As 2019 comes to an end and we enter 2020 I reflect upon some of the high lights of this past year, some brought joy and others pain, but despite how I felt… God was working in me and through me for my good and the good of His church and kingdom (Romans 8:28). So many things happened this year that are worthy of mentioning and I’ll be completely honest and try to keep it balanced with both the good and the bad:
- Mission trip to Brazil, met amazing people sold out for Christ and committed to sharing the Gospel and planting churches along the Amazon.
- Connected/ Served with our friends at Imago Dei for their “Become Conference”
- We found a potential home for RCLA Wilmington
- Received new people into membership and had more baptisms
- A season and super rough time of feeling overwhelmed with church plant began to increase
- Got away to Lake Arrowhead w/ church fam for deeper connection
- Hosted our 2nd Lynwood Commitment at Abbott Elementary School
- Celebrated my good friend Antonio and his restaurant The Nest’s 5th Year Anniversary in Bellflower
- Church plant responsibilities began to weigh heavier and heavier on me
- RCLA’s Official 1 year Anniversary
- Went into the California Youth Authority to preach and minster to incarcerated youth (I too served time in CYA)
- In the wake of Nipsey Hussle’s death, coordinated a prayer walk on Crenshaw/ Slauson with approximately 30 pastors/ church leaders from across LA
- After 7 murders in the neighboring city of Watts, coordinated another prayer walk in the Nickerson Gardens projects with approximately 50 pastors and church leaders from across LA.
- Received more persons into church membership
- Was beginning to feel close to burning out
- Purchased a church van
- Graduated from Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan w/ an MDIV (Master of Divinity)
- Took my youngest daughter to see Les Miserables, she almost died of excitement.
- My daughter graduated from Junior High School.
- My granddaughter Isabella and son in law Pablo were baptized; more persons received into church membership
- A beloved church family left, for extremely superficial reasons
- Suffered our absolute hardest and roughest trial in church leadership as a team
- RCA General Synod at Hope College in Holland, Michigan; started serious questioning the future of RCA
- Invited to speak/ pray by Congresswoman Nanette Diaz-Barragán at her annual “Prayer Breakfast”
- Started Sabbatical June 15th
- I saw my dad for the first time in almost 12 years since he was deported to Mexico
- Family vacation in Ensenda, Baja, Mexico; best time in years!!! Seriously needed that!!!
- Back from Sabbatical July 15th
- Homeboys/ Homegirls from past start to visit church and get involved
- Compton Leaders Internship Program
- Granddaughter Isabella’s 1st birthday party
- RCLA Summer Camp
- Attended friends’ Weddings (Rari/ Megan) and (Delia/ Jehadi), so awesome!
- Ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in Reformed Church in America
- Significant growth in Men’s Group
- Minor problems begin to bubble in church leadership again w/ one individual
- I received a recognition from Lynwood’s City Council, truly honored!
- 3rd Lynwood Commitment at Washington Elementary School
- Connected with some of my Reformed Latino homies in Chicago
- Honored to marry two of my good friends (Ricky/ Kristina)
- RCLA Wilmington Bible study commenced
- 2nd Annual Lynwood Unity Service (approx. 300 persons)
- Commenced “Tacos & Theology” (study of Geerhardus Vos’s Reformed Dogmatics)
- Church loses multiple families for different reasons, none for fault of church
- I was diagnosed w/ a serious degenerative spinal condition which resulted in a form of depression that last a few months
- Leadership problems are not able to be resolved and continue w/ one individual, things couldn’t continue much longer this way
- Spanish River Church Planters Conference in Boca Raton, Florida! Awesome time!
- Connected w/ more Reformed Latino brothers in South Florida
- Mens’ Group continues to grow
- 3rd Annual Trunk or Treat with City of Lynwood (quadrupled in size)
- I married another great young couple (Braulio/ Desiree) who are a part of our church
- Lost a beloved aunt in Mexico who was a mom to me in one of my greatest times of despair
- Acquired additional office space at church
- Relaunch of Women’s Ministry
- My brother in law Carlos is released from prison after almost 20 years
- We lost another key family at church
- Key leaders step down, and one leaves church
- We excommunicated a church member
- Leadership issues appear to be resolved
- Ordained/ Installed Catrina Moreno as Deacon
- Acts 29 US West Regional Conference in Reno, NV.
- Received more new members into church.
- Reorganize/ restructure Children/ Youth Ministries
- Problems w/ previous members/ leaders continue; affects present leadership
- Present leadership team is strengthened, expanded, and much more cohesive
- Concluded Cohort Training through Manna Grant at Southlands Church, great time!
- RCLA Youth March in Lynwood Christmas Parade 2nd year in a row.
- Worship Team Christmas Party
- Ventura Youth Correctional Facility Christmas Dinner/ Ministry
- Natalia’s Christmas/ Jazz Concerts at LACHSA
- Shepherd LA gathering with other brothers/ pastors
- My son Diego gets his first college acceptance letter (Humboldt State)
- Christmas Dinner w/ RCLA Consistory
- For the first time in what seemed an eternity our leadership team is tight, on the same page, and in harmony!
Life is not perfect, but God is with us every step of the way! I’m grateful for the hand dealt me, that I get to serve the risen Savior, Christ Jesus for His glory here in Lynwood.