To Vicente Guerrero, Baja California, Mexico | June 24-26, 2023
Interviewing Pastor Octavio Valenzuela
José and I had a very open and pleasant conversation with Pastor Octavio. We asked him questions about his church and theological background, his current ministry in Vicente Guerrero, and his intentions about establishing contact with the RCUS. When Jose took Pastor Octavio’s two boys for a trip round town, we continued our theological discussion.
Pastor Octavio explained that he came to know the gospel in a Pentecostal church where he worked for about 14 years as a Sunday school teacher and assistant pastor. In time, he was ordained by several pastors to pastor his then-mother congregation. He served for a few years as the pastor of that congregation which very soon split for different ecclesiastical and doctrinal differences, and he was left alone to pastor a small number of families. By that time, he happened to meet Eduardo Manzano, a missionary pastor of the US in his town, who was becoming Reformed in his doctrine. It was through him that Pastor Octavio came to know the Reformed faith, and since then embraced it and committed to it.
His Reformed doctrinal position put him in a very difficult spot regarding the other non-reformed churches in town. They do not like him but respect him, and he actively meets with them monthly for fellowship, teaching, and preaching of God’s Word. They have formed something like a pastor association where they meet to discuss issues pertaining to the church in general.
We asked him questions about his view of Scripture, about our Reformed confessions, six-day creation, eschatology, infant baptism, etc., and he agrees and accepts what we as the RCUS believe. He is also open to learning more about the Reformed faith.
Joining the RCUS
Pastor Octavio is not happy to be alone without being a member of a Reformed denomination. He was very open to me about joining the RCUS and being accountable to a body of pastors and elders. We explained to him that there is a process to be followed in our denomination to be accepted as a
minister of the RCUS, and he is willing to follow every step if there is an opportunity to bring his congregation into our denomination.
Like many pastors and congregations in Latin America, Pastor Octavio has different family and church needs. His wife’s health is poor, but she is receiving a treatment which can be very expensive. The electricity company sent him a very high electric bill which was not right. He went to the offices to tell them they made a mistake, but they did not care about it. They cut off the line that provided power for his radio program, and for that reason, he is not broadcasting any reformed sermons, Bible studies, etc. They threatened to cut off all the electricity in his house and church as well if he did not pay the bill which amounts to approximately 1,250 US dollars. They also do not own a copier machine and they have to go to other local businesses which own copier machines to make copies for their songs and Bible studies.
After all, the visit to Vicente Guerrero was a tremendous blessing. There is a church and pastor there willing to join the RCUS and be part of our churches. Will this happen sometime? I do not know, but I believe this is a great opportunity to embrace this little congregation in the middle of so many false churches and pastors, in an area deeply affected by the Mexican cartels, and a pastor who for more than twenty years has remained faithful to God’s Word.
By the time you read this, I will be headed back to Vicente Guerrero, hopefully armed with a copy machine, and whatever other books and materials I can gather. The work there is not part of the RCUS — at least not yet. They are, however, part of the body of Christ. Since this is not part of our guideline for giving, the following is only for those who, based on our report alone, wish to help. Our Shafter, CA church feels confident enough in this as a mission of mercy to serve as a conduit for funding to any who would like to help.
“And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,” Matthew 8:11.
You can send a check to:
Ebenezer Reformed Church
235 James Street
Shafter, CA 93263
Or visit https://ebenezerreformed.org/give
Rev. Valentín Alpuche