Jon & Jerilyn Sousa
- Our Local
- Our Reach
- Our Self
Jon and Jerilyn Sousa serve in Willamette Valley, Oregon, an area comprised of small towns surrounded by farmland and woods. Many residents of this area are Mexican immigrants who have come to the United States to escape poverty south of the border. They live in fear of being embarrassed or not fitting in, resulting in a real struggle with peer pressure.
The majority of the people in this area have a Catholic background, though generally by tradition and not active practice. This religious background results in the primary belief that the saints can help but also punish an individual, resulting in a life of fear.
Immigrants experience many needs when coming to a new country. Adjusting to life in the United States is not always easy, and they often need assistance with translating documents and finding housing, schools, and employment. Spiritually, these residents need an understanding of the love and redemption found in the gospel message, a stark difference from the fear they feel regarding the saints.
After seeing the need in their community, the Sousas began several ministries to serve Spanish-speaking immigrants in the Willamette Valley. Since 1993, they have planted two Spanish-speaking churches (in Jefferson and Salem), and are still active in ministry there. Jon and Jerilyn make themselves available to help the community with translating and interpreting needs, befriending people in order to build up trust and share Jesus as opportunities arise.
Jon and Jerilyn also lead two major outreaches each year. The first is on Good Friday, and involves serving a home-cooked meal, leading a worship service, and then providing time for fellowship through basketball and soccer games. The second is the Carne Asada outreach, which is an attempt to get visitors to come to a regular church service in June. After the service, there is a time of fellowship, games, and food.
In addition to these outreaches, Jon and Jerilyn are involved in evangelistic home Bible studies in their community. The main emphasis of the studies is to teach a Bible story so well that everyone can retell the story later. Focusing on the overarching story of redemption, each study provides a foundation for nonbelievers to understand the gospel message and put their trust in Jesus.
The Sousas have served as InFaith field staff since 1986. They first served as church missionaries in a small, rural area, and transitioned to cross-cultural ministry in 1993.
Jon and Jerilyn were married in 1976. They met at Biola University, where Jon was studying Bible and Christian Education and Jerilyn was studying nursing. They have four grown children who are serving the Lord in different capacities, and seven grandchildren. Jon enjoys fishing, biking, swimming and racquetball, while Jerilyn enjoys reading and spending time with family.