No Relationship is Hopeless

Married couple finds Christ, plants churches

January 6, 2020

Manuel and Rosa at their Church Planter Training graduation.

Rosa and Manuel were married in Mexico when Rosa was only 15 years old. Struggling to make a living, Manuel immigrated to California and Rosa followed soon after. They have four children, two sons and two daughters.

Their life was far from blissful. Manuel drank heavily, argued with his wife, and fought with his sons. “We almost divorced many times, we had a very difficult life,” Rosa remembers. But she did not want to lose her family. Her sister, a believer, told her that they needed Jesus.

Rosa began to attend a local church against Manuel’s wishes. “He would beat me if I went to church,” she says. He even left for days in protest of her newfound faith.

As their marriage was crumbling, their two sons began using drugs. Then Manuel was diagnosed with prostate cancer, forcing him to quit his job. He started to illegally sell alcohol to make ends meet. “I did not see it as wrong even though it was illegal. I just knew we had to feed our children,” he says.

At her breaking point, Rosa accepted Jesus as her Savior and began to fervently pray for her husband. She knew if he didn’t change, she would be forced to leave. “I wanted another life,” she says. “I was tired of our routines and discouraged by his behavior.” After weeks of prayer, Manuel agreed to attend church. At the end of the service, the couple cried at the altar and Manuel accepted Jesus into his heart.

Manuel and Rosa with their materials.

The couple spent the next 25 years serving in the church, then did missionary work in Baja, California. In September 2019, the couple graduated from Church Planter Training. Their goal is to plant a church in Williams, California, an area plagued with gang activity, drug abuse, and human trafficking. “We can relate to families fighting and those realities because our sons were involved in those worlds,” Rosa explains.

The couple has started their outreach by talking with people at a local flea market and inviting them into their home for Project Philip Bible studies. “We want to reach 4,000 people in a city of 6,000,” Manuel says. “Please pray for us as we work in Williams. It is very dangerous and requires a lot of courage.”

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