First Spanish Church of the Open Bible (Primera Iglesia Hispana de la Biblia Abierta) in Hialeah, Florida, pastored by Edgar E. Figueroa, celebrated its 70th anniversary Saturday, October 26, 2019.
The office of the mayor of Hialeah, Carlos Hernandez, sent a representative to congratulate the congregation and declare October 26, 2019, as “Dia de la Primera Iglesia Hispana de la Biblia Abierta” (First Spanish Church of the Open Bible Day).
At the celebration, the message was brought by Edgar’s father, Pastor Edgar R. Figueroa, who pastors Centro Misionero Agape Biblia Abierta in Moore Haven, Florida. Pastor Edgar R. spoke about how the number 70 represents a life cycle. He encouraged the church to fondly remember the experiences of the ending season and to embrace and engage the victories this new season will bring.
Primera Iglesia Hispana, the very first Spanish church in Open Bible, has sent out four pastors to launch new churches in Florida. During the celebration each of these pastors treated the congregation to an update of what God is doing in their ministries: Edgar and Ana Figueroa from Moore Haven, Raul and Dora Escalante from First Spanish Open Bible Church in Broward, Idel and Miriam Hernandez from Centro de Rescate de la Biblia Abierta in West Palm Beach, and Armando and Miosotis Dominguez from Primera Iglesia Hispana de la Biblia Abierta in Punta Gorda.
First Spanish Church was established in 1949 by Pastors Roberto and Adelina (Tete) Dominguez, who began their ministry one year before preaching to Puerto Rican workers in the tomato fields of Princeton, Florida, several of whom accepted the Lord. Tete would also look through the telephone book for Hispanic names. She would then call those numbers and witness to whomever answered the phone. Several people made decisions for Christ over the phone. This new group of believers needed a church to call home, and Primera Iglesia Hispana de la Biblia Abierta was formed.
In 1975 Pastors Dominguez retired and passed the mantle to Pastors Ralph and Rebecca Cajigas. Pastor Ralph blessed the congregation with sound preaching and beautiful songs and poems. He and Rebecca worked tirelessly to build up the church family and constructed a new church building. Construction of the new sanctuary was completed in 1989, and in less than five years it was paid off.
In 2013 Pastor Cajigas retired, and Pastor David and Bernice Del Valle took over the leadership of the church. After a devastating hurricane had damaged the church building and the church was facing other issues, they needed help getting back on track. Pastor David’s leadership, knowledge of the Word, and passion for prayer proved key in bringing stability.
Pastor David retired in July of 2019 and passed leadership to Pastor Edgar and Abigail Figueroa. Pastor Edgar remarks, “What an honor, privilege, and responsibility to be pastoring the church where my parents and I met the Lord! I learned in these classrooms; I worshiped in this auditorium; I ran through these halls (and got in trouble for it!). Several of the older people in our congregation joke about the fact that they would never have guessed that the sweaty kid they were scolding for running down the halls or lighting matches in the staircase would one day be their pastor. I guess it just goes to show that we need to be mindful about how we treat that hyperactive kid running down the halls of our church. One day we may call them Pastor!
“Not many churches get to celebrate 70 years of ministry. What a privilege! This church has an amazing and inspiring history! But in Jesus’ name, the best is yet to come!”
Check out the church website at www.hialeahobc.com and follow it on social media.