By DAVID AMBRO
The Smithtown News
THE COMMUNITY´S WEEKLY NEWSPAPER
During an interview at the temple Tuesday, May 28, Pastor Raymond Jaquez, who founded Ministerio Jesucristo Vive with his wife, Pastor Monica Jaquez, said the Smithtown building is the latest of many addresses the ministry has
occupied since he came to Long Island from Queens in 2000 to spread the word of God. During the interview, Pastor Jaquez forecast the largest religious revival in the world is about to occur in the United States, and he predicts
that it is only a matter of time before his parish also outgrows the Edgewood Avenue building, which can seat 1,000 parishioners.
“I believe that Smithtown needs us,” Pastor Jaquez said. “There is a lot of wealth here, but there is still a lot of depression, and we are here to support this community 100 percent.”
Ministerio Jesucristo Vive had intended to hold a 7.9-mile walk from Central Islip to Smithtown with about 100 marchers, two fl oats and two
vehicles, praying for unity, peace and revival along the way. The route is from Islip Avenue, to Olive Street, to Joshua Path to Wheeler Road, to Townline Road, to Brooksite Drive to Edgewood Avenue. Based on safety concerns from the Suffolk County Police Department, however, the Smithtown Town Board denied a permit for the march.
Central Islip parish makes pilgrimage to Smithtown June 1
Pastor Jaquez said his objective is to be a good neighbor, so he understands the safety concerns expressed by police about the march. “You have to create friends, not enemies,” he said. “The idea was to pray from one point to the other, but they were concerned about safety and we understand that.”
“This is our neighborhood now and we have to respect the neighbors,” Pastor Jaquez said. “If we are to be a torch for God, we have to respect the rules.”
In response, the ministry will drive the route at 20 miles per hour in a small convoy with a single police patrol car escort. They will leave Central Islip at noon and arrive at 433 Edgewood Avenue sometime between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Pastor Jaquez said that when he came to Long Island from Queens he started a family prayer group in a small house and in three weeks it was full beyond capacity. He moved to larger accommodations on Grant Avenue and again it was full to capacity in a short time. Next he began holding services at the Sheraton Long Island Hotel on Motor Parkway, and within eight months exceeded the capacity of the space.
Pastor Jaquez then began renting space at the Word of Jesus Worship Center on Lincoln Avenue in Holbrook while he searched for a new home. He eventually bought the building at 1417 Islip Avenue, a site used by prostitutes and drug addicts. While they renovated the Central Islip building the Word of Jesus Worship Center allowed the ministry to hold its services there rent free.
“They were at the Sheraton and were exceeding their capacity, so we said ‘Come and share our sanctuary, use our facility,’ and they did and they grew and grew and it was amazing,” said Word of Jesus Worship Center Pastor Tom Carey. “When they left they had no chairs for their building in Central Islip, so we gave them the chairs from our fellowship hall. We had to eat standing up for awhile, until we got new chairs, but they needed them so we gave them our chairs.”
In Central Islip, Pastor Jaquez began holding two Sunday services a week, 8 a.m. and 11 a.m., and they were immediately full to capacity, about 500 parishioners at each service. They also started a food pantry which has provided meals to 23,000 people in the Central Islip area, which will continue to operate there even after the move to Smithtown. They also began a religious school for youths, which will be relocated to Smithtown.
Pastor Raymond Jaquez was born in the Dominican Republic and came to the United States when he was 12 years old. He received a business degree from Suffolk Community College and he is presently the president of New York Ice Tea Products of Gicco, New York.
Pastor Monica Jaquez was born in Colombia. She attended University of San Buenaventura in Cali to become a pre-school teacher. She came to the United States in 1996, and that year met and married her husband.
Pastor Jaquez said during more than a decade that he has built his church he and his wife have also sent out other families to start churches in Queens, Riverhead, Shirley and New Jersey. He said that in November 2012 they fi rst learned that the building at 433 Edgewood Avenue was available, and they become one of fi ve interested buyers.
Pastor Jaquez said the acquisition has been the work of God and the Holy pirit. He said that with a debt in his bank account of $5,000 he signed to buy the building. The next day representatives of the temple came to see his books and he told them that he had nothing, which stirred some concern considering that he had signed to pay the fi rst 20%, $500,000, prior to the closing.
The ministry held an initial fundraiser that brought in $200,000, then another that brought in $75,000, and is now up to $400,000 for the down payment. For information about the ministry or to make a donation visit jesucristovive.com. With $100,000 left to go, Pastor Jaquez said the fundraising is only a formality because God has provided the building to the congregation.
He expressed admiration for the Jewish organization that has allowed his ministry to buy the building, and said that Temple Beth Sholom, although it offered to leave, will be provided with the sanctuary for a Saturday service
free of charge for as long as it likes. He said Ministerio Jesucristo Vive even changed its service schedule from Friday and Sunday to Wednesday and Sunday to accommodate the Temple Beth Sholom service.
The building is 78,000-squarefeet on 2.8 acres. Pastor Jaquez said the temple congregation voted by a 3-1 plurality to sell the property to Ministerio Jesucristo Vive and his congregation moved into the building April 7. At the fi rst service, he said, the parking lot was fi lled beyond capacity.
He said every service they are seeing 20 to 30 new people.
Pastor Jaquez xpects the real estate closing to take place within the next two months. He said the ministry intends to partner with Temple Beth Sholom to reopen a religious school in September.
“I see this building as a treasure from God and something that should be preserved for future generations,” Pastor Jaquez said. “It is a blessing for us, but we will continue to grow.”
“It is a stop on his journey. It is not his fi nal destination,” Pastor Carey said.
Pastor Carey said that Pastor Jaquez is different than your ordinary lergyman in that he is developing disciples and branching out with leadership teams to spread the word of God and do the work of the revival that he envisions. He said the services are all bilingual, Spanish by the Pastors Jaquez and translated into English, all of the services videotaped and transmitted by streaming video on the internet.