Continually throughout history, we see how God, by His grace, chooses people to serve Him and bring glory to His Name. My life has been no exception. When I look back on my life and the conditions in which I was born and grew up, it is impossible for me to believe that God chose me to work in the ministry. Although my parents sent me to church every Sunday, they never gave me a genuine example of what it means to live an exemplary Christian life. Even so, God would use that to show me His grace and mercy.
As a 21-year-old college student, I was studying to be a civil engineer with the goal of achieving a career that would give me security and allow me to enjoy a comfortable life. Then, someone invited me to a camp that would change my outlook on life.
While at the camp, we talked about knowing more about the Lord and completely giving our lives to Him. I clearly felt God’s call on my life, and I wanted to know Him more. But, even though I had read the Bible for a long time, I could not understand it to the extent I wanted to.
The camp was called “Word of Life,” and it offered a training for leaders that lasted eight months. There, theology, evangelism, and leadership were studied, and it was a good opportunity to learn more about God and develop more spiritual disciplines in
For several months, I struggled with the idea of going and studying the Bible through the Word of Life program, because this involved taking a year-long break from the university. As I wrestled in my heart with not wanting to leave college and my friends, God gave me a stronger desire to go and study His Word. So, I finally started my theological studies and paused my secular studies. The Lord was transforming my life—replacing a pursuit of personal self-satisfaction with a desire to serve Him and live for His glory.
After graduating from the leadership program, I finished my university studies. But I knew I needed more theological preparation, so I came to the United States to study at the Rio Grande Bible Institute in Texas. My desire to enjoy a big house, to have a nice car, and to live a comfortable life had changed. Now, I wanted to know more about God and make Him known to others who live without hope.
During seminary, I was able to learn and grow in my knowledge of God. It was there that God allowed me to meet my beautiful wife, Kayla Gabbard Aguilar, and we’ve now been married for two years.
After our wedding, we came to the most beautiful city in the United States—Birmingham, Alabama. And after a series of interviews, I was accepted as the Assistant Hispanic Ministry Pastor at Brook Hills. My first full-time, ministry job could not have been better. The staff is amazing, always willing to support wherever needed. Many members of the church are now my friends, and I have both Spanish-speaking friends and American friends. Our community within the church has been incredible.
A few months into my new role, Pastor Torres, who was the main Pastor of the Hispanic Ministry, began to have health problems. As a result, I began to take on more responsibilities within the ministry—I began to preach weekly, to lead small groups, to plan programs and activities of evangelism and discipleship, and to plan the teaching series’.
Due to his health, Pastor Torres decided to retire. Without imagining it, and even without realizing it, I was developing pastor’s work for the Hispanic community. When I finally realized that God had brought me to Birmingham at this precise moment to continue the work Pastor Torres had begun, I felt unable to perform the task. I felt I lacked the necessary experience. My intention had always been to enter the ministry under the leadership of someone with experience who I could learn from.
However, my experiences over the past two years have helped me to understand several things in ministry. The first is that God chooses people not because of their ability, but because He is the one who trains. Second, the church is sustained not because we are great leaders, but because it is God who fuels the growth and He who adds to the church those who are to be saved (Acts 2:47). And finally, God will always put people in your path who also work for His kingdom, who help the pastors continue the work that God has entrusted to them. The staff and members of Brook Hills have been those people for me.
Being the director of the Hispanic Ministry allows me to serve my God through preaching and teaching, in the development of leaders, and even more so in taking the gospel from Birmingham to the ends of the earth. This past year, we had the opportunity to take a mission trip to India. Now, we continue to dream of spreading the good news in our city, in Latin America, and in unreached countries—fulfilling the command of our Lord given in Matthew 28.
Abner Aguilar was born and grew up in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. He and his wife, Kayla, first came to Brook Hills in 2016. He currently serves as Hispanic Pastor of Brook Hills.