NAI leaders Jerry and Barbara Manderfield began as youth pastors in Iowa in 1980. In 1990, the Manderfields felt God’s call to leave home and comfort and move to Colombia with their four young children. They began this adventure in the city of Cali serving as youth pastors in a local church. During their early years in this far-flung South American setting, they experienced numerous robberies and other difficulties. On the very first day of a trip to the city of Medellín to explore another pastoring opportunity in 1994, Jerry’s car was stolen at gunpoint, leaving him, Barbara and their four kids standing there stunned and wondering what was next.
The Manderfield family decided to reevaluate their decision to serve God in Colombia and relocated to the safer Costa Rica. Amidst the confusion of traumatic setbacks, God put an unexpected love for the beautiful Colombian people in the hearts of an ordinary, American ‘gringo’ family from Iowa. That affection only began to burn brighter and more passionately—they couldn’t stay away. So, a year later in 1995, they found themselves back in Medellín, Colombia to once again pursue the call God had given them years before.