Hoping for help
As more members of Storm Lake's Hispanic community turn to religion as a staple of everyday life, leaders of a local Spanish speaking church are asking for the community's help in expanding to accommodate an ever-growing congregation.
Juan and Maria Garcia, pastors of Comunidad Cristiana De Storm Lake, are asking citizens of Storm Lake and surrounding communities for help in securing a larger facility to support the young and continuously growing church. In its three years, CCSL has grown from a congregation of 12 members in 1999 to a current number of 180 Spanish and English speaking worshipers, along with five English translators.
The Garcias said that, despite the good fortune brought about by the growth in congregation, facilities at the Faith United Assembly of God church, from which CCSL leases space, are simply not large enough to accommodate the church.
"We have the largest Spanish speaking congregation in Storm Lake, and we are running out of room," Maria said. "It's very important that we have enough space to meet our needs."
Located approximately one-and-a-half miles north of Storm Lake on Business Highway 71, CCSL is attempting to secure an 18-acre rural property consisting of three buildings and one larger warehouse where the Garcias wish to construct a church with a capacity of over 240 worshipers. In order to purchase the property, CCSL must acquire $61,000 for a down payment, plus $11,000 to turn the warehouse into a church.
The Garcias said that, despite the large lump sum, the community can help in making the vision come true.
"People are already giving," Maria said. "Many families in our congregation have been making the promise to give, but we need more. As a church, we hold in our hands the difference of how many families will be affected, so this is important."
Since arriving to take the helm of CCSL in August 1999 after 13 years of serving in ministries throughout Texas, Juan and Maria Garcia have continued to increase CCSL's size merely by word of mouth. The two have also implemented specialized religious programs such as men's and women's Bible study, youth Sunday School, and "Royal Rangers," a youth program for children which the Garcias describe as "Like Boy Scouts with Bible teachings."
"The word of God affects everyone in our church," Juan said. "It influences how to raise children and have a successful marriage. We believe the church has the ability to raise good citizens."
While the CCSL congregation plans to hold numerous fundraisers in hopes funding for the property, the community's help is strongly requested in saving the church.
"We believe that all people who help us will be blessed greatly by God, and any contribution at all will help a lot of families," Maria said. "That is why, in anticipation, we say 'Thank you.'"
Those with questions may contact CCSL at 732-5161. Donations may be sent to CCSL, P.O. Box 1212, Storm Lake, IA 50588.