***Be sure to scroll all the way down for pics***
We are currently serving in the mountain of Jayuya, PR. Our location is 4400 feet above sea level. Jayuya is in the center of the island. It has a population of 17,000. To learn more about Jayuya click here.
The Jayuya Flag
Our church where I currently serve as the Pastor is Iglesia Bautista Monte Calvario (Mount Calvary Baptist Church). Click here to see our church's website in Spanish (still under construction).
Our Church's History
This church was started nearly 30 years ago by a veteran missionary named Dr. Gary Bell, who is now retired due to health issues. After establishing this church Dr. Bell left it in the hands of a national Pastor as he went to the next town over (Adjuntas) to start another church. However, some unforeseen circumstances befell the church in Jayuya. For a while the church even closed down.
Eventually, Dr. Bell and his son, Phillip Bell, came and revived this work. Phillip Bell eventually decided to fill the role as Pastor and the church grew under his leadership for several years. After Pastoring this church for a little over 10 years Bro. Bell handed the work over to a national Pastor as he entered another ministry as the Latin American representative for the worldwide Awanas chidren's ministries.
However, again hard times fell upon the church and the national Pastor resigned after a couple of years. For a couple years the church was without a Pastor.
During this difficult time without leadership the church membership suffered. Eventually there were only a handful of faithful Christians left, doing whatever they could to keep the doors open. They prayed and prayed for God to send them leadership.
Finally, God answered their prayers and sent them Dr. Gary Ashley and his family. Dr. Ashley served as a Missionary in Venezuela for several years. He came to Puerto Rico and worked as a school teacher in a large Christian school in Levitown, PR. He also served as interim Pastor in another church on the island. Eventually, he came to Jayuya to fill the role as Pastor, providing much needed leadership.
Dr. Ashley and his family served with this church for about 2 and a half years. However, financial burdens arose and necessitated that they return to the United States to re-raise some much needed support.
Confirmation from God
In February of 2011, I came to Puerto Rico for 10 days to search for a home that we could start to rent in the city of Hatillo where we were planning to start a new church "from scratch". During this time, I met Dr. Gary Ashley. He shared with me his situation. He also explained that when he returns from the United States that he desires to start a new church in Barceloneta, PR. However, he needed someone to carry on the work in Jayuya. So he asked me if I would consider this church. I told him I would pray about it but really in my heart I was not very interested in the work in Jayuya only because we already planning on starting a new work in Hatillo.
That same night, however, I could not go to sleep. I wrestled in my mind and spirit over the church in Jayuya and the great need for that work to go on. That night God laid the following verse of scripture upon my heart. Matthew 9:36 "But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd." That Dr. Ashley had no one available to take over and continue this ministry troubled my spirit. Considering this great need, God used the scripture in Matthew 9:36 to confirm in my heart that Jayuya was where God wanted me to serve in Puerto Rico.
So we made the decision to go and to make a long story short God has confirmed to our hearts over and over again that this is exactly where He wants us for the time being. The need is great. We are the ONLY Baptist church in this entire mountain and area. The Catholics, Charismatics, and Jehovah's Witnesses have a strong presence here. This area needs a Bible-believing, Gospel-preaching, Soul-winning, Fundamental, Independent, Baptist church. And praise God it has one! But we have lots of work to do.
Since we have arrived we have had the privilege of seeing God work in the hearts of the people. They have accepted us with open arms as we have developed a close relationship with them around the word of God.
Souls are being saved!
God is working!
Little by little the church is growing and recuperating spiritually from all the trials and tribulations of the past. Our God is able!
Our church is a mission work. It is a work in progress. In many ways, this church is basically starting over again.
Our goal is to see this work thriving once again with Christians on fire for God. We want to have a church where Christians have a vision for Puerto Rico and a burden in their hearts for the salvation of souls.
However, our vision extends further than just the need in Jayuya. For us, Jayuya is just the beginning. We have a burden and vision for the rest of the island as well. Here's some statistics to consider about Puerto Rico as a mission field.
Out of 78, there are about 38-40 municipalities (kind of like states) that do not have a Fundamental Independent Baptist church. That's well over 1,000,000 souls that do not have access to a Gospel Preaching, Bible-believing, IFB church in their area. That's at least 1/4th of the island's total population. Of the rest of the municipalities that DO have an IFB church, most of them desperately need several more. For example, in San Juan (the capitol) there is only 1 IFB church that I am aware of. There might be more but San Juan has a population of over 400,000. They could surely use several more churches in various parts. The same can be said for many other municipalities.
Please pray that:
1. God will help us missionaries that are here to start a church planting movement in this island.
2. That God will send forth more laborers.
3. That perhaps God might use YOU to assist us in this great need not only through prayer and financial support but possibly even calling you to be a missionary to Puerto Rico.
Matthew 9:37-38 "Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest."
Would you pray and consider helping us? As you can see, the need is great! But our God is greater!!!
Please pray for us as we strive to serve the King of kings and Lord of lords here in the heart of Puerto Rico!
Preaching the Word of God
New Children's Sunday School Class
Building Sunday School Rooms
We are building an extension to our church building in order to have Sunday School space and a future Bible Institute to train men in the Word of God. We need more funds to purchase materials and finish this project. Contact us if you would like to donate to this effort.
Due to the donations of our supporting churches we were able to pour the concrete of the roof. This phase of the project is done. Now we are raising funds to move on to the next and hopefully final stage. In the future we plan to build a second floor on this roof to have dormatory space for visiting preachers and church groups.
Please Pray for Souls to be Saved and for the Church to Grow!