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Rehoboth Spanish Group More than Doubles Membership

Story by Taashi Rowe; Photos by Rabiel Torres
Published 8/17/11

Leandro Perez, pastor of the Rehoboth Spanish group, embraces his son, Caleb, after baptizing him. 

At the beginning of this year, Allegheny East Conference’s Rehoboth Spanish group, located in Reading, Pa., had 25 members. After baptizing two more into the church this past Sabbath, they can now claim 39 new members, which means their membership has more than doubled in less than six months.
Leandro A. Perez, the church’s pastor, and Rabiel Torres, director of Lay Ministries, say they have been utilizing media to step up their evangelism efforts. First, the church distributed free CDs and DVDs from La Voz del Consolador (The Voice of the Comforter), a Houston-based ministry, featuring sermons by Andres Portes. The group is also sponsoring a weekly broadcast of Pastor Portes’ messages on WMCTV, a local TV station. Portes’ program comes on right after the news at 11:30 p.m. on Thursday nights. At the end of the program, viewers are invited to call or visit the church.

Rehoboth Spanish leaders also invited Portes to speak during a weeklong evangelism meeting in the spring. That meeting yielded 14 new members. They invited Portes to speak again at a summer evangelism series, themed “Transformados por el Espiritu” or “Transformed by the Spirit.”  After that meeting, 13 joined the church through baptism and 12 joined by profession of faith.

Pastor Perez says the increase can be linked to “the unity of the church. It is like a wakeup call, and everyone is responding to the work of the Holy Spirit.”  He also notes that church members are very welcoming, adding that community members have given them the nickname “the church of love.”