The last fifteen months my merciful God has blessed Transfiguration Lutheran Church in many ways. Our call to help with word and sacrament to many people in the middle of COVID-19 has been a special challenge. But I want to let you know that I was blessed because I already received the COVID-19 vaccine. God safe me from this mortal pandemic and I so glad for his mercy and blessing, in the midst of many people who still are suffering in our communities.
As you know, Transfiguration Lutheran Church has not had a regular worship space since the beginning of 2019. Since then, my ministry has been very dynamic every weekend. I do house church ministry in my area. I celebrate Baptisms as well communion, and confirmations. I do a lot of quinceañeras (Sweet Sixteen Celebrations) and weddings in hotels and Ball Room Salons around the cities where they live. We are one of the only ministries in our area that do this as many other religious bodies in the area do not allow to do these kinds of ministry. They perform their ministries inside of their buildings and only for registered members.
I have had many phone calls for people who are sick asking for anointings and pastoral care for unchurched people from our neighbor. I have been busy doing funeral services for those unchurched people who call me and are referred to by some people who have my telephone number. In the last 12 months, the local funeral home has been calling me regularly to do some funeral services with limitations from the COVID-19 regulations.
During pandemic COVID-19 time, our mission church has been present in different places of Dallas county as well as other neighboring cities in the North Texas area. My experience as a local pastor has been a great benefit for unchurched people and for others who are afraid to participate in any social religious community event for the pandemic consequences. Most of those who we serve are those who have two jobs, including on weekends. They are rejected when they go to any church for help. No religious community is willing to help them. They cannot baptize their children, do first communion, confirmation, and weddings because they are not acting as affiliated members in any church congregation.
I want to bless NALC for allowing us to do house church ministry to our communities. The pandemic has been changing the traditional way to do ministry. Many church buildings have been closed in the last fifteen months. Some pastors are doing Zoom worship services and others have been able to open their buildings with few members’ participation. This situation has been created chaos for many members and pastors. Their church buildings are not full anymore. This is a big challenge to organizations of a religious body community who are leading the community with their mission statement and restricted church rule.
I want to thank my church partners for their financial support. Without their prayer and financial assistance, it would not be possible to do this kind of ministry.
To learn more about Pastor Pedro Portillo or to partner with this GCS Ministry, please visit: https://thenalc.org/partners/iglesia-luterana-la-transfiguracion-irving/