En Español: Light of Life Shines Brightly through Carolina Congregation
By Carl Stagner
Since 2014, Luis and Daysi Guevara have faithfully led the Spanish-speaking congregation in Statesville, North Carolina, known as Luz de Vida. Translated into English, “Light of Life” is a church alive and active in its community with bold and broad vision to carry out the Great Commission. Like so many churches of all ethnicities and cultures, Iglesia Luz de Vida is a Church of God congregation rocked by the onset of the pandemic in 2020, but positioned on the other side to take their ministry deeper, higher, and farther.
“When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out,” the pastors explain, “we were banned from meeting together in [buildings]. Then the Lord directed us to carry out a daily program [on social media], with a double purpose: not to lose contact with church members, as well as bless the community with biblical promises, prayer for their requests, and a word of comfort, direction, and strength.” The online interactions take place live Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings each week from 10:00 until 11:30, and continue to bless participants long after pandemic restrictions lifted.
Besides the online ministry extending the reach of the church, they’re witnessing the weekly favor of God on their gatherings and activities—especially in the context of corporate worship. “We are joyful to see the movement of praise and worship that allows us to experience the loving presence of the Holy Spirit,” they explain. “In addition, we’re seeing growth in the level of commitment and fidelity in the leadership of the church.”
Even with things going so well in many areas, Pastors Luis and Daysi recognize the challenges that persist and can only be overcome by the Lord’s intervention. “The biggest challenges have been changing the mindset from a building church to a community church,” they observe. They also note that visibility from the street is hindered. Their light really has to shine bright for the community to take notice, but they give God the glory that this very aspiration is becoming reality. “The greatest blessings have been precisely in this year, after the crisis, we are experiencing healthy and wonderful growth in almost all areas of ministry.”
In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15–October 15), the opportunity to speak to the nature of the Hispanic church in the United States and Canada today was presented to Luis and Daysi. Especially in parts of the United States, one popular assumption of majority ethnicities suggest Spanish-speaking congregations are predominantly homogenous groups of people, largely Mexican-American. But that’s just not the case, as Luis and Daysi explain.
“First of all, we are grateful to the Lord for the immense support that our white American brothers have given us, here in North Carolina. They have been spectacular with us. Our church has beautiful people from Colombia, Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Ecuador, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba. We are a heterogeneous group, but very united in that we work together for the kingdom of heaven.”
The vision of Iglesia Luz de Vida could best be described as a God-sized vision! Accomplishable by human ingenuity, business acumen, and intellectual strategy? Hardly. But by the Holy Spirit’s will and way? Absolutely. “We have a great vision, since I discovered that North Carolina has 100 counties,” the pastors reveal. “My desire is to train our leaders in order to raise 100 churches. So a good request on our behalf would be to pray to the Lord for wisdom and guidance to achieve that vision.”
Learn more about the Church of God movement at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org. Learn more about the Hispanic Council (Concilio Hispano) of the Church of God (in Spanish) at www.conciliochog.org. Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15 through October 15.
Feature (top) photo: Children’s ministry is a vital part of what Iglesia Luz de Vida does.