Salem pastor started at a young age – Empty Nest by Curt Swarm


Diego knew he was on the right path, that God had spoken to him. Coming from Bolivia, speaking no English, and working on his ministry certification in the United States, he struggled desperately. He spoke Aymaran, a native language of the Andes, and had learned Spanish. He sat in the dining hall, people talking to him, but he couldn’t understand a word they said. He prayed, “God you brought me here, help me learn the language.
He was mopping the floor and someone started talking to him in English. Diego understood what the person was saying and was able to respond in English. The man said, “Diego, you know English!” That was confirmation for Diego Chuyma (pronounced “chewy-ma”) that he was on the right path.
His early childhood and teen years in Bolivia are filled with incredible stories of being asked to pastor churches when he had no training and very little education, but was filled by the love of Jesus Christ.
He went to the United States to study ministry. With no money, his education was funded by scholarships, work-study programs, and anonymous donations coming through at the last minute. God was directing him.
After receiving his Master in Divinity and Doctor of Ministry, Diego returned to Bolivia to start a church. One of the messages he preached to the people was, “God heals.”
A visitor to the church was limping badly. He came up to Diego after the service and said, “I have been to so many doctors and taken so many medicines. Pray for me and I believe God will heal me.” Diego placed his hands on the man and prayed. Nothing happened. The man walked away still limping.
The next Sunday the man came back, and Diego prayed again. There was still no change.
The man came back a third time. Diego had to make a decision. Should he say, “Maybe it is not God’s will to heal you” or “Maybe I don’t have the gift of healing?” But the Bible says God heals. So Diego said, “I declare you healed in the name of Jesus Christ!” The man looked surprised and said, “Okay, Pastor. I am healed.” He turned around and left, still limping.
At home the man had a supernatural experience. He dreamed that medical doctors entered his bedroom. He could smell the anesthesia they used. The doctors performed surgery on his leg. They left and the man woke up. He shouted to his wife, “I am healed!” He came back to the church, not limping, and gave testimony.
That was the start of Diego Chuyma’s ministry.
A pastor from another denomination called and asked Diego to drive the demons out of his teenage daughter. Diego went to the pastor’s house. The girl was writhing on the floor, possessed by several demons. Diego checked the Bible, prayed and cast the demons out. The pastor’s wife asked, “Where can we learn these things?”
“Look in the Bible in the name of Jesus Christ,” he told them. “You too can heal people and cast out demons.”
Diego didn’t learn these things in seminary. He learned them by reading the Bible and working with people.
Diego Chuyma has a wife, Rebecca, and three boys: John, David and Joshua. He is pastor of Salem Friends Church in Salem, Iowa. God directs his path, Diego follows.
Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at or visit his website at

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: