Thursday, July 12, 2018

A New Name

Before Rigo came to the institute he had been a Christian for a total of 3 months. He was 21 and up to that point had come to be known as a drunk. Being a talented mason he used the money he earned to buy alcohol. He grew up without a father, but had a loving mother. She taught him about Jesus, only he rejected it.

He got a job working on a church building. While he was there he was contemplating suicide because he knew his life was missing something and everything he was trying to fill it with was just making it worse. He began to remember the things he heard growing up. He realized at that point, that God was drawing him into a personal relationship with Him. He put his faith in Christ that day leaning over a barrel of water used to mix concrete at the job site. I think it is beautiful the way that God so clearly drew Him to Himself.
Rigo introducing himself the first day of classes.
 A lot of people didn't believe that Rigo could change, but after that day his entire life was different. He never drank again. When he heard about the Institute from a national pastor, he contacted Jimmy about coming to learn more about God. Jimmy asked him, "How do you know you are called to be a pastor, when you've only been saved for about a month?" Rigo responded, "I have a burning inside me to tell others what I know." Jimmy approved his application and he became one of our first students. 
The first group of students who came. I'm pretty sure Rigo's shirt was soaking wet in this picture because he had just washed it and we did not plan on taking this photo that day, haha! (He is the 1st one on the left.)
Despite never finishing the 3rd grade, Rigo dedicated himself to not falling behind and thus never failed a single class. Beyond his studies, he memorized Bible verses on his own time in both Spanish and Kekchi. That is what I always think of when someone mentions Rigo, that he knows a LOT of scripture. His passion for the Bible also led him to be a successful evangelist, winning several families to Christ in the village neighboring the farm.
After studying for 3 years at the institute and leading Juana to Christ, who would later become his wife, he began his new life of ministry in the village of Agua Negra this past June. He had shared with Jimmy his concerns about not having enough food to eat. He had been serving in his home church for a while doing mason jobs during the week to save up money for his first work. Even up to the last week before he was scheduled to move to Agua Negra he was thinking about postponing it two more weeks to have time for one more job, just in case they needed money. Well he decided to go.
I'm so glad that he did because the church had been preparing for their arrival. They had been calling Jimmy for months asking for someone who knew the Bible to come teach them. Rigo and Juana were greeted with so much love! The church had a big celebration. They had a special handing over of the keys to the church ceremony. They signed an official creed to make him pastor, Juana signed it too because she is very much part of the ministry, they are serving God together.  
And as far as them having food to eat, the members had gathered 12 sacks of corn and had them waiting for them in the kitchen along with a financial gift. Here they are praying a prayer of dedication in their new home. You can see some of the sacks behind them.
The people were so grateful that a trained pastor chose to move to their village (There is a huge need here!) that they all brought fresh fruit and vegetables to show how dedicated they were to treating their pastor well! This is when Juana started to tear up.
I am so thankful that God brought such a great couple and a village hungry to learn more about Him together. As passionate as these members are to know God, Rigo and Juana are just as dedicated to faithfully completing the task God has for them! 

A couple weeks later Rigo called and said that he had 7 chickens that members had given him to eat and that he felt bad for having such an abundance. Haha! I wonder if God is laughing too. He takes such good care of those who are serving Him. 
God has greatly blessed him, but more importantly He has given Rigo a new name. Before he was known as a drunk but now he goes by Pastor!

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