Over a span of 8 days in December 2005, a team of Optimizaré instructors had the opportunity to share the gospel with 2,500 Paraguayan leaders in the capital city of Asuncion.
They held an additional meeting with 600 top ranking police officers, with the help of National Police sub-commander Nestor Alveranga Morales and his assistant, who are both Christians. Of these, 400 indicated decisions to accept Christ.
Optimizaré, or Maximizers, is a pre-evangelistic tool developed by Cru in Bolivia to target the influencers and core leaders of society with Christ-centered training skills.
Jose Luis Eduardo, executive assistant in South America, contends, "We have discovered that this is a very powerful tool to get to the leadership in our countries. It has opened up a lot of doors among social leaders and businessmen and political leaders."
These leaders are intrigued when Cru staff members approach them with the opportunity to excel among their elite peers. Many, Eduardo says, have become Christians after going through the Optimizaré course.
By reaching the political and social leaders, staff members have access to those who wield tremendous influence in society. If they commit to being servants of the Lord, these leaders command unique opportunities not only to witness to others, but to transform their nations.
Paraguayan President Nicanor Duarte Frutos and his wife, both believers, often encourage other government officials to take the Optimizaré course. As a committed Christian, President Frutos has demonstrated his willingness to stand up for his beliefs, unpopular though they may be.
While the Optimizaré team was in Asuncion, the President and his family received criticism for not attending the national celebration of the virgin patroness of Paraguay, a popular festivity that receives an attendance of 2.5 to 4 million people a year. Despite the risk of losing political support, the president and first lady refused to go, deeming it a "completely pagan festival."
Despite a storm of media frenzy, God calmed the uproar through 2 new ministers of state who also professed faith in Christ and fully endorsed the president's decision. Such uncompromising faith, as demonstrated by President Frutos and his ministers, proves an encouragement to Optimizaré team members, who know that this is the type of leader that can truly generate change in society.
As a result of these and other Optimizaré events throughout Latin America, that October thousands amassed at EXPOLIDER, the largest-ever gathering of continental leaders. There, 5 national and 12 international speakers had the opportunity to share life-changing leadership strategies, as well as the gospel with an estimated 200,000 Latin American leaders.