Casa de Amor y Fe has impacted Lakeland, Florida, since its first service in 2014. Christal Gomez, 19, remembers how that service inspired her to volunteer at the church.
Since the age of 14, Gomez has ushered, worked in the children’s ministry, and now serves as the congregation’s computer technician, making graphics and videos. Gomez is excited that community outreach has been a focus of the church since day one.
Outreaches have helped Casa de Amor ye Fe to grow fast. More than 1,300 now attend the five weekly services, led by pastors Roberto Orellana and Waleska Ramos-Orellana, who have been married for 26 years.
As a Latin Grammy-nominated singer, Roberto, 53, spent 20 years as a traveling evangelical musician before the couple settled down to plant a Hispanic church in Lakeland. While most services are in Spanish (with a translator), Friday services are held entirely in English.
Their children are heavily involved in the church. Roberto, 25, plays percussion during services and designs T-shirts for the ministries. His twin, Isaac, pastors the youth group and heads up worship and arts, where he runs audio and works to connect with the upcoming generation. Their sister, Gianna, 7, participates in the dance ministry.
With the support of the Church Multiplication Network, Roberto and Waleska, 49, have established 41 ministries within the church. One of their biggest missions is to help the homeless, working with a local Hope Counseling Center to provide meals, baths, and clothes twice a month. By connecting with other ministries, Casa de Amor y Fe is also able to provide free food after some services, giving away over 450 chickens and turkeys during the holidays.
The church also has a program called Explosive Evangelism, a type of street ministry that directly helps immigrants with free food, clothing, and haircuts. Outreaches are accompanied by live audio worship and clowns entertaining kids. Recently, the Lakeland police force partnered with Casa de Amor y Fe by donating toys. During an annual 21-day fast, more than 50 church adherents travel around the city of 106,000 on Saturdays, praying and worshipping.
Additionally, Casa de Amor y Fe provides support for a local shelter for battered women. Monthly, churchgoers visit a local prison, children’s home, and three nursing homes.
Fifteen years ago, Roberto and Waleska founded a program in a mountain region of Honduras to provide daily food for the indigenous Lenca people. In an area reachable only by foot or mule, the couple have created ponds filled with tilapia and opened a food pantry stocked with six months of food supplies that can feed almost 1,000 children per day.
The couple also stress the importance of healthy marriages and keeping families together through counseling. Healing Marriages, a three-month course they offer, regularly has more than 40 couples in attendance. Casa de Fe y Amor also holds an annual Woman of Influence conference, which draws over 1,000 attendees.
Source: AG News