Pastor Ruben Rivera, Hispanic ministries director, retired in March from the Rocky Mountain Conference after 36 years of ministry. Ruben was the longest serving conference director. His wife, Patty Rivera, who is currently the Hispanic women’s ministries director, and was a children’s ministries director, also ended her service at the same time. 

Ruben’s entry into ministry began when he visited a Seventh-day Adventist Church in Mexico City, Mexico, when he was a teenager. “I heard a pastor preach for the first time,” he reminisced. “I remember hearing him teach God’s Word and having a deep desire to do that someday.” 

Ruben made the decision to be baptized at 16, the only individual in his family to have joined the faith.

He quickly became involved with church leadership, becoming the Sabbath school director, assistant director of Personal Ministries, communication director, and head deacon of his local church while still a teenager. He also was a colporteur.

Although his family was not originally supportive of his desire to study theology, Ruben chose to follow his calling and enrolled in courses at the University of Montemorelos in Mexico. He graduated with his bachelor’s in theology in 1985. While he was studying, he met his wife, Patty Rivera, who was an international student from Peru studying nursing. 

During his summers as a university student, Ruben was a colporteur and traveled to Mexico, the United States, and Puerto Rico sharing God’s word through literature evangelism. 

Rubén’s journey in pastoral ministry began in 1985 in Mexico City, serving as an associate pastor before being entrusted with the care of seven

congregations in the southern district of the city. After only a couple of years of service, they both moved to Illinois where Ruben attended the Northern Seminary to complete his master’s degree in theological studies. 

Upon graduation, the Minnesota Conference offered him a pastoral position, where he helped to establish Hispanic ministry in Minnesota from nine people to 60 in the first year. Throughout those years, Ruben and Patty had their three daughters: Evelyn, Vanessa and Joanna. 

While serving in the Michigan Conference, Ruben completed an additional master’s degree in Pastoral Ministry and his Doctor of Ministry from Andrews University. 

He later transitioned to a pastoral role in three different districts with the Georgia-Cumberland Conference before joining the Rocky Mountain Conference in 2006. There, he began serving as the pastor of Denver Hispanic (Pecos) and Denver Central.

In 2008 he was transferred to the Denver South Hispanic. In 2010, he began serving as the Hispanic coordinator for the RMC, a position he held for the last 14 years. 

Mic Thurber, RMC president, reminisced,

“To see a faithful and fruitful Adventist worker retire is always bittersweet. Ruben and Patty have been a wonderful blessing to the Rocky Mountain Conference for so many years. Their kind and Jesus-like work among us will not soon be forgotten.” 

Throughout his ministry, Ruben has written various articles for El Centinela (Spanish version of Signs of the Times) and Revista Adventista (Spanish version of the Adventist Review)and other publications outside of the United States. Last year he wrote the North American Division Missionary Book of the Year for Hispanic Ministries, entitled An Abundant Life. During his ministry he was a well-known speaker in the Hispanic community for retreats, training, teaching, theological symposiums, weeks of prayer, and evangelistic series.

“From the first time I met them over 25 years ago, Pastor Ruben Rivera and his wife, Patty, have always been a tremendous and steady support to me personally. Their love for God and His people is very apparent in all that they do. What a joy it has been working together with them,”

said Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director.