Gerizin De Peña, evangelist and pastor, was born in Hijuey, Dominican Republic. His parents — a lay-evangelist couple who traveled preaching the Good News Gospel — had dedicated him to God as an infant to become a gospel preacher. In his earliest years, De Peña was convicted he must become a pastor and evangelist.
De Peña remembers that his father would pitch his own large tent and then preach a powerful evangelistic series. His mother joined as the soloist.
After De Peña completed college, he was hired as a pastor for one of the local conferences. His God-given evangelistic gifts and talents were undeniable. After eight years of pastoral ministry, he was called to be an evangelist for the East Conference in the Dominican Republic. During his four years at this ministry post, he averaged 25 evangelistic meetings per year.
In 2010, Upper Columbia Conference extended a call to De Peña to serve in the Wenatchee Valley. After five years there, he received a call from the Oregon Conference where he has pastored for the last six years, most recently at the Salem Hispanic church.
“My dream is to mentor and train dozens of lay evangelists," De Peña said. "I don’t believe there should be one “evangelism star,” rather, my dream is to see many lay members accept Christ’s call to become Kingdom builders who will develop and train other disciple-making disciples for Christ."
De Peña explained a four-step plan for his vision.
The first step is identifying a pair of individuals from each Hispanic church to be mentored and equipped to fulfill their role as lay-evangelists. “Jesus sent out people in pairs, and we will be doing the same thing,” said De Peña. These mission-focused pairs will continue weekly training via YouTube and Facebook through a training program De Peña has developed called Blessing Your Week. These provide discipleship training, mentoring, equipping and intentional intercessory prayer for the individuals the Spirit will lead them to.
Another component in De Peña’s evangelistic training is developing Reception-Welcome ministry teams. Studies show that visiting guests determine within the first 10 minutes whether they will return. First impressions really do matter. De Peña wants to ensure that every guest that enters our Adventist churches will be received with such a warm and genuine welcome that they will determine to return.
“In reality,” shared De Peña, “our entire evangelistic plan is grounded in prayer! Prayer is foundational, and nothing will happen without ongoing, intentional prayer. [Prayer is] the ongoing empowerment of the Holy Spirit in equipping lay-members to share Jesus with the individuals God has put in their spheres of influence.”
“The Oregon Conference Hispanic constituents will be very blessed because of Pastor De Peña’s acceptance of the position of Hispanic Evangelist,” said Elder David Paczka, Oregon Conference Hispanic director. “Without a doubt, his evangelistic gifts and talents will be used by God to share the gospel with many souls.”
Thank you for praying for Pastor Gerizin de Peña, his wife Molly and their three children, Zabdiel (18), Gadiel (17) and Haidee-(10), as God’s Spirit pours down on this new mission-focused, evangelistic equipping ministry in Oregon Conference!