God's mercy embraced me, healed me, and made me a new person for his glory. From that moment on, Jesus is my Lord. I learned the importance of forgiveness, and was reconciled with my father. My mother, who was a believer, rejoiced to see the changes in me.


I wanted to serve God and was eager to study. With no money but trusting in God, I enrolled in a seminary and became a Methodist pastor. But I knew that I needed further study to respond adequately to the tremendous challenges of ministry. My dreams became reality when I was accepted to study at a highly respected university, the Universidad Bíblica Latinoamericana.


One of my greatest blessings is my beloved wife, Geovana, who, with her beautiful smile, causes me to fall in love with her anew every day. As a psychologist, she has offered many insights into my pastoral work. Together we praise God for our daughter, Paula Karissa. I was overwhelmed with God's love when my daughter was born, when I saw her first smile, heard her laughter and her first words and stroked her soft skin. The hardest part of being in Costa Rica is being separated from them.


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International Ministries | Apartado 639-2050 | San Pedro | 11501 | Costa Rica