Lima, Peru - Pastor
Dario is pastoring New Life Baptist Church in the district of Oasis de Villa in the southern area of Lima.
I had the opportunity to attend a Baptist church as a child with my aunt and uncle, but when my parents and I moved, I no longer attended church and was not concerned about my salvation.
Throughout my youth, I sporadically attended youth group meetings, but I showed no signs of conversion. When I was nineteen, I was invited to attend a church anniversary close to my house. Looking back, it is incredible that I continued attending, because at first, none of the other youth wanted to greet me or talk with me. This was due to my bad reputation.
After six months, some of the other youth began to greet me, sit with me, and invite me to whatever event they were having. I couldn’t believe it. It made me so happy. I had already given up partying with my friends, and I had gone six months without drinking or smoking. I am not sure how, but during this time, it was as if I were invisible to my worldly friends. One day, they asked me where I had been for so long. This question gave me pause, and after thinking about it for a few minutes, I concluded that I was a Christian. None of my friends understood this response, but I did.
With my profession of faith came many problems. Some of my friends reproached me, some made fun of me, and others became bitter toward me. Even my father was angry with me. My friends continued to pursue me and to try to entice me to sin with them, and on one occasion, I fell into sin. However, the fall was very painful, and I felt miserable. This brokenness was even further evidence that I was no longer the same. God had worked a miracle in my life without my knowing it.
I became the black sheep of my family, since I was the only Evangelical. This went on for about two years of my life, and for personal reasons, I ended up moving to San Sebastian in the state of Cusco. Once I arrived there, I immediately began attending a Baptist church. It was in San Sebastian, in August of 1989, that I realized that I needed to be baptized. I then spent some time working in each of the ministries of the church – Sunday School, youth group, and evangelism.
Due to the growing membership of the congregation and because of several other missions that had been started by the believers there, the church decided to search for a co-pastor to help with the workload. At this point, an older man from the congregation posed this question to the church: “Why are we going to look for a co-pastor from outside when we have a brother right here in the church who does all of the things that we would have a co-pastor to do? Why don’t we just recognize this brother as the co-pastor?” That is how my life in the ministry began.
After this, I was elected secretary of the Association of Pastors of the Inca Region. At a family camp (affiliated with the association), I was involved in an accident – I was electrocuted by touching a power line. I had to go to Lima for rehabilitation, and while there, I began attending Maranatha Baptist Church. I stayed at this church for five years; during that time, I also married my wife.
While at Maranatha Baptist Church, I served the Lord in several different areas of the ministry, even serving as deacon for several years. During this time, I also maintained a secular job, and God provided for all of our needs. Throughout these years, I never lost touch with my pastor from Cusco, and whenever he came to Lima, he would come by my house and visit. We would talk about our children in the faith (who today are pastors and missionaries) and about the “good old days” when I was in the ministry. It was through these visits that I came to realize that there was an emptiness in my life. I began to see that my love for God had grown cold and that I had come to love money and to care about providing a home and nice things for my wife and my daughters more than serving the Lord.
One day, my pastor from Cusco arrived with a pastor from Lima. We talked a while about the work, and then they left. After about a year, they both returned, and they asked me if I would like to take over as pastor of a work in Oasis de Villa (in the city of Lima). I was so happy to hear this question! The pastor from Lima told me that he had been praying for me for a year, and I told him to simply let me know when I would get started; I did not even need to give it a second thought. However, it then occurred to me that I needed to speak about this with my wife and with my pastor. So after the brothers left, I shared with my wife what the brothers had told me. She told me that she had been praying for the Lord to give me a better job, and she considered this to be the Lord’s answer to her prayer. She asked me when we could get started. I told her that I still needed to speak with our pastor.
My pastor encouraged me not to make a hasty decision. He told me that I should pray. At about this same time, my brother offered me a job that had an incredible salary. I shared this with my wife, and she told me that God had already answered our prayers and that she did not feel like God wanted me to accept the job with my brother. I then called the pastor from Lima who had spoken with me about the pastorate in Oasis, and I shared with him about my desire to take over the work there. That is the story of how I came to be the pastor of the church “Iglesia Bautista Nueva Vida of Oasis de Villa” beginning in May of 2006.