My name is Eddy Alemán, I’m currently serving as general secretary of the Reformed Church in America (RCA). My role is to cast a vision for the denomination and to oversee the implementation of its mission.
I was born in Managua, Nicaragua, in February of 1971. Nicaragua had gone through many years of political and civil unrest under the regime of Dictator Anastasio Somoza and his family until they were overthrown by the Sandinista guerrillas in July of 1979. But the new government, under the leadership of the Sandinistas, did not offer any security for the people. Rather, things got a lot worse. The Sandinistas, following their socialist ideas, established a communist form of government that made life miserable for many people. In those years, my parents owned a small clothing business. But because they were not involved in politics and were not supporters of the new Sandinista government, they were not able to get all of the materials needed to run their business. They were forced to get out of business and the family started to struggle a lot to survive.
In 1981, the U.S. government under the leadership of President Ronald Reagan started to support the Contras which was a military movement opposing the Sandinista communist government. This created a lot of political turmoil in the country and made things unbearable for people. It was impossible for people to live in peace under those circumstances. Because they had a small army, the Sandinistas established the obligatory military service starting at age 17. All Nicaraguan males between the ages of 17 and 40 years of age were obliged to serve active duty for two years. At school, I was taught that it was my responsibility to defend my country even to the point of death. Many of my friends died during those years, I still remember going to their funerals and promising to them that I was going to join the army to fight for my country.
In 1987, however, when I was 16 years old, I had to flee the civil war in Nicaragua and moved to Canada as a refugee. After my dad died, in 1983, my mom made every effort to find a better place for me and my siblings. Canada received me with open arms and welcomed me as a refugee. That changed the trajectory of my life and gave me a new perspective and a new opportunity in life. If I hadn’t had that opportunity I would have been dead by now.
As I look back, I give thanks to God because I had the opportunity that many people don’t have. I had the opportunity to start my life all over again in a place that offered me a good opportunity for a better future. In Toronto, I met my wife Daysi, also from Nicaragua, who came to Canada under the same circumstances as me. Last December we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. We have three adult children and three grandchildren.
I’m an ordained minister of Word and Sacrament in the Reformed Church in America. I have served churches in Canada, California, and Michigan. I’m a graduate of Western Theological Seminary, Fresno Pacific University Biblical Seminary, and I’m pursuing a Ph.D. in New Testament Studies from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. God has indeed been good to me, to Him be the glory!