Today we went to Apopka, Florida to visit the Iglesia Cristiana Ebenezer and its leadership. Traveling in Florida is exhilarating. Words fail, so I am glad to compose this at home where inserting pictures is easier.
The church at Apopka was founded by Wilson Reyes an immigrant from the Dominican Republic. Before his conversion he was a secretary to a president of that country. But conversion led him into the ministry. Ambrosion Encarnacion led him to the Mennonite Church.
When he needed a place for his group to worship he found an unused building owned by a dwindling group of aging legionnaires who agreed that he could use the building if he kept it in repair. The legionaires reserved the right to meet in it once a year. Eventually they sold it to Reyes. The building has been remodeled into the church it is today. Much of the first work was done by Mennonite Disaster Service workers from Sarasota.
The first person we met was Eligio Nunez who is co-pastor and worship leader with his wife Juanita Nunez. I first met Juanita as secretary to her uncle Wilson who was the founding pastor Reyes. She gradually was given more responsibility until she even did the work of a pastor. But she would not accept credentials until her husband gave his life to the Lord. Wilson is now retired in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Our first privilege in Apopka was to listen to the conversion story of Eligio. Now he and Juanita are co-pastors. Juanita has had leadership roles among the Hyspanic Mennonite women. She told us she will likely decline reappointment because the church in Apopka needs her as a pastor.