Pastor Francisco "Paco" Amador grew up in Mexico but came to know the Lord Jesus personally as a recent immigrant while studying high school in North Carolina. When he was 18 years old, Paco came to Chicago to study at the Moody Bible Institute. In 1991 he visited the Little Village neighborhood for the very first time and immediately fell in love with its immigrant feel. After a two-year missionary experience in Spain he came back to Chicago where he worked at the Lawndale Christian Health Center. He also worked as a CPS teacher for 9 years until the summer of 2005 when he was called into full-time ministry to pastor the bilingual New Life congregation in Little Village. Paco & Sylvia have been married since 1995 and have 7 children (the exact number they asked God for before marrying) and a dog (a black lab crazy puppy). They can’t even imagine a better place to live than Little Village.
Matt DeMateo grew up in Northwest Indiana where his father served as a pastor. He attended Moody Bible Institute from 2000-2003 where he graduated with a degree in Evangelism/Discipleship. He met his wife Sarah at Moody and in 2001 they both began serving in the Little Village community with New Life. Over the past 6 years they have been involved with the children’s ministry, after school program La Semilla, and youth ministry. In 2006, God called them to serve full time in Little Village where they spend their time with youth and building relationships in the community alongside Pastor Paco.
Discipleship & Outreach
Chris began to seriously follow the Lord when he was 18 years old and a senior at Palatine High School in Palatine, IL. After a few years at a community college, Chris felt called to understand his new beliefs more deeply and began to study Biblical studies at Trinity International University in Deerfield, IL. In his last year of school, Chris married Krista, and the two felt called to move to Mexico to work in a café student outreach. While in Mexico, Chris and Krista saw how many people were migrating to the U.S. and became convicted to move to Chicago's largest Mexican neighborhood, Little Village, where they have been living, working, and serving with New Life for the last 7 years. Krista is a school teacher in the neighborhood, and Chris has been working with the church. God has blessed the two with 2 sons (Jonathan and Isaac) and a daughter (Hannah). They love living in Little Village and are excited to see God's work grow in their barrio.
Urban Life Skills
Matt grew up in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelors of Nursing degree. Matt came to know the Lord while at college on a mission trip to an orphanage in Mexico. He and his wife, Nicole, moved to Downers Grove, IL, right after they were married so that she could attend graduate school for Physician Assistants. Matt began his nursing career at Loyola Hospital. In the spring of '07, Matt & his wife moved to Little Village where Matt started working at Lawndale Christian Health Center. He quickly got involved with Soul Purpose and then started helping in our church’s Urban Life Skills Program. In September of 2008, Matt quit his job at LCHC to start working full-time with the Urban Life Skills program where he now serves as the Juvenile Justice Director. Nicole now works at LCHC as a Physician Assistant at Farragut H.S. They have also been blessed with three children, Zachary, Jacob, and Emma, and they love living and serving in the Little Village community.
Office Manager / La Semilla
Emily Minnick grew up in Goshen, Indiana. She came to know the Lord personally during her first year at Bluffton University (Ohio) and soon afterwards felt the call to serve in Chicago. She graduated from Bluffton in 2006 with a degree in Special Education and minors in Spanish and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), and then moved back to Goshen where she spent two years working in a community mental health center. In the fall of 2008, the Lord opened the door for Emily to move to Little Village, Chicago, as a participant in Mission Year, an 11-month ministry/discipleship program. Emily continues to live in Little Village and loves “doing life” in this community. She feels blessed to be able to use her administrative gifts in the church office and directing the “La Semilla” After-School Program and Summer Camp.