Testimonies

My Testimony

by Rafael Gutierrez

There were 5 children in my

family. My parents divorced when I was 2 years old and

I grew up with my grandmother who

was Catholic and she took me to the

Catholic Church with her. At 12 years old, I wanted to become an Altar Boy and go to the seminary to become a priest.

I participated in all kind of religious ceremonies and church activities, however I felt an emptiness in my

heart that religious ceremonies could

not fill. My desire to please

God led me to study the Catholic catechism, take the first communion, confess

my sins to the priest, pray the

rosary, and pray to images. At the

age of 13 I was already a leader in the

Catholic church. I was sharing

the gospels in homes, leading youth group, singing

in the choir. I wanted to do everything that was

necessary to please God and earn my salvation. I wanted to be like the saints from the Bible and understand the Bible more, however, the more I tried, the more I was unable to do it

My cousin knew how religious I was and told me that he wanted to enroll me in a Bible course. I accepted and a few weeks later I received the course lessons by mail. The course was based on the five gospel truths: 1-There is only one eternal God who created all things. He created man to love, serve, and enjoy fellowship with Him. God also gave man good laws that man might know God’s will and God’s glorious character. 2-The first man and woman rejected God and disobeyed Him. All of us since have inherited the same deceitful and rebellious heart. Even though we know God’s law is good and right, we do not keep it. We do not love God with all of our hearts nor do we love our neighbors as ourselves. We are all sinners who fall short of God’s perfection, and no amount of our “good works” can make us right with Him. God cannot allow evil to go unpunished. All of our sins, even ones that seem small to us, are heinous to the good heart of God.Our just judgment is eternal death in hell, a place of unending darkness, burning, and pain. 4-God, however, determined to show His greatness to all creation in an amazing way. God sent His Son Jesus Christ, God in human flesh, into our world. Jesus lived a perfectly righteous life and then, on the cross, suffered sin’s hellish penalty on behalf of all of those who believe in Him. Jesus died, rose again in triumph, and now sits at the right hand of the Father. 5-Because of Christ’s work, salvation is available as a gift to all people but will only be given to those who repents(turn) of their sins, believe and receive, not simply by head knowledge, but by a fundamental heart change toward God and a wholehearted trust in Jesus Christ as the only One who can reconcile us to God. This decision is followed by obeying the command of Jesus to be baptized as a sign to all of our new life in Jesus.

What a good news that was for me! Jesus had done all that was necessary to satisfy God so I did not have to work for my salvation. I just needed to accept the sacrifice he bought for me on the cross. I decided to write a letter to the pastor to invite him to visit me. in the mean time, I was still searching, so I studied and visited all kinds of religious groups. The turning point for my life came on August 4, 1982. Two Dominican pastors and two American missionaries came to explain the good news to me and I decided to repent of my sins and I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Jesus filled the emptiness in my heart and I was born again in Spirit. As a result of my conversion, I became hungry for God, so I studied the whole Bible and memorized many Bible verses and On December 12, 1982 I asked to be baptized by immersion and I went public with my new faith in Jesus.

I became the first member of the Southern Baptist church in my home town, San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic. The pastor asked me to help him. I became the Sunday school teacher for the children, the treasurer, and the worship leader. I also learned Sign Language and opened a ministry for the deaf. God was calling me to serve him, but I had the need to learn more of his Word so I asked the church to support me to go to the Dominican Baptist Theological Seminary. After I graduated from the Seminary, the Lord called me to be a missionary to the deaf in Santiago, Dominican Republic and to start ministry for the deaf in other Baptist churches. Two years after that I was called to be the senior pastor of Southern Baptist Church of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic. During the same time I attended college and graduated with a bachelor degree in Modern Languages. Five years later, I got married with Teresa. In 1995, The Lord called My wife and I to be the senior pastor of Jerusalem Baptist church in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and gave us the new vision to work with small groups. The Lord blessed us with two sons, Addiel and Joel. In 1998 God called us to be the pastor for the deaf in my home town. In 2003 we were called to be the pastor of La Vega Baptist church in the Dominican Republic and to plant a church within the premises of la Vega Christian School. In 2007 Teresa and I started a ministry called Ministerio Crecer y Multiplicar to help other churches to star small groups. In 2008, I received a scholarship for a master degree at Utah State University and with the affiliation and ordination of The Missionary Church International, we incorporated the ministry as Grow And Multiply Ministry. Our vision is to reach out Utah, the United States and all nations for Jesus Christ, plant new churches and bring hope to the hopeless.