Eduardo Gonzalez was one of 76 students who graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Mich., last May. Ten weeks later, he and his wife, Ruth, along with their two sons, returned to Honduras where he has been called to serve as an associate pastor in his home church, Vida Abundante, a multi-site evangelical church headquartered in Tegucigalpa.
Gonzalez’s journey to Grand Rapids and Calvin Seminary started in the midst of national tragedy 16 years ago when Hurricane Mitch, one of the strongest and deadliest Atlantic storms on record, slammed Central America, with Honduras suffering the greatest loss of life and livelihood.
God spared Vida Abundante in Tegucigalpa so that its significant facilities and country networks could be used to stage relief efforts.
Their major partner was the West Michigan relief agency International Aid, which remained in partnership with Vida to work on recovery and development projects.
International Aid recruited members of local church members to assist in this work. Those volunteer relationships became the seed for a thriving church partnership between Vida Abundante and Covenant Life Church in Grand Haven, Mich., that exists to this day.
Gonzalez got to know about the Christian Reformed denomination and its theological heritage through relationships with Covenant Life church members who helped foster in him the discovery and development of his gifts for ministry while he was in Grand Rapids.
He chose to attend Kuyper College in Grand Rapids for his undergraduate education, and for the last three years, he has been completing the courses of study for a Masters in Christian Ministry as well as a Masters in Worship at Calvin Seminary.
After his last Sunday at Covenant Life, where he had worked with the youth programs, Eduardo Gonzalez reflected on the ministry challenges awaiting him. “The greatest need for the church in Latin America is for practices that foster the process of sanctification, for worship that is formative.”
He explained that 90 percent of the people in Honduras identify themselves as either Roman Catholic or Protestant. The churches are packed. “But Honduras has more violent deaths per year than countries at war,” he said.
Growing up in a Pentecostal church, Gonzalez calls himself a “grandchild” of the Reformation. He is excited to be equipped as a pastor who can introduce the great heritage of a Reformed Christian worldview to his parishioners and to help them shape a way of life that brings light and truth to places of darkness.
Thank God that the breath of his Spirit was blowing through hurricane winds to draw a young man into ministry.