The Stories of Men Serving God as PCA Pastors
(Cont.) Angel enrolled in the University of Central Florida and moved to Orlando. He began attending the evening services at Saint Andrew’s Chapel shortly after his move. At the time, Dr. R.C. Sproul was preaching through the book of Romans each Sunday evening. Angel’s understanding of the reformed faith grew deeper and deeper through his exposure to such rich teaching. Eventually, the leadership at Saint Andrews asked Angel if he would consider serving as the church sexton. It is not easy to accept a new job offer when the offer involves having to take a significant pay cut. He took the offer because it afforded him the opportunity to explore what he thought might be the Lord’s call to vocational ministry and allowed him to complete his undergraduate degree. The sacrifice was worth it. Three years of being present at just about every Bible study, staff meeting, and church event at Saint Andrews and the neighboring Ligonier Ministries Campus served to confirm God’s call on his life.
In 2012, Angel moved to Massachusetts and begun studying at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (GCTS). The opportunity to serve the local church in various capacities while attending seminary provided him with some very valuable practical ministry experience. Angel graduates from GCTS this summer. He ordained and called by Calvary Presbyterian in Willow Grove, PA to serve as Associate Pastor.
(Cont.) I met Israel during his senior year at Covenant Seminary. By the time we met, he felt the Lord calling him to serve as a foreign missionary in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I was disappointed since we have such a great need for Hispanic pastors here in the USA. We stayed in touch during the two years he spent raising funds to move to Argentina. In 2014 we came to the conclusion that the Lord had closed the door for ministry in Argentina and I started to actively help Israel find a suitable call in the USA.
My friend Scott Seaton is the senior pastor of Emmanuel Presbyterian Church in Arlington, VA. I knew Israel’s vision and ministry gifts aligned with Emmanuel’s desire to engage in cross-cultural ministry. Last year, Emmanuel took a step of faith and called Israel. During his first year in Arlington Israel was able to get to know the community, started to form a ministry plan and studied for his ordination. Pastor Chris Brown, member of the Potomac Presbytery, spent many long hours helping Israel prepare for ordination. We need many more men like Chris who selflessly help candidates prepare for the trials of ordination. Israel passed all his exams and was ordained as pastor of Hispanic ministries for Emmanuel Presbyterian Church.
Israel’s vision is to grow a Spanish language congregation of Emmanuel. They are starting an English class on Sunday mornings before the service with the hope to reach the multitude of Hispanics in Arlington with the gospel of Jesus Christ.