1. Garrido, Gladys Altamirano

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Nurses Christian Fellowship work began in Latin America more than 30 years ago and has a remarkable history! The work was started by Gaye Mercier, an Anglican missionary, who worked in Peru. Thanks to the intense efforts of Gaye and the support of Chilean missionary, Marilyn Greeves, work spread to Ecuador and later to Colombia, Argentina, and Chile. We call our NCF movement the Board of International Confraternity of Christian Nurses of Latin America (CIDEC-AL). CIDEC-AL has national groups of Christian nurses in Argentina, Colombia, Chile, and Cuba; with networks in Peru, Uruguay, Bolivia, Mexico, Venezuela, Paraguay, and Costa Rica. CIDEC-AL is proud to have organized and celebrated the Nurses Christian Fellowship International (NCFI) Quadrennial Congress in Chile in 2012. Prior to the World Congress, we celebrated our regional Latin American conference, where we had the highest attendance of participants of all the regional conferences to date. There have been 10 regional conferences over the past 30 years.


An amazing event is that Cuba has become a member country of CIDEC-AL and NCFI! Our Cuban colleague, Dargelia Oquendo Abreu, has led the group in Cuba for some years. In 2014, Dargelia was searching the Internet for an organization that could bring nurses together around Christ, and she found information about the Regional NCFI Conference in Ecuador. She wrote to Alicia Yanez, and we quickly contacted Dargelia and planned for a visit. Ana Mabel (from Argentina) and I arrived for the first time on the beautiful island of Cuba in March 2015. We met in the halls of the Upper Aposento Baptist Temple, holding meetings with Christian nurses, as well as the pastor and his family, the church choir, and several volunteers. We presented the Constitution and the strategic plans for NCFI in Latin America. In 2016, we received Cuba as a member of CIDEC-AL, and in 2017, they were officially accepted as a member of NCFI.


Currently, two groups are organized in Cuba, one in Havana and one in Camaguey. They work with great enthusiasm to reach other nurses on the island. They have celebrated three national conferences and one spiritual care workshop. The group arranges monthly meetings, where they invite professionals to speak about healthcare topics and the gospel. They plan to start an open community center for seniors, where they can serve food and take care of older people, as some seniors have nutritional deficits. Our Latin American NCFI organization, CIDEC-AL, has been present at all three national conferences in Cuba, and we invited Dargelia to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the NCF movement in Chile, known as the Association of Christian Nurses and Midwives of Chile (ACEMACH).


Recently, CIDEC-AL was contacted by nurses in Costa Rica. We are organizing ways to support Costa Rica and provide information about NCFI and Latin American work. Our aim is to help the nurses in Costa Rica organize a local group of Christian nurses and start a ministry. It is a great challenge, but God knows what his children are capable of, and in his name and with his blessing, we will begin the task in that country of Central America.


Many women have faithfully continued serving among Christian nurses and midwives in Latin America including: Eunice Siccardi and Ana Mabel Hulet in Argentina; Grace de Morillo and Carmen Zambrano in Colombia; and the Alegria Group in Ecuador, with its leaders Iralda Benitez and Ligia Romero. Alicia Yanez, Margarita Riquelme, and Adalia Mora have worked in Chile, and Epifania Cotos in Peru. With a lot of effort and commitment, they have managed to train and build the work in these countries.


Please pray for CIDEC-AL and its board of directors. Pray for the spiritual growth and influence of nurses in Cuba and Costa Rica. Pray that a large group of Christian nurses can be organized in Costa Rica and that we, in CIDEC-AL, stay open to the range of possibilities to reach out to other countries.