Yesterday, Edith and I participated in Christmas Eve service at Iglesia Christiana Universal Apostolica de Jesus Pentecostes of the Dalles. This church was founded over 20 years ago by Edith’s dad, former-Pastor Juan Quiroz. He received the ‘blessing’ and ‘authority’ from the head church prior to immigrating to Oregon from Mexico City decades ago fully equipped with how-to manuals, officially signed papers with the goal of taking the words of the Bible and sharing them with others in The Dalles, Oregon, a small rural town just an hour east of Portland-metro on the Columbia Gorge.
The first blessing was arriving safely. The second, bringing his entire family safely and providing for his family. The third, his passion to see the church through.
About half-dozen large sized Hispanic families would gather to sing, pray, and hear the word of God. They moved from location to location within The Dalles and at one point met with with local and regional Salvation Army leadership (for a while they rented a small location through them) and despite not having a secured location, despite others persuading him to join their churches, despite lack of finances to permanently conduct their service at a location former-Pastor Juan Quiroz persevered for the members. Finally, he came across a small church with a small congregation off Walnut St. and he decided to attend, meet the Pastor. The Pastor opened his home door, and after the two met and an exchange of words, I’d imagine many from scripture, Pastor Juan, was able to secure a time slot at that very church. They would provide a monthly small donation for the location and some time went by before the two Pastors would come together to sign an ownership and financial agreement that would transfer the rights to Juan, on behalf of the church. The old, antique and wooden built church stands out with the large white cross, sits on a little under an acre equipped with a private residence, attached carport, shed and picnic area providing a permanent place for the members of the church, year around.
Those original families have long gone, but their kids and their kids remain. Yesterday, I saw brand new families. Many committing themselves to attending and the continuation of the church, a challenge similar to others, of recruiting and retaining its members.
Edith and I along with our three young children attended the service, as did lots of kids. Blessings come large and small, 2010 brought us our twins, Paloma & Citlali.
Today, as my father-in-law preached, is a new Christian calendar day. Faith is something very powerful and something I think we should all have regardless of church denomination and its just not faith in oneself, each other, our designated leadership, but in the organizations that we belong to.
From The Dalles, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, to mom, Yadira, Victor, Crystal, Nuria & Briana, family & friends back in Mt. Vernon as well as Nayarit and everywhere a lifetime of peace and love.