On March 22, our dear brother and friend, Luis Sena, went home to be with Jesus. For those of you who knew Luis, you knew the blessing he was — a biblical worldview Kingdom builder, a wise mentor, and a dear friend. As an early pioneer of Edify, he had a profound impact on the work we do. Luis was first associated with Edify when he served as the School Loan Manager for Edify´s lending partner in the Dominican Republic, Esperanza. A couple of years later, in 2013, he came on as a full-time Edify staff member. Luis served in various roles: Leadership Coach to school proprietors, Vice President of Latin America, and Vice President of Mission True.
From a young age, Luis had a deep love of education, and teaching was as natural to Luis as breathing; it was one of his life’s callings. Luis believed that the legacy he would leave to his three children was twofold: love of learning and freedom in Christ. Luis emphasized that “freedom in Christ is the highest leverage point for us to reach our human potential and for the transformation of the social systems we are part of. Freedom in Christ brings the power of the age to come to the present.” Luis believed that bringing Christ’s dominion into every part of society is the role and responsibility of each of His followers. But he didn’t just believe it. He lived it. Here is just one example as told by our VP of Edification and Philanthropy, Scott Rhoades:
Every spring, a group of men in Dallas take a vision trip with Edify. Luis Sena, our VP of Mission True, would join us on these trips to provide biblical worldview content. Luis was invaluable. He would provide a biblical framework that would completely challenge how we thought about the world, our lives, and poverty. If you had the chance to meet Luis and hear him share, you know he could completely challenge your thinking. Not only was he skilled in the knowledge of the Scriptures, but he was a true renaissance man. He loved talking about books, sports, American movies, food, and especially coffee.
In April of 2018, we took a vision trip to see Edify’s work and explore the beautiful country of Guatemala. Luis joined us on this trip. After a day of visiting schools that Edify serves we headed back to Antigua, where we were staying. Antigua has a rich history. Until the mid-18th century, Antigua was the original capital of Central America and is known for its cobblestone streets, fresco-painted buildings, and volcanoes that surround the city.
Once in Antigua, we looked to find a local coffee shop. We found one that had just opened and the owner, Jose, was thrilled to share with our group his passion for his new shop and the coffee he served. He went on, enthusiastically telling us about the origins of the coffee beans and how they made their coffee. The whole time Jose was talking, Luis didn’t say a word. He was sitting on a stool in the middle of the coffee shop enjoying his coffee and listening intently. Once the owner finished, Luis said, “Jose, please come here.” It felt like everyone in the coffee shop stopped to listen to Luis, but bigger than that, it seemed like all of Antigua paused for a moment to listen, too. Jose came over to Luis in the middle of the shop. Luis stood up with his coffee in hand and said, “Jose, if you knew the God who made your coffee and gave you the passion for coffee, as much as you enjoy coffee now, you would enjoy it so much more because you would know the author of the coffee.” Everyone in the coffee shop sat there in silence as we weighed Luis’ words. Honestly, I can’t remember what Jose did or said afterward because our group was letting that moment sink in. It was so clear to Luis that Jose needed to have the right lenses to see his coffee; he wasn’t seeing it and experiencing it fully.
That’s what Luis did. He helped us see the world, ourselves, and coffee with the right lenses, so we could experience God more fully.
Living out a biblical worldview and teaching others to do the same was the most important component of Luis’ personal mission. Over his forty-two years of teaching and work in community development, Luis impacted countless lives. His absence on earth will be deeply felt, but we are grateful for the time we got to spend with him. We are thankful that Luis’ pain caused by cancer is over and that Luis, being someone who loved Jesus and wisdom, is now getting to experience both fully in heaven.