In my life, I have ministered to hundreds of people through the church, prison ministry, martial arts ministry, and through my job in social services-related jobs. I am the founder of Manantial del Valle (Spring of the Valley) here in Arizona. By the world and, perhaps “church” standards, this ministry has been the greatest failure of all, if we judge according to the numbers. This is our story:
When my wife and I moved to Arizona, a couple of months later Covid hit. My wife and I were visiting a church, but what we really enjoyed was meeting at this couple’s home as part of the church’s cell group. That church, like many others, was close during the pandemic. I did not like churches closing; I saw it as a lack of faith and trust in God, so I left that church. On April 23, 2021, I received a text from the wife in the home we used to meet for our cell group. She disclosed to me that she, her husband, and others were kicked out of the church. The reason was completely unbiblical. On April 25, 2021, I invited her and her husband to come over to our house for an Acts 2:42 gathering. They invited another sister who also brought her daughter and son. These precious folks were all from Colombia, except the sister that sent me the original text, she was from Mexico.
On May 3, 2021, the husband of the sister that sent me the original text sent me a text stating that he was getting ready to sign the divorce papers and, that he was already separated from his wife. I was shocked! I begged him to please meet with me and not to sign the divorce papers yet. They agreed to meet with me every week.
Tuesday, June 8, 2021, was the official birth of our Acts 2:42 Gatherings. This ministry was born out of a marriage in trouble. It was all in Spanish. On Saturday, July 17, 2021, I left the institutionalized church. On this date, God used Pastor Andrés Briceño Ruiz to confirm my exodus from the institutionalized church.
On Monday, August 2, 2021, I started to meet every week with another sister from Mexico who came to join the group. She needed deliverance and God moved mightily! On Saturday, August 6, 2021, I did my first pastoral session with a brother who was going through a painful separation from his wife of over 20 years. We met every Saturday at 9:00 PM. Sunday, August 8, 2021, was my first Discipleship Class with my mom via FaceTime. This was a very special time of discipleship and deliverance for my own mother. I will never forget this time.
On Saturday, August 28, 2021, at 7:30 PM I started meeting with another couple who also joined our group; they were both from Mexico. This couple was also having severe marital problems. It was on Tuesday, August 31, 2021, as I was singing and praying with my wife at the piano, before our Spanish Home Church, that God gave the name for this ministry, “Manantial Ministries” (Ministerio Manantial); later Manantial del Valle (Spring of the Valley).
On Thursday, September 2, 2021, almost four months after our intervention, the couple that God used to start this whole thing, reconciled and moved back together. On Saturday, September 25, 2021, I start meeting with Pastor Bob at 10:30 AM for us to encourage one another with home church ministry. On that day Pastor Bob Lee and I became Co-elders of each other’s ministry.
On December 19, 2021, my wife and I travel to Mexico; I was Ordained as a pastor at La Hermosa with Pastor Andrés Briceño Ruiz in Yokdzonot, Yucatan, Mexico. The husband of the lady who experienced deliverance, a Puertorrican, was the first one to abandon the ministry over doctrinal differences. She tried to hang in there, but without her husband’s cooperation, she couldn’t do so.
By the start of 2022, all the Hispanics left Manantial del Valle to dedicate their time to the Assemblies of God church they were a part of. I had a couple of co-workers that came over to our gatherings, but that quickly dissolved also. That was a painful process, but I blessed my Hispanic brothers and sisters; after all, they are not mine, they do not belong to me, they belong to God. Was this ministry now over? Well, not exactly!
On February 19, 2022, I started ministering to Martin and his wife Hannah via FaceTime. Martin and I grew up in the same barrio in Puerto Rico. His wife Hannah is a professor from Japan. Those two are my disciples… my only two disciples. It has been an honor to pastor Hannah and Martin. That is the church God has given me to pastor.
In-person fellowships have been a challenge; it is like pulling teeth. I noticed that doing church according to the Book of Acts is more difficult; it exposes people very quickly and, unless folks are serious about their relationship with God, their own deliverance, and each other, it is too uncomfortable. In this system, there is room to listen to each other, and, believe me, we are going to hear bad doctrines. There is no way around it; however, make no mistake about it, we will expose and correct bad doctrine. In this system it is very difficult, about impossible, to hide and pretend. Masks will come off quickly. In this system, you must be willing to be a disciple.
Currently, we have no in-person fellowship. Fellowship has been a true challenge. I have been tempted to go back to an institutionalized church just for fellowship, but I don’t feel at peace doing that. Folks in the institutionalized church only fellowship with you if you are a part of their congregation; the moment you leave you are treated like you have some leprosy. I find them very hypocritical, and I have no desire to join their little clubs again. Luke 16:10-11 tells us,
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? (NIV)
I am going to continue to be faithful to the two disciples that God has given me at this time. Tomorrow is going to be six months of ministering to Hannah and Martin. Perhaps, these two are the only true disciples I have had in my life as a minister in the true biblical sense. I thank God for both, and I ask that God expand my territory and opportunities to minister as the Spirit leads. God knows I am willing… here I am Lord… use me!
If you are in need of deliverance, please email us a firstname.lastname@example.org We are here to help; we have a passion to see God’s people experiencing true freedom.