We can safely say Hinesville is quite a distance from Camuy, Puerto Rico.
Pastor Miguel Rivera of the Iglesia Hispana Faro de Luz/Lighthouse Hispanic Church of Hinesville knows, as he is a native of Camuy.
“I arrived in Hinesville to visit my daughter, and while visiting a Hispanic church here, the pastor there gave me confirmation of message the Lord had given to me three months before of a change in my ministry,” he said.
Rivera, who has been a pastor for 20 years, subsequently established a church in Hinesville on May 19, 2005. Prior to coming to Hinesville, Rivera, a retired correctional officer and graduate of the Chaplain’s Council for the Assemblies of God, served as a pastor in Puerto Rico under the Assemblies of God for 14 years. He also served as chaplain for eight years in the rehabilitation center for drugs and alcohol called Teen-Challenge of Puerto Rico.
He and his wife of 38 years, Estela, an elementary-school teacher for 24 years in Puerto Rico, were missionaries to the Dominican Republic capital of Santo Domingo from 1991-2005.
“We helped to build a church,” he said. “Our ministry was for children, and we used puppets called The Jesus Friends.”
The Riveras have two children and one granddaughter.
Ministry runs in Rivera’s family. His late aunt, Ninfa, was a missionary for 45 years in Central and South America. He cited her as being his mentor and counselor during his early years of ministry. His late uncle, Reyes, was a pastor for 47 years and also was a strong mentor in his secular and spiritual life.
“I also recognize my overseer and pastor, M. L. Jackson, who has been my pastor for the last several years,” Rivera said. “A valuable servant of God with an independent spiritual vision, he is a man who I can lean on in difficult times. He is always available to exhort and provide support, as well as his wife, First Lady S. L. Jackson.”
Lighthouse Hispanic Church has various ministries in place such as the men’s ministry, women’s ministry, children and youth ministries, puppet ministry, mother’s unity intercession ministry, Christian education ministry, children’s church and the koinonia.
“Our koinonia ministry prepares and supervises the fellowship meal for all to enjoy,” he said.
Pastor Rivera describes his members as brothers and sisters full of God’s love who are committed to God and his work.
“The great family of the Lighthouse Hispanic Church maintains unity in all families by proclaiming the sovereignty of the Lord in all aspect of life,” he said. “We put into practice the unity that Scripture teaches us, expressing it effectively with true love to race, gender, color or nationality, because we are all equal in the sight of the Lord. All he asks is that we love one another.”
Rivera evangelizes in the area and at the prison in Glennville.
Rivera said his goals for 2013 are continuing to labor for the kingdom of God, winning souls for Christ, starting news ministries, training new leaders and helping communities in whatever way we can. He advises pastors and ministers to stay in the presence of God by fasting and praying and to follow his instructions, not by emotions but by his teaching and spiritual directions.
Service is at 2:30 p.m. each Sunday at 1370 Shaw Road in Hinesville.
Edith Anderson is the author of “Dare to Soar” and “Lack of Knowledge.”