When I felt my calling to become a pastor, I knew that I would be available to the Lord 24/7, but I never thought that a pandemic would happen during my time as a pastor.
I was very concerned about my congregation, and I was afraid that the Latinos would disperse. But that did not happen. We united more, as we were in contact every day through my pastoral message on FaceBook.
It never occurred to me that this pandemic would last so long, keeping me from being in contact with all of you. I know that Rev. Jeffrey is taking care of the English-speaking congregation, and that gives me peace of mind. But I know that you want to know what happens with the Hispanics in San José and El Maguey, and I decided that it would be a good idea for me to inform you. I want you to know that you are also important to me, and that you are in my prayers every day. Latinos are also eager to return to the Church. They are in constant prayer for you and your families.
The Latinos in San José First Church are fine at the moment. I have not heard that anyone else has the virus, and the lady who had it is already fully recovered. Little by little some part-time employees are returning to their jobs, and they are surviving. They receive good quality food from the Open Pantry program. The youth of the church are more active at this time, since they participate as volunteers on the days of distribution.
Irma Navarro is very grateful for all your prayers for her and for Nancy who is in glory. We hope that when the doors of the Church open again, we may have the celebration service of Nancy’s life. All of you are invited to accompany Irma and her family. Please continue to pray for Irma, because she is very vulnerable and depressed about Nancy’s departure.
Mariel Cornejo, Horacio’s stepdaughter is passing through difficult times. Rev. Jeffrey and myself are keeping an eye on the family. Jennifer Hall is supporting Mariel with her company, friendship and prayers.
Children and mothers of families are very frustrated with online classes. Children do not want to be in front of a computer for so many hours. This causes a lot of stress for mothers, who call me requesting that I talk with their children. They want me to tell them to do their homework and sometimes even to urge them to take a bath, since they don’t even want to do that. The good thing about this is that the children pay attention to me, since in the Latin tradition they have to respect and listen to the pastor of the church.
Because of your donations and those of the Methodist women’s group, this week 155 El Maguey families will be receiving bags of discounted foods from October 14th to 17th. To help them in these difficult times, Juan Carlos and Eduardo Anaya will be taking the groceries to the families’ homes. For the safety of all, people are not gathering outside of Cristo Vive. The virus arrived late in Atotonilco and El Maguey. There are people sick with the virus and others have already died due to lack of medical care.
The crisis in El Maguey and Atotonilco is affecting the most vulnerable—the elderly and the low-income families—in their health and also their economic status, since there is no work. Your help is of great value since Cristo Vive is an umbrella for people, where they can take refuge for help.
I feel that I am growing spiritually, since my faith is increasing. In these difficult moments a lot of faith, trust, and prayer are required, since there are many people who request my prayers and pastoral care.
Please keep my family in prayer, because my nephew, Pedro Vazquez, died today, Saturday, October 17th from the Covid 19 virus. Because the virus was detected so late, it was not possible for him to be effectively treated. This is often the case for many people who don’t realize they are infected until it’s too late. Because of this the rest of Pedro’s family plans to get tested, so they can determine whether or not they need treatment. They need to be very careful because most people cannot afford expensive medicine and hospitalization.
For the moment this is the information that I have for you, beloved congregation. I will be praying for all of you, so that God protects you while we continue to do good before God.
Pastor Gerardo Vazquez-Padilla