Pastor calls new debt-free building ‘a miracle’

By Troy Hill | Aug 17, 2021

Jorge Moreira is pastor of Iglesia Bautista Ríos en el Desierto, a church in the little town of Quartzsite near the border of Arizona and California. On top of doing ministry in two languages, he helped to fundraise and construct a new church building for his community, doing much of the footwork and labor himself.

He became pastor of the Quartzsite church four years ago, but he didn’t start work on the building until two years later.

When the church decided to build, they had $0 and faced a total construction cost of about $120,000, Moreira said. But he was happy to note that they do not owe any money from the construction since they’ve finished.

Some of the earliest help the church received was a site grant from the Arizona Mission Offering, which provided $20,000.

“It was a lot of help,” Moreira said. “I really appreciated the grant.”

Quartzsite Southern Baptist Church donated $5,000, and two members of Quartzsite Southern Baptist Church each matched the church’s amount, bringing the total to $15,000. River Valley Mission Network also donated $5,000.

The rest of the funds came from Moreira fundraising in the community, or members of the community donating just because they supported Moreira’s cause.

“Different people and donations [are what paid for the building] — people donating $1,000, people donating $5,000, people donating $1, people donating $10. I mean, this is a miracle. So I did it by faith,” Moreira said.

At the time that a hired contractor started building the shell of the building, Moreira didn’t have the funds necessary to complete it.

“I said, ‘I don’t have the rest of the money right now, but I will,’” he said. “A week later, people just knocked on the door of the church and started to come up with some money. [They] said, ‘The Lord sent me to give you this, this envelope.’”

Moreira said he didn’t think that it was “incredible” because he believes in God’s promises when He makes them. God owns all of the wealth in the world, so “$120,000 is nothing for Him,” Moreira said.

After the shell of the building was finished, Moreira did all of the interior work himself, from drywall to fixtures to the carpeting.

He is the full-time pastor at Ríos En El Desierto, but he doesn’t take a salary, because his church can’t support him. In order to support his family, he also works full time as a handyman.

‘I do a little bit of everything,” he said. “That’s why I worked on the church.”

Pastor Moreira also ministers to his community in both Spanish and English.

“We started as just a Spanish church originally, but for some reason, the Lord called me to do both languages,” he said.

He started to take on English ministries about a year ago. Currently, he splits up the language services by the day — a Spanish service on Saturday and an English service on Sunday.

Despite having so much on his plate, Moreira said he feels very blessed.

“I have to work for my family, to support my family, so that’s what makes me feel more blessed from the Lord that — I am really, really busy having the two ministries plus working on my own,” he said. “I do feel overwhelmed, but I feel like I haven’t really, really suffered like Jesus … But what can I do? The only thing that I can do is go and ask Him to give me strength to continue on, on the job that He gave me.”

Moreira said he’s excited to engage with the community even more.

“I think the building is being used pretty well,” he said. “That’s the reason why we opened for both languages, because the building is for everybody and anybody. So, if God opened it up, it was with a purpose. You know it’s not only for the Spanish side, because [we’re] going by what the Word of God says, ‘to preach to every creature.’”

Troy Hill, a student at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is a member of Mercy Hill Church in Phoenix.

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