Agape Ministry Iglesia Bautista del Septimo Dia — Part 2

Agape Ministry Iglesia Bautista del Septimo Dia — Part 2

Jan 23, 2017

By: Pastors Joel and Judith Houts

Part 1 is in the January Sabbath Recorder

The Agape Ministry Iglesia Bautista del Septimo Dia has asked for membership in the Conference. This is a hope to let you get to know them better.

As we tried reaching new people, our people were being harassed by others. One gentleman stopped coming as a result and joined another church. He met with me in private and told me he was afraid. Shortly after this happened, a family of five that had accepted the Lord and been baptized moved to the United States looking for a better life. That left our church with zero active members!

Joel traveled back and forth from the USA as work allowed helping Ruth and me in the ministry. For one full year I preached to very few. Nevertheless, the Lord began bringing people to church and leaders began emerging. In the midst of all this, my mother’s health worsened and in 2014 she passed away.

Through all this, we were certain of the mission and that God had called us. We had relocated from our old house to another house down the road. But when the original family left and moved to the United States, we had to relocate again. We found an apartment to rent, and moved there, but it seemed as if no one found us. The roof leaked and the landlord refused to fix it. After a year of preaching to no one (or so it was thought), one of the local drunks came into the church carrying a machete. He told us he came from what was supposed to be a duel (the other man did not show up). Ruth began serving him several cups of coffee. I prayed for him and he was healed from alcohol. He became our new member.

He told us later on that the services could be heard outside the church and many people gathered on the balcony above to listen to the music and hear the Word — leaving as soon as the final prayer ended.

Pastor Robert Van Horn with Judith

We didn’t know that our next door neighbor, Maritza Figueroa, had been sitting near her bedroom window listening to the music and the preaching. She once said that she thought we were out of our minds, we preached as if the church was full, but she saw no cars in the parking lot. Maritza’s kids began attending our youth group. Later she began visiting and today she is our Associate Pastor, attending seminary. She is our Music Director along with her husband, Adrian Gonzalez, who is also a member and an accomplished singer/composer. Today they have their own ministry, born from our small church, the Dia Septimo singing group.

Because of water damage to our equipment, we had to move one more time, which took us to our present location. The church is more visible now — which has allowed more people to visit us. Some have become members and are leaders today. In the last year, we have officially become Agape Ministry Iglesia Bautista del Septimo Dia.


The Houts with Ruth Russell

We have several outreach community programs such as: Por Solo Una Sonrisa Community Luncheons, Three Kings Day procession (music and candy distribution), singing to home-bound, Christmas Tree White Banners (white envelopes with money to feed hungry in Christmas), Thanksgiving Community Luncheon, Voucher Program with a local cafeteria, and the Nursing Home Ministry. Most of these outreach programs are supervised by our one and only long term missionary to Puerto Rico, Ruth Russell.

In the last four years we have been blessed with the visits by other SDB missionaries: Clint Brown and Paul Andries, The Skateboard Ministry, Andrea McKenzie, The Berlin NY Team, Daniel Lovelace, Patty Petersen, Pastors John Pethtel, Helmer Umana, and for a second visit, Robert and Lana Van Horn.

Thanks to God, we have continued a slow, but steady growth in attendees and members, and we are becoming well known for our love and compassion in our community of Barrio Hoyamala in San Sebastian.In

October of 2016 we celebrated our fourth anniversary. The all day program was attended by many people in the community, including a representative from the Mayor’s office.

We are excited to see what God has for this church and its community in the future. To God be the glory!

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