Poverty and despair were stealing away the dreams of the children of El Salvador. Hopelessness leached the spirit of every youngster like a disease. For American-born , Chilean-raised Pastor John Bueno and his wife Lois, seeing the children who lived near their church slowly sucked dry of all self-esteem or hope was heart-rending. It moved them to action.
In 1963, despite the very limited resources of their church, Centro Evangelístico in San Salvador, the missionaries were led to open a small school, combining education with Christian values. This eventually was expanded to include high school and night school.
When Pastor Bueno first shared this plan with the members of Centro Evangelístico, there was little hesitation in the response. Even though, at that time, few members of the congregation owned their own homes and scarcely any had vehicles to drive, they gave from their hearts, and the buildings were built.
This was the genesis of what was to become Latin America ChildCare, built on a vision given by God to one man, and the sacrifice of a single congregation.
God was beginning a miracle.
By 1978, God had called missionaries Doug and Myrna Petersen to service as well, and they began to develop the international focus of LACC. Under their faithful leadership, the successful pattern that had been established in El Salvador was implemented over and over, throughout Latin America.
The plan was two-fold: establishing new churches and schools in slum areas of Latin America cities, and recruiting sponsors for the children.
The gifts of each sponsor would provide a Christian education and things like food, medical care and, in some cases, uniforms for the individual children.
Over the years, God has perfected the first plan into a proven, effective formula of evangelism and education that gives needy children hope. Today, LACC serves nearly 100,000 children in 300 schools and projects in 21 countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
Phil & Lori Schmidt serve as President & Executive Director for Latin America ChildCare.
Phil & Lori have been appointed missionaries with the Assemblies of God since 1991. They began their missionary career in Costa Rica where they served for 8 years in a variety of ministries including serving as national coordinators for LACC as well as regional coordinators for the ministry in Central America.
In 2000, the Schmidt’s moved to Guadalajara, Mexico to develop the ministry of LACC in the largest Spanish-speaking nation in the world. Soon after moving to Mexico, they also became regional coordinators for the Caribbean region as well as directing the ministry on the national level in Mexico.
Phil began serving as President & Executive Director for the entire ministry of Latin America ChildCare in all 21 countries as well as representing the ministry in the United States in March 2010.
Executive Leadership Team
Rod & Sherry have served as Country Coordinators for Latin America ChildCare in Panama since 1995 where they assist 28 Assemblies of God Christian schools in the country. They also serve as LACC Regional Coordinators for the seven Central American countries. Rod has also served as chairman of the Data System Commission that provides support to LACC sponsorship ministry in the 20 Latin America and Caribbean countries we serve.
Mike & Dodey are the Country Coordinators for Latin America ChildCare in Chile for 7 Assemblies of God schools. Mike also oversees the construction off all new projects in Chile. They also serve as the LACC Regional Coordinators for the 9 countries of South America.
Research & Development Program Coordinator
Mary Kathleen Mahon has joyfully served as a missionary with Latin America ChildCare for 20 years. As Coordinator of Research and Program Development for LACC her vision is to develop research based programs that equip poor children in the LACC schools to overcome the unique challenges that they face. Mary has recently completed coursework toward a Ph.D. in Intercultural Education. Her field research focuses on the spirituality and resiliency of poor children in the program of Latin America ChildCare. Mary lives in Costa Rica where she uses her gift of teaching to empower Costa Ricans – teachers and students alike – to fulfill God’s purpose for their lives.