God plants us in a certain place and asks us to be faithful there.” Major Enrique Azuaje
When encountering obstacles, Majors Enrique P. and Nancy J. Azuaje incorporate innovative ideas to grow a ministry and impact a community.
Majors Enrique and Nancy are native to the South American country of Venezuela. In 2001, the Azuaje family immigrated to the United States when Enrique received a full scholarship to attend Northern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois.
The same year, they learned about The Salvation Army through its social services programs when Nancy and Enrique needed winter clothes for the entire family. At the Oakbrook Terrace, IL Corps, they received vouchers for clothing. Enrique and Nancy went back to the corps with sincere gratitude to offer thanks and recognized it was a church. They met with the corps officer, who invited them to a Sunday service. They attended services and became permanent fixtures in The Salvation Army.
The Azuajes experienced immigration challenges after the tragedy of 9/11.
Losing their visas, the Army sent them back to Venezuela with a plan. They would plant a corps. The corps began with only twenty senior citizens and grew to eighty people after only four months. Enrique and Nancy incorporated a youth ministry at a children’s home and a physically challenged ministry. They were successful in spreading God’s love.
By 2002, the Azuajes were back in the United States attending the College for Officer Training in Chicago. Two years later, they were commissioned as captains and received their first appointment. At the Cicero (Templo Laramie), IL Corps, they set about connecting with the predominantly Latino neighborhood.
Captains Enrique and Nancy used innovative approaches to reach the community. They held open-air meetings in the parking lot, and they set up a “First Aid Prayer Station” to engage the community by offering lemonade and spiritual guidance. The captains were creative in their work; they visited laundromats and paid for customers washing and drying machines to engage the community. Their efforts grew the Cicero (Templo Laramie) Corps by a few new families.
In 2007, Captains Nancy and Enrique noticed some of those seeking social services assistance were English speakers. They began offering services in English, an addition that grew the corps. They were so successful in planting corps that in 2008 the Captains opened a Hispanic outpost, defined as “a locality in which Army work is carried on from time to time and which it is hoped will eventually develop into a corps.” Located in Hanover Park, IL. the outpost called The Bridge grew to fifty-five members in just over four months.
Captains Azuaje served at the Cicero (Templo Laramie) Corps for seven years. They were then appointed to the Central Territory Headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Illinois as the divisional youth secretaries, the territorial multicultural secretaries, and then served in the Southern Territory as area commanders in Miami, Florida.
In 2020, the Majors Azuaje returned to the Central Territory to serve in the Metropolitan Division with Major Enrique as the general secretary and city coordinator and Major Nancy as the adult ministries coordinator, and the women’s ministries secretary.
Majors Enrique and Nancy exhibit their love for community and God in all things they do. Major Enrique said, “We are grateful to God for our community impact. If believing in the prophecy given to you, new paths will open.”