Back in the country where I was born, I was a devoted and faithful Catholic; at least that is what I thought. I attended church faithfully at least twice a year, Easter and Christmas. The Gospel of Jesus Christ was unknown to me.
Because of the civil war in the country, I was forced to leave to save my life. When I came to the United States of America, I was invited to church by my brother. To my surprise, we went to a church that didn’t have the statues of the saints around the building, nor did it have the crucified Christ at the center. I thought, well, this is another country and they do things differently here. My brother, who had come to the USA about six months before me, had gone to a Billy Graham crusade and had received Christ as his Savior and was attending this church. At this church, I heard the Gospel for the first time.
I received Christ as my personal Savior three months later. Since that moment, I have felt a deep desire to share with others the new freedom that I experienced. God gave me grace and many people also accepted Jesus as their Savior, and this led us to start a new church. I enrolled in a Bible institute and continued sharing Christ and helping in the local church. Within a few years, we had started another church, and I became the pastor of it. Since then, we have started nine churches and participate in helping to start seven more churches.
I have seen first-hand how God transformed the lives of thousands of people when they accepted Jesus as their personal Savior and seeing many of them dedicating their lives to serve God as pastors here in the USA and other countries. I cannot say that coming to the USA saved my life and the lives of all those people, but I can say that God used this country and their missionaries for me to come to a saving knowledge of Christ and to share Him with others that are in desperate need of a Savior.
I know that this story is not the only one because many people coming to this country have heard of Jesus here and have been transformed as I was. I don’t know if I or any of those thousands of people would have become Christians if we had not come to this country, but I know with certainty that immigrating to this country is what God used to reach me and to reach those with whom I have shared Christ.
Jesús Muñoz is director of Ethnic Ministries for Encompass World Partners. A native of El Salvador, he came to the U.S. in 1980. He has been instrumental in helping establish new ethnic congregations in the Charis Fellowship.