By Mickey Mallory – Denver, Colorado … Several new pastors recently joined our ministerial family at Rocky Mountain Conference. What follows is an introduction in their own words:
Brooke Melendez is the part-time associate pastor at the Adventure Church in Greeley, Colorado. Brooke’s greatest passion in ministry is helping people feel valued and to understand that they belong. According to Brooke, “one of the most beautiful parts about ministry for me is seeing people come to terms with and let go of the baggage that has held them back for so long. Sometimes, it’s beliefs about God that are burdensome, and sometimes it’s beliefs about themselves that are heavy. The freedom and joy that people experience when they come to know who God is and who they truly are because of Jesus is overwhelming in the most positive way possible.”
As the wife of Adventurer lead pastor Ricky Melendez, Brooke shared the one thing that impressed her and Ricky the most about their church: how much the people there loved Jesus and were committed to him being the focus of their church and lives. According to Brooke, “They didn’t care so much about all the peripheral things as they did the Main Thing (Jesus).”
Since starting at the Adventure Church, Brooke says, “It seems like every week there have been a number of things that continue to surprise and excite Ricky and me about the Adventure Church. It has been a delight to feel like we really fit in with our church and can be ourselves with them.”
Leandro Bizama is the associate pastor of evangelism and worship at the Campion Church in Loveland, Colorado. He and his wife, Jennifer, and kids moved to the Campion Church at the end of December. Leandro’s greatest passion is “to help mentor the next generation of worship/music leaders who will guide an inter-generational church in the true worship of the living God in the last days and to inspire all to live a life of service and meet the needs of those around them to allow the gospel truth to flow through them so that the Spirit can use them to bring more people to Christ.”
Coming from a teaching background, Leandro shared, “It was a very difficult decision [to make the move to Campion Church] because I love Adventist education and youth ministry. In the middle of that stressful time when we were trying to figure out God’s will for our lives, I prayed sort of in desperation, “I’d be willing to do anything as long as I know it is your will.” In my heart, I heard Him say, “Are you sure?” “Yes,” I responded and received a certainty of peace. That same day, “randomly,” two different churches reached out to me for the same type of worship pastor position. I had to pursue the conversation at the very least. Later, when we saw that there was a strong community who loved kids and youth and Adventist education, we made the decision to accept the call. Simply said, God answered our prayers for direction in very special and miraculous ways.”
Of all the things that Leandro likes about his new position at the Campion Church, he especially appreciates that “there is so much opportunity and [so many] possibilities in a church with a strong sense of community and a great leadership and spiritual team in the church and in both schools.”
Leonardo Jiminez is the new lead pastor of the Montrose Hispanic, Pagosa Springs Hispanic, and the Durango Hispanic churches. He and his wife, Wendy Medina, moved here from the Denver area.
Leonardo’s greatest joy in ministry is working with people and for people and seeing them give themselves to Christ, change their lifestyle, and live a life full of hope. According to Leonardo, “I am passionate when I have to preach to others about the love of Christ and his transforming power and tell them about the wonders I have seen in my life and the great things that he can also do in their lives and family.”
The main thing that motivated him to accept the call to serve the churches in the Montrose district was the call that he received from an early age to preach the gospel and to help others in their preparation for heaven. According to Leonardo, “Knowing that Christ is coming for the second time and that there is no time to waste led him and his wife to be willing to come to this country. In the same way, we have asked God to show us where to go, and through prayer and hope, God has now given us the opportunity to go to these places.”
Since his arrival, his most exciting discovery is the time he has had with the first elder of the Church of Montrose and his family. According to Leonardo, they have shown him disposition and love for the work of God. The church is a motivating church full of youth leadership. He and his wife feel very excited to be able to serve in a community of people so beautiful and full of Christian love and willing to serve God and his Church.
Daniele Fantoni is the new lead pastor of the Alamosa, Monte Vista, and Pagosa Springs churches. Daniele, and his wife Nayeli Cabrera, arrived in late February from Andrews University. Daniele’s greatest passion is knowing and bringing out the best in people and looking at them with the same loving eyes of God.
According to Daniele, “It was a great surprise when I was offered the pastor position for a three-church district. I was afraid of this possibility, but this was the only viable offer for me by God. So I trusted him and, despite my hesitation, I visited the district. What reassured me and led me to accept definitively, in addition to many prayers, was the welcome of the community and their genuine desire to know me. I saw their willingness to work together and the great potential of the district. Eventually, I put my fears aside and just desired to help this community and do great things with them for the glory of God.”
Since Daniele’s arrival, his most exciting discovery is how God has confirmed his call to pastoral ministry. According to Daniele, “After just one week of work and getting to know people, I realized that pastoral ministry was my vocation.”
Edrey Santos is the new part-time lead pastor of the Castle Rock Church as of February 1. He and his wife, Bobbi, come to us from the Denver area where he served as a chaplain at Porter Hospital. Edrey’s greatest passion in ministry is “the Christian journey and the fellowship that come as a consequence of loving God’s people.”
According to Edrey, the reason he was attracted to Castle Rock Church was “the eagerness and overall excitement of the church members to reach out to the community, but most of all, their willingness to recreate the church’s identity.” He is especially excited about partnering with Castle Rock Hospital to do ministry.
Since being at the Castle Rock Church, Edrey shared that his greatest discovery so far has been “the church members’ desire to recreate their identity, [which] has really shown forth through their willingness to work together, to bring forth fresh ideas, and [their] being receptive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Personally, for me, I had some initial fears since I’ve been away from church ministry for 14 years. However, because of the helpfulness of the church family, I am humbled to see a strong desire to grow collectively. And that’s such an awesome feeling! God’s love is truly evident!”
“May we remember these pastors and their congregations in our prayers. We should pray, especially, for the Holy Spirit to be poured out on their ministry. We are blessed to have them in the Rocky Mountain Conference,” commented Mickey Mallory.
–Mickey Mallory is RMC ministerial director; photos supplied