Ministry of Luis and Flor Retamal, Baptisms were celebrated at a gathering of Chicago-area Hispanic Churches.
By Stan Friedman Photographs by: Meztli Doles | August 24, 2018
LAKE GENEVA, WI (August 24, 2018) – One by one they let their pastors lower them backwards beneath the waters of Lake Geneva and then raise them again back into the sunlight – smiling, laughing, arms to the sky, praising – a testimony to the power of God who had raised them from death to life.
Some 40 men, women, and young people from Hispanic Covenant Churches in the Chicago area were baptized during the congregations’ annual gathering at Covenant Harbor Bible Camp and Retreat Center last Sunday.
Among the pastors performing the baptisms was Luis Retamal, pastor of Iglesia del Pacto Evangelico Grace in Chicago. It was in this lake 41 years ago during the first gathering that he was baptized. He is retiring this year, and Sunday’s baptisms were the last he would do there as a pastor.
In that first year, there were only a “table full” of attendees, said Flor Retamal, Luis’s wife. They needed a lot more tables this year: Attendance has grown to nearly 450 people, who savored a day of worship and leisure activities.
They also took time to honor the Retamals, who have been influential in the growth of Hispanic churches around Chicago, having led multiple ministries and mentored pastors.
“It has all been by God’s grace,” Flor said.
Gregorio Martinez, pastor of Iglesia del Pacto Evangelico El Buen Pastor, the newest Hispanic congregation, preached on Sunday. “It was a privilege” to preach at the same service when the Retamals were honored.
The two-year-old church plant meets at Anchor Covenant Church here. Other Chicago churches that participated were Iglesia del Pacto Evangelico Peniel, Iglesia del Pacto Evangelico Vida Plena, and Iglesia del Pacto Evangelico Jerusalem.
The baptisms were the highpoint of the day for many in attendance. Martinez said, “We testify that we still believe in God, we still believe in the church, we still believe in heaven.”