One year ago, the District Board of Missions/Church Development, handed over the deed to the property they bought for our Hispanic Church, Casa de Dios Gateway to Heaven. In addition, we presented Rev. Andres Doimeadios a check for $10,000 to help with renovating their facilities. And renovate they did! They turned their rundown building into a beautiful worship center. And, in one year, they have outgrown it!
Yesterday, one year to the day, we met with them again and presented them with a deed to property adjacent to them with two buildings they will be able to use. The deed was clear and debt free, again provided by our District Committee on Church Development. We also presented them with a check for $15,000 to help in renovating their new facilities.
Yesterday, Bishop and Mrs. Graves, Duane Keck, Beverly Maddox, Rev. John Edwards, Linda and I, worshipped with our Hispanic brothers and sisters and it was great! You could sense the movement of God’s Spirit in our midst. Martha Rovira was there to interpret for us. The music was lively and the church was full. Bishop Graves preached a wonderful sermon challenging us all to move into the future, serving God with our gifts and graces. Duane Keck did a wonderful job making his presentation to the church. The congregation presented the District Board of Mission/Church Development with a plaque thanking us for our support. It will be placed in the District Office. At the end of the service Pastor Andres gave an altar call. I think eleven people came down. Some to accept Christ into their life.
After the service, we then went outside and baptized around 10 people, all young people and adults, by immersion in a pool. One young lady who responded to the invitation and gave her life to Christ, walked out immediately to the pool to be baptized. Bishop Graves and I truly got wet but it was worth it! It was a marvelous day!
When I left the church, I was giving God thanks for our connectional system and prayed that others would come to see the beauty of it. Some pastors and laity choose not to be connected and I will never understand why. To me, it is one of the beautiful things about being a United Methodist. When we left that church service, we all felt connected and knew we are doing Kingdom work together. We may speak different languages, we may have different backgrounds, but we are all in His work together.
I thank all who made yesterday possible. I thank God for Andres and the lay leadership of our Hispanic ministry. They are leading more people to Christ than most churches in our Annual Conference. I give God thanks for the movement of His Spirit in this ministry, and for the lives that are being transformed. I give God thanks for our District Board of Church Development. They have been helping to start new churches for almost 50 years. They have helped plant around 46 churches. I give God thanks for their willingness to look into the future and vision the possibilities!
My friends, as a District, we are all part of this great ministry. It is one of our great success stories. I know of no other group in all Methodism that has done, or is continuing to do, what the District Board of Church Development has and is doing.
May we continue to move forward in leading others to Christ for the transformation of the world. I am humbled and honored to serve with each of you. God Bless you as we stay connected and move forward in building His Kingdom!
In His Service,
Dr. Tim Trent
Pensacola District Superintendent