Missionary Ripple Effect
Luis Rojas lost his father when he was only four years old. Growing up in Tolota, Colombia, wasn’t easy and the family was faced with many hardships. However, in the midst of this hard time, hope entered their lives, bringing new life and a vision for a better future. A neighbor introduced them to Jesus and shared God’s love with them.
As the family rejoiced in their newfound faith, a passion for ministry began to burn in Rojas’s heart. He wanted to bring hope to others and impact their lives just as his had been impacted. He was determined to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone he could.
When Rojas was 16, he attended an Adventist vocational institute in Los Llanos, Colombia known as Instival. Instival allows students to work on campus in order to pay for their tuition fees and in addition to earning their education, they were taught how to give Bible studies and teach others about the love of God.
During this time, a young missionary from Washington state travelled with his family to serve at Instival for a time. Rojas became acquainted with the missionary while they worked in the welding and mechanic shop and Rojas remembers learning about hard work, punctuality, and trusting in God during their time together.
Defeating the language barrier, they got to know each other pretty well over time. Rojas shared details of his upbringing and the challenges in his life. The missionary mentored Luis along his faith walk and encouraged him to continue his high school education and pursue a college degree.
Rojas finished high school and was presented with an amazing opportunity. The missionary knew of a position available at Eden Valley Wellness Institute in Loveland, Colorado, that would teach Rojas more about serving others through health ministry. He invited Rojas to pursue the opportunity and was instrumental in making it a reality. Little did the missionary know that this simple connection was just the beginning of one of many doors that would provide a young man with a difficult background means to access higher education and impact many people along the way.
In Colorado, Rojas learned about natural remedies and their impact on health and wholeness. He also served as a lay pastor for a few Spanish-speaking Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Greely and Loveland, Colorado. He was invited to work as the first Spanish-speaking Bible worker and translator for Kenneth Cox’s evangelistic campaigns in El Paso, Texas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. Since then, Rojas has never stopped sharing the gospel, reaching thousands of people and bringing them to the Lord.
After working with Cox, Rojas became a missionary in the Amazon jungles of Venezuela for a year. His ministry took him to Chile, where he continued his education and, in 1996, graduated with a theology degree from Universidad Adventista de Chile.
Rojas went on to serve as the union evangelist for the Ecuadorian Union of Seventh-day Adventists for several years. He then served as director for Adventist Development and Relief Agency in Ecuador. Rojas’s ministry has taken him to serve in seven countries, pastoring nearly 40 churches and small congregations, 16 of which he has served during his most recent time in Texas.
Rojas attributes all of his accomplishments to God for putting key people in his life to encourage him and provide him with the connections that would propel him to become a missionary and a minister. “Whenever you get in contact with a young person you never know what impact you will have in their life,” he says. For Rojas, it was a life-altering connection. When thinking back about his journey, Rojas says he is “in awe of all the things God has allowed me to do and of the ways he has used me in his work.”
“Working with community is my joy,” Rojas declares, “and helping them capture the vision that God has for them is what I live for.”
Darling Michelle Rojas is a writer and journalism graduate of La Sierra University in Riverside, California. She lives in Dallas, Texas.
Luis Rojas is the pastor of the Houston Spanish Alief and Houston Spanish Love Seventh-day Adventist Churches. He lives in Houston, Texas with his wife Luz. They have three daughters: Mavis, Lizned, and Darling Michelle.