Lives Transformed

*Real life stories and testimonies by our staff members of how God has changed and transformed their lives*

March 2014

vidas transformadas - marleneName: Marlene Martinez Gacioppo Arreaza
Age: 33 años
Marital status: Married.
Birth place: Metan – Salta.
How long at YWAM: 10 years.
Ministries you are involved: DTS, Administration, maintenance.

1.    Your life before coming into Ywam: I started going to a Christian church at the age of 12. Before that we used to be catholic. The reason we started going to church was that my mother had been struggling against depression. Since that, I wouldn´t just assist to church but also I took an active role, working with children, young people, praise and worship ministry, being part of the plantation of new annexes in other towns, and radio programmes, etc.

2.    How did you started at ywam: I met the Ywam base director, David Olivera, during a conference carried out in my church. He invited me to take the DTS because in spite of serving God, I was going through depression and, so I needed something new from God. Although I served God, I didn´t really know him, and that was what I needed.

3.    How have you seen your life changed since then? I can tell that the DTS marked a turning point in my life. There it was when I started knowing and having a relationship with God in a totally different way. Even more, the following year I was invited to take part of the DTS leadership. Every year I am motivated that others get to know God and live in the freedom that knowing him brings along.

4.    What does it feel like to be a missionary? Serving the Lord id the best thing that could ever happen to a person. After 10 years in the mission, I cannot find greater honor or privilege that being part of the Great Commission. If I had to choose again, I would choose the same without a second thought. I think God is worthy of my best sacrifice and worship. What I have lived during these years is the best of my life.

5.    The experience, as a ywamer, you will never forget… Evangelize the Shuar community and talk to them about God together with an outreach team

6.    Mention something of God´s character that impresses you God Faithful and True

7.    What´s your favorite food? Baked chicken with potatoes and salad

8.    What part of the world would you like to visit? Switzerland

9.    Where do you see yourself five years from now? Serving the Lord with my family and extending God´s kingdom in evey way God guides us to.

10. If you got abandoned in an island and could choose any person to be with you, who would it be and why? My beloved husband and my child that if it was to happen now would be born on the island.

11. Imagine your house is set on fire. All the people and animals are already safe. What would you rescue? If the house gets on fire, there wouldn´t be anything to save

 12. Your personal life motto… I´m not giving God something that costs me nothing. There is a price to be paid and I want to pay it with my life in holiness to God.



1. Name: Johanna Raquel Gutierrez, Age: 23 years-old, Civil Status: single, Time at YWAM: seven years, Ministries: with the Ministry of Missions, with the Transcultural Missions School and the Discipleship Training School, Place of origin: Salta, Argentina.Vidas Transformadas - Johanna Raquel Gutierrez

2. Share what your life was like before coming to YWAM:
I was born into a Christian family, my whole family went to church, but since I was so used to it, I got to a point where I was tired of going so I stopped. Living without God was good at first; all that I wanted it to be. After a while my family started to worry about me and they convinced me to take the DTS. I accepted only because it would get me farther away from my home and from the demands of my family.

3. How did you get to YWAM Corrientes?

Very bitter and wanting to escape; my aunt and uncle had taken their schools with YWAM Chile, and my family wanted to send me there but I was only 17 at the time, so Corrientes was the closest and best choice.

4. How have you seen your life change since then?
Something that has really changed is that I now have a good relationship with my family as God has brought a lot of restoration to that area. My whole lifestyle has changed, I am more organized and focused, I can reach my goals, I know what God’s calling is in my life, and that I have been able to complete (and continue to complete) His dreams. I love the nations and I have had the privilege to travel to various countries like India, Germany, Romania, Columbia, and others.

5. Besides Jesus, who is a role-model for your life and why?
Somebody that has always impacted my life is my dad because even though he has made some bad decisions in his life he continues to persevere and to allow God to transform him. He continues to invest in his children and in his family and I love him very much.

6. Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself here in the base, investing in the ministries that God has given me a heart for.

7. What part of God’s character impacts you?
His faithfulness.

8. Where in the world would you like to travel?
I would love to travel to Australia, Rome and Greece.

9. If you were on an abandoned island and could only choose one person to take with you, who would it be and why?
I would take my best friend, Vivi Gomez.

10. What is your favourite food? I like all kinds of food but I really love the food at McDonalds!

11. What is one of personal slogan for your life?
Investing for eternity….





1.  Name, age, civil status, years in YWAM, YWAM ministry, nationality.

María José Cotera Vives, 19 years-old, single, worked in YWAM for nine months in the ministry of King’s Kids, Rescue (Mercy Ministry) and the Radio.

2. What was your life like before coming to YWAM?

I was a Christian, I went to church, and I worked in the Sunday school. I lived with my parents and my brothers and sisters and worked in my father’s store.

3. How did you come to YWAM Corrientes?

The practical (outreach) phase of my D.T.S.  was here at the base.

4. How have you seen your life change since then?

God has changed so much of my character and taught me how to relate to others in a healthy way. He has also taught me about the diversity of personalities, temperaments and nationalities.

5. Besides Jesus, who is a role-model for your life? Or mention somebody at the base the impacts your life, and why?

David Oliver, the director of the base, because he is a person that is used by God and I can tell that he really trusts God; he is a visionary.

6. Where do you see yourself in five years?

I see myself serving God here in YWAM.

7.  Mention something about God’s character that impresses you.

His love and how just He is.

8. Where in the world would you like to go?

San Francisco

9. What was your funniest moment in YWAM?

Spending time with my roommates and the time shared with friends at the base.

10. What would be your slogan, or a personal quote, for your life?

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. DO not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD for God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9


1.  Name, age, civil status, years in YWAM, YWAM ministry, nationality.

Alejandro Daniel Ponce, I’m 27 years-old, married to Marisel Rojas, I’ve worked in YWAM for six years. I work in the King’s Kids ministry, in the D.T.S. and in Construction; I’m from the city of Moreno, province of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

2. What was your life like before coming to YWAM?

Honestly, my life was a total disaster; I was addicted to drugs, without a future, and thought that I wasn’t worth anything.

3. How did you come to YWAM Corrientes?

I came to YWAM thanks to God and two other people, one was my pastor (Jorge Varlotta) who invited me to a ten day retreat in Buenos Aires, it was there that I accepted Christ in my heart. During that retreat, I met a woman from Chile named Juana and her son Cristian. They both decided to invest in my life and they took care of me. From there, both Juana and I came to Corrientes to do a Discipleship Training School. During the five months of the school, Juana was of so much blessing to me because she took responsibility for all of my expenses, including the payment of the D.T.S.

4. How have you seen your life change since then?

This is something that I am very grateful to God for because even though I didn’t realize a lot of the changes that I went through (because I also had to go through a detoxification because of the drugs in my system) people that have been with me along the way can see perfectly all of the changes in me. They have encouraged me to carry on, to believe that for God, nothing is impossible, to keep my arms up and to believe that the greatest and most believable testimony is that which others have seen God do in you. If you want to see a miracle of God, you only have to see the person that I have become.

5. Besides Jesus, who is a role-model for your life? Or mention somebody at the base the impacts your life, and why?

In YWAM there are so many inspiring role-models: two of those people are a married couple, Norma and Paul. I am very thankful for their lives and for all that they have invested in me.

6. Where do you see yourself in five years?

I see myself serving God in a different location, together with my family.

7.  Mention something about God’s character that impresses you.

His mercy and his grace.

8. Where in the world would you like to go?

The United States, India and Germany

9. What was your funniest moment in YWAM?

There are so many of them, YWAM is a real adventure!

 10. What would be your slogan, or a personal quote, for your life

No reservations, no return, and nothing to regret.



1. Name, age, civil status, number of years in YWAM.
Sarah Simms- 26 years old, married with an 8 month daughter, sixth year as a YWAM staff member.


2. What was your life like before YWAM?
Before coming to YWAM I lived a double life, recognising God when it was convenient but at the same time continuing to do many things which weren’t good for me but pleased me. I lived a life dedicated to myself, where no one else mattered; I didn’t even care about how my decisions affected those around me.


3.      How did you arrive at YWAM Corrientes?
I arrived at YWAM early on in my relationship with the Lord, I Had accepted Him as my Lord and Saviour a couple of months before He started laying it on my heart to come over here and do a DTS, dedicating 6 months of my life to knowing Him and discovering what He wanted me to do with the rest of my life.


4.      How has your life changed since then?
I believe that it was God and not YWAM that produce the changes in my life and in my character (and continues to do so). However, I also believe that God used YWAM and all of the YWAMers here in Corrientes as a tool in producing those changes. YWAM was the necessary means to get me out of my old life and show me how to live only for the Lord.


5.      Beside Jesus, who your role model? Or can you mention anybody from the base that has impacted your life and why?
The people that most impact me at the YWAM North base are the first staff members that have been here this whole time since the beginning, side-by-side with the base directors, working to see everything built from nothing. Those people, who have given their lives to the Lord, believe Him even when they couldn’t see anything, and following His will in order to make the base a more beautiful and blessed place to live and work.


6.      Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years I see myself still working at this base, with a bigger family of course, but perhaps with a more complete vision of everything that God has for my life.


7.      Mention something about God’s character that impacts you.
What most impacts me about God’s character is how detailed He is in every little thing. He never forgets anything, even the things that I forget about. He is always watching over all of my life, my health, my family’s health and I trust that He has all of my prayers written down, waiting to answer them in His time and in His way. His great love amazes me and also that He is so interested in my life while at the same time overseeing the whole big picture of the world. His love is so perfect that He makes everything work together for the good of those of us that love Him.


8.      Where in the world would you like to travel?
I would love to visit Italy or Greece to see the ruins of ancient civilizations. I’m fascinated that they were so advanced while the societies of the Americas were still so simple in their way of life. I would also love to visit Russia because I enjoy hearing the language and learning about their culture as well.


9.     Share with us your funniest YWAM memory.
I think that in the last six years I have made so many great and funny memories and some of them were not so funny in the moment! But I always remember one night that I was making dinner for the DTS with another staff member, also a “gringa”. We were making something so easy: pizza! But the cheese that had been purchased for the pizzas didn’t melt and so it didn’t matter how much cheese we loaded on the pizzas, and for how long we left them in the oven, the cheese never moved, melted or anything! When we took the pizzas out of the oven it looked like it was covered with little black squares. And all we could think about was that everybody was going to say, “It was probably those gringas that don’t even know how to cook something as easy as pizza!!”

10.  Your personal slogan?
CS Lewis, author of many books including the Chronicles of Narnia series once said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that thesun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”


YWAM Corrientes staff members together with Loren and Darlene Cunningham, founders of Youth With a Mission, as well as Alejandro and Martha Rodriguez, national directors of YWAM Argentina.

Comments are closed.