On May 19, 2021, Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary student Zachary Satorius learned that he’d be serving his vicar year in Medellín, Colombia. Satorius arrived in Medellín in August 2021 and is scheduled to serve there through August 2022. He’ll then finish his final year at the seminary. While in Medellín, Satorius is serving Most Holy Trinity, WELS’ sister church, and working with WELS’ One Latin America missionary team and its online ministry known as Academia Cristo. Learn more about his unique experience as a vicar in an international setting.
How did God prepare you to serve in Colombia?
One way God prepared me for service in Colombia was placing me in different cultures while I was growing up. I lived in Antigua from age 2 to 10, when my family moved to the U.S. That experience at a young age helped me see that there are different ways of doing things and made me more adaptable to situations and cultures. Another way he has prepared me is through various trips I’ve been blessed to be able to take—a five-week study abroad program in Argentina and a year teaching English in Peru.
What does your ministry in Medellín involve?
In Medellín, I preach about twice a month; teach some Bible classes and catechism; assist in administering the sacraments and shut-in visits; and I reach out to people I meet, which is the ministry of every Christian.
With Academia Cristo, I travel with my bishop, Pastor Henry Herrera, to other parts of the country to visit Academia Cristo students who are at milestones in their biblical education and looking to lead a Bible study group in their community.
What lessons have you learned during this vicar year that you will take back to the seminary and into your future ministry?
In both faces of my ministry I have learned the importance of teamwork. Henry Herrera and Tonny Quintero in Medellín work together and rely on each other to do their job. So there’s both trust and accountability. They also have a team of lay leaders and give them opportunities to serve in the congregation. I have learned it is important for a pastor to know he isn’t a one-man show and to make opportunities for members to show fruits of faith.
The One Latin America Team has also been an awesome example of teamwork in ministry. It is clear that they are always trying to use their God-given resources and talents efficiently to impact as many lives as they can with the gospel, and a huge part of it is communication and teamwork.
I have learned humility, a very important trait for a called worker. I’ve learned not to rely too much on what I think I know but always be listening for feedback and learning from it.
I am learning flexibility and the balancing act between letting things happen and making things happen. Certain things take initiative but need to be given space to breathe.
The people here have taught me hospitality. Not only members but people in the street who go out of their way to help and drop what they’re doing to talk to someone.
Is there anything else that you think that WELS members should know?
If you want to visit Colombia, whether you speak Spanish or not, know that you have a family here in Medellín that shares your love for Christ and that will welcome you with open arms, have you over for rice and beans and delicious fried pork, and make you a mean cup of tinto (coffee).
Watch Satorius share more of his experiences in Colombia in this “Together” video update.
Read more about Academia Cristo.
Volume 109, Number 03
Issue: March 2022