It all began with the salvation of a family and their determination to spread the word of God in their community. This is the story behind the Xenos teachings being translated into the Spanish language.
Originally from Santiago, Chile, and while attending The Ohio State University in the early nineties, Gino Casassa and his wife, Marie Claude received Christ. When Gino finished his PhD, the couple and their four children moved back to Chile. They were advised to look for a church that taught sound doctrine in Patagonia, their new home. As they looked for a good fit, Marie began teaching Sunday School at the churches they investigated.
When leaving Columbus, Marie grabbed a large stack of teaching outlines by Gary DeLashmutt. To design teachings for the Sunday School and for her friends in the new church, Marie translated these outlines into Spanish. Soon, she began holding Bible studies in her home and used the translated outlines.
These house Bible studies operated as a means to reach out to non-believing neighbors and friends. They used the Bible study as a gateway for people to attend their church. The leadership of the church tried to step in to their small church model and as a result the groups would disband. Instead of creating disunity, the Casassa’s decided to find a church that would support the evangelistic effort behind their house Bible studies. Throughout this period of time, Marie began to feel called to a city north of Patagonia called Valdivia.
In the early 2000’s Gino got a job offer in Valdivia that would allow him to make enough income that Marie would not have to work. Instead she could concentrate solely on leading a Bible study. It was truly an answered prayer. After joining a Lutheran church in Valdivia for a while, the Casassa’s, with the blessing of their senior pastor, decided to leave and start a home church. Valdivia is a college town and Marie’s oldest daughter, Maylis, had begun to attend university there. With Maylis’ evangelism and Marie’s church-planting drive, the Casassa’s church began to flourish and the need for more materials in Spanish increased.
In 2009, the Casassa’s son, Etienne moved to Columbus to join Xenos’ college ministry. Here he began to help his mother translate teachings. The project gained a lot of support and interest and now includes twelve translated teaching series. The growth of the Chilean church has created an additional need for equipping materials in Spanish. Currently Etienne, Marie and her son-in-law Hans Krarup all work to provide these materials. They have been translating Dennis McCallum’s book Organic Discipleship, and although this project is an ambitious endeavor, they believe that it will be instrumental in growing the church in Chile.
Within the past year, the church in Valdivia has grown and planted into two groups. Gino and Marie have moved back to Santiago with the intent of starting another home church. Although the Chilean culture fights against an “everyman model of ministry,” the Casassa team is determined to spread the gospel and raise up indigenous leaders trusting that God will provide the means to do so.