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Six Church Plants Added along the Border

Maricela Hernandez

Secretary-Treasurer, Texas Gulf Hispanic District

McAllen, Texas

"Thank you, AGTrust partners! Because of your faithful support, AGTrust Matching Funds have been provided, in cooperation with The Church Multiplication Network, to help jumpstart these six church plants in Texas along the Mexico border."

Grace Church
Rev. Merelda Gonzalez
Monte Alto, Texas

Templo Familiar Emmanuel
Rev. Zilpa Gutierrez
Edinburg, Texas

Anchor Church
Rev. Nephthali Zozaya
McAllen, Texas
Family Christian Assembly English Campus
Rev. Edgar Alfaro
Penitas, Texas

Templo Casa de Dios
Rev. Juan Alvarez
Mission, Texas

Templo Caminando por Fe
Rev. Reynaldo G. Luiton
Los Fresnos, Texas

Pastor Reynaldo Luiton and his wife, Elvia, planted Templo Caminando por Fe in Los Fresno, Texas. They began a family prayer gathering in their home's double-car garage converted into a sanctuary, and the group soon grew to become a vibrant congregation. With the help of post launch funds provided by AGTrust and The Church Multiplication Network, they paid for their land and acquired two portable buildings, which they are remodeling to serve as a sanctuary and a Christian education building.

All six churches are part of the Texas Gulf Hispanic District of the Assemblies of God. This district planted 13 new churches in 2020, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The district leaders and ministers have a multiplication vision! In spite of the fact that Texas Gulf Hispanic is the smallest of the 14 Assemblies of God Hispanic districts, they have added 54 churches since the district formed in 2012 with 102 churches.

Church planters are being trained in schools of ministry and boot camps throughout the year to continue stressing the importance of church multiplication.

Reverend Zilpa Gutierrez (third from left) planted Templo Familiar Emmanuel in Edinburg, Texas, with the help of AGTrust Matching Funds. Visiting with her (l to r) are District Superintendent Rev. Edward De La Rosa and his wife, Rev. Norma De La Rosa; Maricela and Rafael Hernandez; and Mike McCrary, CMN Director of Strategic Partnerships.

"We like to maintain constant communication with our church planters as well as the parent churches," Maricela Hernandez says. The district can't hold a gathering in one location because of immigration checkpoints that would block some congregants from attending. So three times a year, District Superintendent Edward De La Rosa, Assistant Superintendent Rick Reyes, Secretary-treasurer Maricela Hernandez, and an itinerating missionary tour the eight sections in the district to encourage, motivate and support the church planters.

In addition to serving as the district's secretary-treasurer, Maricela and her husband, Rafael Hernandez, planted and currently pastor Family Christian Assembly's Hispanic campus in Penitas, Texas. They also started a night Bible school that is part of the DSOM (District Schools of Ministry). The DSOM is a 3-year night Bible school program where students (mostly adults) come once a week for three hours for three years. Of the graduates, five have planted Assemblies of God churches.

Family Christian Assembly English Campus in Penitas, Texas, is pastored by church planter Reverend Edgar Alfaro.

Texas Gulf Hispanic District leaders have a vision to plant 200 more churches in the next decade. Their plan is four-fold:

  1. Identify small cities and towns needing a healthy Assemblies of God church and plant churches in those with the help of parent-affiliated churches.
  2. Encourage pastors to start an English campus church using their current facilities. This will help them reach a neglected sector in their community and present ministerial opportunities for a younger generation of ministers. They desire to reach and keep the second, third and fourth English-speaking Hispanic generations.
  3. They want to embrace brothers and sisters of Pentecostal heritage who stand independent and desire to become part of the Assemblies of God family.
  4. They will join forces with those ministers who have already responded to God's calling to plant churches without any support and yet continue to be strong in their vision.

"It bothers me that we haven't taken the time to put a church in every community," Superintendent De la Rosa says. "If a little town has a school district, there are enough people to congregate for a church. Every community has to have a church."

Maricela Hernandez (left) with Pastor Reynaldo Luiton and wife Elvia

THANK YOU for helping AGTrust and CMN to plant and equip healthy churches. Nearly 600 church plants across America are reaching people for Christ today because of your support.

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