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Jon and Erika Tello

Jon's Story

I was born in Mexico and moved to the United States with my family when I was a young boy. I am grateful to have been raised in Christian home and trusted Christ at an early age. During my last year of high school I lived in Brazil where he I was also able to study art for a year. Upon graduation, I returned to the U.S. to attend college at Moody Bible Institute where I obtained my Bachelor’s in Pastoral Studies. I am an artist and love using my gift in the visual arts as a platform for ministry. During college I participated in a missions trip to Spain, co-led a team of youth to Estonia, joined a team on a pilot art ministry trip the Czech Republic and later led an art ministry trip to Budapest, Hungary.

I married my bride, Erika, in 2005 and we settled in Chicago for the first 6 years of our marriage. I worked for New Balance from 2005-2011 starting as a salesman and eventually acting as head manager in a brand new store.

We moved to northern Italy in January 2012 to serve as full time missionaries. I was the Administrator for the OM Arts School of Mission for almost years, combining my passion for discipleship, love for art, and skills in management to facilitate the program. I also initiated a local arts ministry closely linked with our local church. Our time with OM closed at the end of 2014.

Over the years I’ve developed skills in a multitude of artistic mediums including painting, drawing, photography, pen turning, and graphic design. Some of my art hangs in private collections. You can view my artist website at www.hellotello.net.

We joined TEAM in 2015 and plan to return to Italy to join the Bologna Ministry Initiative in summer 2016.

Our beautiful daughter, Arianna Evelyn, was born in February 2013 and we have a second daughter due in March 2016.

Erika's Story

I was born in Texas, USA and spent most of my growing up years in Ohio. I grew up in a Christian family with a rich heritage in cross-cultural missions. I trusted Christ at a young age. I attended Moody Bible Institute where I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Pre-Counseling.

I married my husband, Jon, in 2005 and we pursued full time missions but sensed God telling us to wait. We settled in Chicago for the first 6 years of our marriage. I worked as the Executive Administrative Assistant for a financial planner for over 4 years. I then obtained a Master’s in Social Work with an emphasis in ‘Children and Families’ and social justice issues. My clinical experience includes provision of support and advocacy for refugee families as well as individual and group therapy for children with complex trauma. I hold a current USA Social Work license for the state of Illinois.

We moved to Italy in 2012 to serve as full time missionaries with Operation Mobilization. I spearheaded the launch of an anti-trafficking ministry in Italy at the end of 2012. The ministry is now known as Alleanza Tesori Raggianti (www.tesoriraggianti.com). I have been the Director for ATR since it’s inception. Our time with OM closed at the end of 2014. We joined TEAM in 2015 and hope to be on the field working full time with the Bologna Ministry Initiative by summer 2016.

Our beautiful daughter was born in 2013 and we have another daughter due in March 2016.

Family:

Jon (husband), Erika (wife), Child: Arianna (daughter, 2013)

Jon's Ministry Focus:

Bologna

I love doing art ministry, which takes two main forms.

First, I create visual and design assets from websites, to event flyers, to evangelistic tracts, to presentations and more. I enjoy assisting our team in its mission to establish reproducing churches by providing these assets that empower them to more effectively impact the communities they serve.

Second, I work directly with the local community. The arts have a way of engaging people, especially Italians, and connecting with them in a unique and powerful way. So, I teach art classes to youth, do live painting at evangelistic outreaches, produce and share my own worshipful art, and facilitate art seminars and workshops at camps and conferences. In these ways I use art as a platform to build relationships and share Christ.

Erika's Ministry Focus:

I am the Founder and Director of Alleanza Tesori Raggianti (www.tesoriraggianti.com), a national alliance of evangelical ministries combating commercial sexual exploitation in Italy. I am honored to oversee the ministry of ATR and manage many of its ongoing projects. I am also able to work locally in Bologna to reach out to prostituted persons as part of Vite Trasformate, an outreach ministry of Nuova Vita Church. Finally, I am spearheading development of a safe house and micro-enterprise restorative care program in Bologna.

The People:

I desire to engage Italians with the gospel using art as the platform. I especially love connecting with artisans in Italy and abroad to build relationships and ultimately share Christ.