We are very blessed here at Eben-Ezer to have many volunteers from all around the world. While we certainly are co-workers, we also consider ourselves to be family. Our “family” consists of students, volunteers, and their children. This year we have 93 people on campus! We all get the chance every day to get to know each other since we work side by side, but we want all of you to have the opportunity to meet and get to know us, too! We will be introducing you through the blog to our students and staff and we thought it would be fun to first introduce you to our founder and director and his family, the Cardoza's.
The Cardoza Family
I arrived in Bolivia almost 18 years ago and I worked as a teacher and boys Dean at a boarding school in the Amazon jungle. The main objective of that school was, and still is, for young people to know God, surrender to him and learn to serve him. After a time, I served as an administrative member and then as an associate director of the same place. In 2007, I worked for a couple of months during the summer vacation as a translator and editor of audiovisual material for the Advenir channel. In 2009, I moved to a new project and for one year I was the associate director of a children’s home – boarding school. It was there that I met Jenny, a young woman committed and dedicated to service and with a love for God and others that went beyond what I was just beginning to understand. I fell in love with her, and God allowed us to get married at the end of 2010.
Now as a couple, Jenny and I were both serving in the same boarding school where I had started my mission work. After several years of serving there and faced with a growing need for space to accomodate more young people, God showed us the way to open another center and together with Miguel and Tara, we started plans to meet that goal.
God allowed us to dream and showed us that dreams with Him can come true. Eben-Ezer is that dream that God gave us. When we started, the entire property was complete jungle and through the process of transforming the jungle into a fully operational campus, God allowed us to see how He did His work shaping it through our work and the work of many others who He sent to make this a reality. In the same way, He connected us with many others from a distance and with their financial support built what Eben-Ezer is today. Eben-Ezer started only a few years ago and we could fill books describing what God has done and continues to do through simple people that he brings from anywhere in the world to show a different world to hundreds of children, youth and adults who now know what Eben-Ezer means: so far God has helped us.
Jenny and I have two daughters. Jordanna is 11 and Juliana is 9. I serve here at Eben-Ezer as a director, alongside Miguel. Every day God does so much for us and forgives us so much through things and people. He fills us with love and the best we can do is reciprocate that love. There is so much need and so much pain and suffering in this world. What kind of people would we be if we did not do something for those who suffer? God has taken away our pain and suffering and has given us hope. What kind of Christians would we be if we did not cooperate with Him to help others receive which we have already received?
Eighteen years ago, I made a decision, and it was the best decision of my life. As long as God allows me, I will seek to serve Him. For whom much has been forgiven, much will he love.
My wife, Jenny Carolina Figueroa, was born in Bucaramanga, Colombia. She grew up in a home with a fear of God, but without a specific religion. At the age of 16, she gave her live to God through the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and from that age she dedicated her life to volunteer missionary service.
She began her experience in the mission field in Brazil at a missionary training school that she attended for over a year. Since then, she has served in several departments (departments are the equivalent to States in the US) of Bolivia at many different projects. She spent some time serving at a television channel doing cooking shows, radio shows, writing and translation of material. She has also served as a 1st grade teacher, academic director, and surrogate mother of 10 girls at the Familia Feliz orphanage. After getting married, Jenny and I worked together to start a bakery that would provide the boarding school that we were serving at together to become self-supported. We lived and served there together for over 8 years.
Jenny has a very special personality. She has a welcoming charisma and with this unique gift she works as the director of social activities and hospitality at Eben-Ezer. She loves to make people feel welcome, she loves to serve and care for people. She has a special ability to make our volunteers and students feel welcome, special, and loved. One of Jenny’s favorite quotes is found in Hebrews 13:2 and it says, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”.
In addition to this important work, Jenny also works as a general supervisor in the kitchen, which includes making menus, scheduling weekly cooking groups, inventory, and shopping lists. This is no small feat when a kitchen is feeding close to 100 people 3 meals per day! Along with all her responsibilities to the project, Jenny is also a homeschool mom. She educates our daughters and dedicates part of the day to teaching them the basic and essential things in life; mainly for the mission field because she wants and believes that they will finish the work.
From Jenny: “I live a personal experience of REDEMPTION. I live my life grateful to God for so much love that I receive from my Heavenly Father. This is my greatest motivation serve as a volunteer missionary. I simply want to reciprocate this love through what God allows me to do in my work. “We love Him because He first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19.
My biggest motivation in service is to see a life transformed. I love being able to see a redeemed soul, to see a young person or child believe in a Savior and accept Him into their lives. I love seeing a smile on the face of a wounded being, healed and redeemed for the glory and honor of God.
I want the readers to know that I worship and serve a REAL God. An understanding God who always accompanies His children in their lives. For me, God is a present God, a consoling God, a God who forgives and loves…always!”
Every year at Eben-Ezer is busy and full of activities. 2022 was no exception! Click here for a summary of some the mission and outreach opportunities we had during the 2022 school year.
The end of the school year is always bittersweet here at Eben-Ezer. Students and volunteers can look forward to a little rest and time with family during vacation, but it also means that we will be saying goodbye to our graduating students. We grow to love each of our kids and so when it’s time for them to leave and “spread their wings”, as the saying goes, it truly is bittersweet. In 2022, we graduated 4 students. Noel, Yovanna, Emer and Lizeth. All 4 of these young adults have great potential and we know that God has a plan for each one of them. Our prayer is that they will keep their focus on Him and let Him guide their steps.
God Works in Miraculous Ways!
We are so thankful that you are here reading. We pray that you will enjoy learning more about who we are and what we are up to! We want to thank each of you for your interest in getting to know us and for your continued support and encouragement as we continue to serve God and minister to the young people here at the Eben-Ezer project. We couldn’t do it without each of you!