This past Sunday, All Saints Day, we were privileged to join with members and friends of Iglesia de Dios en Jesucristo in the community of La Joya as they gave praise to God for their blessings and dedicated their newly completed church. The following is a little of the history of this community and church.
The community itself is a rather new. It developed shortly after the Hurricane Mitch disaster when residents formerly living near the base of Volcano Casita (which also erupted at that time) were uprooted and settled in the area. Efforts to reach these transplanted people with both physical and spiritual care was carried out by Deaconess Mayra Elena Lara and other members from the neighbouring church, itself newly formed, in the community of Rancheria. God blessed their labour and soon a small community of believers began to gather for worship and study, first under the trees, then in a “Ranchero” built with the support of a team traveling with Orphan Grain train. The “Ranchero” served well as a centre for worship and for the newly started Christian Children’s Education Program carried out by the church in the community.
It was approximately 3 years ago that a team made up of members and friends from Mt. Calvary Lutheran, Red Deer and St. Paul Lutheran, Chilliwack, British Columbia began construction of a more permanent facility made of cinder block. This past May another team from St. Paul Lutheran returned to complete the structure adding windows, doors, a septic system and bathroom. The congregation hopes to have electricity and water before the end of the year.
Pastor Marvin Donaire led the service of dedication assisted by Pastor Junior Martinez, Pastor Angel Salazar and Missionary Maximo Urroz. Pastor Junior shared God’s Word in the sermon. Basing his sermon on I Peter 2:5, he reminded us of the “church” which Christ Himself is building. This church is not made with cinder block, but with “living stones” which He Himself has brought into being by grace alone, through faith in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Made “living stones” he told us, we are now privileged to “proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvellous light.” Special guests from the neighbouring congregation in El Pilote (also served by Pastor Marvin) walked four kilometers so that they could join in the celebration.
Iglesia de Dios en Jesucristo carries out an active outreach program in their community under the direction of Pastor Marvin and Deaconess Mayra. A highlight of that ministry continues to be their Children’s Christian Education Program. It is no wonder therefore that almost one half of those worshipping this morning were children.