By Samuel Rodriguez, Church Planting Catalyst, BRN South Jersey
The first Southern Baptist missionary arrived in Honduras in the summer of 1954. He was looking for a place, and a person of peace, to plant the first Baptist church in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Harold Hurst, accompanied by a young local pastor, met my grandfather and shared the Gospel with him. They invited him to participate in the first service that very night.
My Grandfather gave his life to the Lord and became a member of the first church plant in the country. My Grandfather was hungry to grow in his new faith and soon became a disciple-maker and eventually a lay-church planter who helped missionaries plant churches in Honduras and Guatemala.
I was raised by my grandparents due to the divorce of my parents. They taught me the Gospel, and I gave my life to Jesus when I was seven.
Sunday School, VBS, and Royal Ambassadors were important in my growth in Christ, as they led me into ministry. Later, I became a Seminary Professor, President of the Honduras Baptist Convention, and the Director of Church Planting School. (Because of my experience, I encourage others: Sunday School and VBS teachers, counselors, mentors and coaches have a great impact in the lives of young children, and their work can help lead those children to serve the Lord.)
Now, six decades after that missionary arrived in Honduras, there are more than 300 churches planted and reaching their communities with the message of the Gospel. Thirty years after God called me into the ministry, I celebrate with joy a marvelous the number of churches I was involved in planting in Honduras and the Carolinas. Also, I have had the opportunity to be part of church planting and evangelism efforts in 20+ countries.
I am also grateful for my wonderful family. They are my inspiration every day in this journey of faith. My family and I now live in South Jersey trusting God that by His power, mercy, grace, and favor our lives will be used for His glory to help, facilitate, coach, and assist our churches to plant more churches that will reach more people. The whole world is here in South Jersey. All people groups are represented and 95% are lost.
We are praying and looking for partners who will join us to discover people and places, develop disciple makers, plant more churches and transform communities. We are so thankful for the opportunity to work with The Baptist Resource Network, local churches, pastors and the North American Mission Board.