Ignacio & Lauren Ortiz
Location: Machachi, Ecuador
-Soccer clinics T/Th 2-4pm and Saturday’s from 10-11 and 11-1:30 (different age groups)
-Summer soccer camps
-Nacho is the Vice President of the church administration at our local church, he’s part of the pastoral (unpaid) staff in charge of outreach, and he preaches every other month. We use the local church’s facilities for soccer clinics to reach our community.
-Nacho coaches several teams in local tournaments.
-We visit the families of the kids that come to clinics and meet needs as we can. We’ve started several relationships with the parents and have seen God at work in their hearts.
-Annual dental clinics in poor communities
-We have several potential construction projects in renovating the bathroom and classroom facilities at our local church. There is also the need to add a second and third floor to a church plant.
-Lauren is speaking at a women’s conference next weekend at our church and is starting a discipleship program.
Nacho grew up in Machachi, Ecuador. He made a profession of faith when he was nine years old but it wasn’t until after high school that he committed his life to serving the Lord while in a Word of Life summer camp. Nacho went to study at the Word of Life Bible Institute in Argentina in April 2004.
Lauren grew up in Alabama and she made a profession of faith at the age of twelve. She went on her first mission trip to an orphanage in Guatemala the following year where God placed a passion in her heart to serve Him. She continued traveling on domestic and international mission trips and moved to Argentina to study at the Word of Life Bible Institute after graduating from high school.
Nacho and Lauren met in Argentina and eight months later, they began dating. They were both called to serve the Lord full time and began praying about marriage and where the Lord would have them serve. They were married in 2008 and lived in the United States for nine years. Nacho had the opportunity to finish his Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies and then went on to earn his Masters’ degree in Ministry. God provided many opportunities for them to serve in their community in Chattanooga, TN and Nacho was the graduate assistant, assistant coach and then the head coach for the Tennessee Temple University’s men’s soccer team.
When the university merged with another one, Nacho and Lauren began praying about the next step in their ministry. The Lord confirmed His calling on their lives to continue using sports to reach and disciple the people in their community and as they prayed about doing so in Ecuador, their local church introduced them to Dave Gordon and Sport X Change, Intl.
Once they joined the Sport X Change family, Nacho and Lauren began raising support and on July 31, 2017, they moved to Ecuador with their three children and one on the way. They currently serve the community of Machachi, Ecuador (population around 34,000) through a soccer academy Nacho founded through their local church. Nacho holds soccer clinics throughout the week and soccer camps during the summer. During the soccer clinics, Nacho shares a Bible lesson that points to Christ and he’s investing in the lives of the children that attend. The official religion of Ecuador is Catholicism so the children are used to going to catechisms but they learn the Bible stories without being pointed to Christ.
Nacho and Lauren also host teams from the US that help with the soccer ministry, do painting and construction projects in their community, and hold an annual free dental clinic in the poverty stricken neighborhoods.