In July 2016, sister Yaneliys Jinete published the news that a church would be sold in Red Wing and that the price was accessible to the economy of our small congregation. This announcement revived our group’s dream of having a church of our own.
On July 12, a group of 13 brothers and Pastor Yulian Tinoco, Hispanic Ministries coordinator for Minnesota Conference, visited the much-desired church, and to our surprise it was a beautiful place. But it did not meet our expectations, so we asked God to guide in this process. That same day, we talked about another abandoned church that was close to the first one.
The following week we felt restless, and later we gathered as a church to vote to initiate the process of purchasing the small church that was for sale. Although most voted for purchasing it, some thought God would have something better for us. That night during the meeting, sister Esmeralda Machado asked me to allow her to investigate the church that was abandoned. Here is her story in her own words:
Finding God’s plan
When our church began the process of finding a building of its own, I discovered it was difficult, but not impossible. I felt assured God was in control. The church we were considering was thought to be small, lacking rooms or parking space, so I went to the mayor’s office to get information about the other church, which was owned by the county. They told me the property had new owners who were interested in selling, and they gave me the name of the company and the owner. I looked in the phone book, found the phone number, prayed and called.
The owner answered my call and when I asked how much the building cost, he explained he couldn’t give me the price, and then asked how much money we had. I explained who we were, our plans to grow as a church and the need for a church building of our own. We spoke several times over the next few weeks.
My daughter, who is only eight years old, said to me one day, “Mami, I am praying for God to grant us a bigger place.” Finally, we planned to meet the owner and see the church. He wanted to know everything about our organization and asked me, “Gloria, are you sure they like the church?”
“Oh of course!” I said. “It’s perfect for us!”
“We are not going to sell the church”
We did not talk again until one day when I received the call that changed my life. “Gloria, I want to tell you we are not going to sell the church,” said the owner.
“Oh, thank you for your time and attention to us,” I started to reply.
“Gloria, wait!” the owner interrupted me. “I have to tell you I just met with my brothers and we have decided not to sell the building but to donate it to your church!”
“I am speechless! Do you really want to donate the church to us?”
“Yes, we did not know what to do with the building, but now the building will go back to being a house of worship to God, and we are happy because now you will have a place to call your own!”
I could only cry tears of joy. My daughter jumped up and down with happiness. “You see, Mami, God is wonderful! He has given us a bigger church!” It was only a few months later that we had the pleasure of meeting the noble man who gave me the keys. The three Christian brothers, capable of thinking about our creed, wanted the building to be used as a blessing in the community. Our church never stopped praying for a miracle, but never thought it would turn out this way. It has been such a blessing.
Today we thank God for each one who prayed, for our conference leaders for helping us in the legal process and for those generous donors, because today what seemed an impossibility is really happening. God wants to give us abundantly more than we ask or long for.
—Noel Rosabal Perez es pastor de la iglesia hispana de Red Wing.