In Her Own Words: An Interview with April Otero with the International Student Ministry

Linnette: It is my pleasure to introduce you guys to April Otero. April and her husband Joel  just moved to Miami, FL to help launch both a collegiate work and international student ministry.  

April, tell us a bit about yourself and how you came onto Nav staff.

April: I am a pastor's kid and met the Navs in college. It was a unique transition from being a Christian to becoming a Christ Follower. I joined EDGE corps and later married another Nav staffer, Joel Otero. We were with collegiate for five plus years and are now in our sixth year with International Student Ministry. After struggling with infertility we are now extremely blessed with Isaac and Lila Pepin.

What are you like as a mom?  What is your favorite time of the day?

My current sweetest moments from each kid are the giggles upon giggles and squeals of excitement right before nursing.  As a mom, I like structure, routine and adventure. So, a structured day with accomplished routine (like kids actually get their teeth brushed in the morning) and adventures experienced as a family is my delight.  When structure and routine are lost, cooking, loud music, and dancing are a must. If we all are crying then we are on an "adventure" to the thrift store with snacks in hand.

I love that!  What do you enjoy about ISM?

I have enjoyed both collegiate and ISM so much! What I am enjoying now with ISM are the students fresh perspective on the Word. Many of the students from different countries are reading the Bible for the first time and it is a joy to be the one they are reading and discussing it with. Also as a student becomes a follower of Christ we often do overview and help to lay a firm foundation of truth as the students are often eager to share with others and also face opposition and much less fellowship when returning to their home countries.

That would be really challenging.  Are there other challenges (or blessings) you’d like to share with us about working with ISM?

In ISM we try to visit the alumni in their new stage of life, wherever that may be, to continue to walk with them on their spiritual journey. We know the enemy is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour and we do not want that to be one of our students. It has been a joy and a blessing to visit these students as a family because often they have become part of our family. We have more adventures as a  "team" and more "with" discipleship for our children and the students.

That is really neat.  What have you learned being a mommy missionary that you could encourage us with today?

I had been full time with the Navs for about 7 years before becoming a mommy, and I LOVED it. When transitioning to part time and full time mom, I struggled. I loved being a full time mom but missed being a full time "missionary." I have learned so much since then and am still learning so much about balance and contribution. However, the major take away so far is, although I might not be full time on paper and doing all the full time "things" I was doing before, I can still have a full missionary impact. God has been so faithful to maximize my efforts and my moments for His glory. Often not in the way I would choose or measure for success but that is okay and good.

I love that phrase “full missionary impact!”  How can we be praying for you?

We have started a new work at Florida International University in Miami, FL and are in the research/groundwork phase. We have learned that there has never been much success for ministries at this university. Would you pray that God would give us wisdom and creativity as we pray, dream and plan for the international students here? Also, Miami is an expensive place to live so we are working on our funding and also trying to find a home to buy. The home search is proving to be quite competitive. Would you ask God for a home for us and the students who will be in it?

We would love to pray for these things with you, my friend!

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