Hispanic Pastor Expands Reach, Impact Across East-Central Indiana
By Crystal Snyder
One of the things we hold onto in this difficult season is the assurance that God is continuing to work. As the song “Way Maker” proclaims, “Even when I don’t see it, you’re working,” we trust that he is, and we ask for discipline in the spiritual practice of keeping our eyes peeled. Most of the time, we don’t have to look very far for evidence of his Spirit at work. As a state office, Indiana Ministries, we are often privileged to bear witness to these stories unfolding across the state. We’d like to tell you about one. This emerging story is about a faithful pastor, a partner church offering the use of their facility, and a brand-new congregation of Christ-followers on mission in New Castle, Indiana.
Heriberto Mejia (or Pastor Eddie, as many of us call him) has been pastoring Iglesia de Dios La Hermosa since he moved to Indiana in 2012. For the first four years, this congregation held services at South Meridian Church of God in Anderson and then moved into a building of their own across town in 2016. They just celebrated paying off the mortgage of their facility last month! This is no small feat, especially as communities continue to be affected financially by the coronavirus pandemic, some severely so.
In recent months, Pastor Eddie received a phone call from a woman in New Castle who had received a flyer about Iglesia de Dios La Hermosa. She explained that she wasn’t aware of any Hispanic congregations in New Castle. Out of that phone conversation, a new community was born. Pastor Eddie began to travel to her home, leading weekly Bible studies with her family and friends on Thursday evenings. The woman’s husband and two daughters accepted Christ, in addition to friends and co-workers from a local Mexican restaurant. Pretty quickly they were outgrowing the home they were meeting in.
Pastor Eddie began searching the Internet for one of our Church of God congregations in the area they could potentially partner with, as they had done with South Meridian. He came across a few names to check and made a phone call. The first number he dialed just happened to be South Memorial Drive Church of God in New Castle. Pastor Eddie and his wife believed that if this church allowed them to use the facility, the Lord was leading them to continue to minister to this new group, a second congregation.
South Memorial agreed, wholeheartedly, to invite this new church community to meet in their building. On August 9, an inter-generational Hispanic congregation gathered for the first time, and twenty-plus people continue to meet weekly. They have left business cards at local Mexican restaurants, at grocery stores and laundromats, inviting others in the area to join them.
Chris Gammello, the senior pastor of South Memorial Church of God, shared his enthusiasm: “The South Memorial congregation in New Castle is delighted to be able to partner in a small way with the Iglesia de Dios La Hermosa community. Pastor Eddie is a passionate and dynamic servant leader of Jesus Christ. The city of New Castle is blessed to have him serving as a unique and necessary additional messenger of Jesus Christ with, and for, the people of our community. You only have to meet Pastor Eddie once to know that the Spirit of the Lord is upon him and that he is completely sold out to fulfilling the purpose and plan that Christ has for his life! It is beyond exciting to see the way the Holy Spirit is already very much at work.”
When asked how we could be praying for them, the passion was so evident in Pastor Eddie’s voice as he exclaimed, “We want to reach people for Jesus!” Let’s pray for Pastor Eddie and his family as he balances ministering to both congregations, for these new Christians, for the Hispanic community in New Castle, and for their partner church—South Memorial Drive Church of God.
Isn’t God’s story so much better than anything we could dream up on our own? Be encouraged. He is indeed continuing to work—and we can’t wait to see what he’ll do next.
Article originally published by Indiana Ministries. Republished by permission. Learn more about Indiana Ministries at www.indianaministries.org.