Juan Manuel and Shawna met briefly in 2009 at a church Community Group night while he was visiting family in Southern California. In January of 2013, through the urging of the Holy Spirit on Juan Manuel’s sister-in-law, Cheryl, they reconnected and fell in love. Shawna moved from Southern California to Quito, Ecuador early that summer and Juan Manuel and Shawna were married in August. God answered their prayers and sent them what He wanted, once they both surrendered. They both desired more than anything else, to be with someone who was in love with Jesus as well as someone to serve beside. God united two hearts together in marriage as best friends and soul mates. God has aligned their passions and gifts to serve “the least of these”…the orphans, widows, poor, hurting, and needy by serving in anyway possible that might show the gospel and let Jesus transform their lives.
ABOUT JUAN MANUEL
I was born and raised in Quito, Ecuador. At the age of 21, I was awarded a scholarship to attend Western Oregon University in the USA. In 2007 I obtained my degree in International Business & Entrepreneurship and came to know CHRIST in my senior year, where my life changed completely. While living and working in Oregon, the LORD led me to be part of Outward Church in Salem where I served as a Missions & Outreach Coordinator and Discipleship Groups Leader.
In 2008 my pastors supported me to lead a missions trip to Ecuador. I also had the privilege to be a Human Trafficking Committee Member and to volunteer at the Oregon Center of Christian Voices. Later, while working in the Aviation Industry, I had the opportunity to work and live in Manaus, Brazil. In the beginning of 2010, GOD led me back to Ecuador where I have served as a Missions Leader in the church and have been called to help with street kids ministries (Casa Gabriel and COVI).
Here in Quito, I also worked as a Human Trafficking Specialist with INFA – a government organization that advocates for Ecuadorian children nationwide. In the beginning of 2010, I joined Compassion Connection to serve full time as a Logistics and Missions Coordinator for short-term missions teams coming from the States. I was trained as an Elder/Pastor and helped plant an Acts 29 church in Quito called “La Fuente”. GOD blessed me to be part of creating Mercy Ministries that reached out to help meet the needs of hurting people. I enjoyed shepherding community groups and sharing the Gospel in discipleship.
In the summer of 2013, I married my princess wife and now as a team we continue serving and spreading the Gospel of CHRIST in my native country.
Check out the video below to see a short testimony and a quick summary of how GOD has led me into full-time ministry:
I was born in Missouri and grew up in the Midwestern part of the United States. I was raised in the ministry as my father was a pastor, so I had the privilege of being a part of church planting, rebuilding churches, serving and seeing souls saved. In 2006, I received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology from Drury University in Springfield, Missouri. In 2006, the Lord laid it on my heart to move to California to be close to one of my four sisters and help her with her family, specifically my precious niece with Down syndrome. In 2009, I earned a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Southern California.
God led me to attend Cornerstone church in Simi Valley, CA soon after I arrived, which God used to teach me how much he wanted a deep and personal relationship with me. I was blessed abundantly by members of the Community Group that displayed God’s amazing love and was honored to facilitate a women’s Bible Study for about a year and a half. After a move to the San Fernando Valley, God led me to attend The Church at Rocky Peak. Here He continued to teach me the life-changing truth of God. I enjoyed being a part of a Life Group and eventually began assisting and co-facilitating as well as shepherding other young ladies in Life Group.
In the past 10 years GOD has allowed me to have a wide range of experiences to teach me more each day He is the only answer and confirm my passion to help the broken and needy and be a vessel for healing. Some of these experiences include serving in Iraq with the US Army to providing counseling for children, adults, and families with severe behavioral, emotional, and mental health disorders at various non-profit organizations and shelters, some of which include the Emergency Shelter at the Boys and Girls Town of Missouri, Child & Family Guidance Center in California, and a Veteran’s Treatment Center for survivors of traumatic experiences from combat or sexual assault.
In 2013, through God’s divine intervention in my life, He sent me my wonderful husband and I moved to Quito, Ecuador. I have the privilege of being a wife and a mother to our 2 year old foster daughter that we are pursuing adoption for. Our daughter has major medical needs so her hospital visits, therapies are much of were my “ministry” lies these days. Before GOD brought us our daughter I served at at For His Children orphanage and at the local women’s prison doing Bible Studies and helping with worship in Quito, Ecuador. For the past year and a half or more I have been privileged with providing Christian Counseling to women, families, and children and that is the bulk of my time in missions now! I continue to study Spanish with the hopes of becoming natively fluent to help me connect more to the hearts of the Ecuadorian people. I look forward more each day to the opportunity to serve my Savior and Redeemer!
If you want to partner with us in GOD´s mission here in Ecuador, we invite you to pray and share with us by contacting us HERE.
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Always in Him,
Juan Manuel & Shawna Landázuri