Pastor / Teacher - Marin, Spain
Though Heber grew up as the son of an evangelical preacher, it was not until college that he abandoned all hope in his own perfermance to find salvation in Christ alone. Shortly after his conversion, his desire to teach God's Word grew and he was soon sent to The Master's Seminary in California to study for several years. He and his family have now returned to his home town in northern Spain where he is training leaders both locally as well as in the Berea Seminary in Leon. Through Grace Ministries International, HeartCry is helping Heber and his family with a portion of their monthly support.
Testimony of Conversion
My name is Heber Torres and I am from a town called Marin in the northwest part of Spain. Even though I was born and raised in a Christian home, I did not fully understand the gospel nor truly repent until my first year in college.
My dad has been a full time minister of the Gospel in Spain since I was very young (which is not very common), and as a little boy I always felt proud of being a “pastor’s kid.” I remember traveling with my dad when he visited different towns to preach the Gospel, thinking that one day I would do just the same thing! At that time, I did not know Christ, but it seemed to me an honorable duty to dedicate my life to serve God. I assumed that I had some kind of “special” access to God because of my dad’s service. In my teenage years I did not have any particular purpose in life. I was always involved in Church activities and really enjoyed going to Christian camps or being part of biblical contests. However, my heart was actually full of arrogance and I had a tremendous fear of dying.
When I began high school I was very active in youth ministries, but also felt very attracted to sinful activities. I lived a double life characterized by hypocrisy, thinking that I could get the most out of the church, while at the same time getting the most out of this world. I read the Bible merely as a duty and often rationalized my sins. I rarely told others about my beliefs for I was ashamed to speak about the Gospel, fearing that I would be rejected or become unpopular with my friends. I never showed any fruit of genuine repentance and continuously fell into the same sort of sins. Even though most people thought that I was a “good” kid, in the deepest part of my heart I knew that the Lord saw my iniquity and deception.
These thoughts became very annoying and bothered me all the time. Around that time, my dad had come back from the Shepherd’s Conference in Los Angeles with plenty of books in English. And he gave me one of those written by John MacArthur, called “Hard to Believe.” That book really confronted my thinking and challenged me to study the Bible more. One night I was unable to sleep and the words of the Lord in Matthew 6:24 came to my mind shocking me as never before: “No one can serve two masters.” Convicted of my sins, I cried to the Lord asking for forgiveness and, by God’s grace, I confessed Christ as my Lord and Savior. For the first time in my life, I truly understood that He is the Precious Lamb that took all my transgressions and guilt.
The Lord radically changed my soul. I was not fearful about eternal destiny anymore. My desires and goals had changed. I no longer feared men, but God. The reading of God´s Word became a delight and pleasing Christ was my daily goal. Looking back I cannot do anything else but praise the Lord for His great salvation, and my prayer is that He may use my life for His glory and the extension of His Kingdom.
Calling to Ministry
Right after the Lord saved me, I started a college degree in Journalism, but soon I became aware that there was no better news to communicate than the glorious message of Christ. Two years after my conversion, the passion I felt for sharing the Word of God with others led me to start teaching and preaching the Scriptures in my home Church. Yet, at the same time I realized that I was not fully equipped for that work. My elders agreed that I was not yet ready to begin a preaching ministry, but they also encouraged me in my desire for seminary training.
In 2010 David Robles, who is Spanish and graduated from The Master’s Seminary, encouraged me to travel and visit TMS in Los Angeles, California for the Shepherd´s Conference they were hosting. After that visit I shared with my fiancee Olga my desire to pursue seminary training, and I told her that I was seriously considering going into full time ministry. From the very first moment she was on board, and shared my desire to serve the Lord and His Church. A year later, and only three weeks after our wedding, we came to L.A. so that I could start an M.Div program at The Master´s Seminary. Since then, the Lord has never stopped showing His mercy and grace to us. I am so thankful to the Lord for an opportunity to get so many tools for a long life of service to Christ!
These past years have not only challenged me in several theological areas, but also in my character. In 2011 I began assisting pastor Henry Tolopilo with the Spanish ministries at Grace Community Church, and such a connection between the seminary and the local church has been key to my life. I have had the opportunity to actively serve in several ministries (preaching, evangelism, leading Bible studies, etc.) that have confirmed my desire of living my life as a witness of God´s mercy.
Coming from a context like Spain, where there is such a great need for the Gospel and sound doctrine, my heart has always been driven to return to Spain and proclaim Christ here. There is much work to do, but we praise the Lord for giving us the opportunity to serve Him in our home country, even though we are unworthy servants.
Ministry in Spain
Lord willing, my ministry will be developed essentially in two different cities of Spain: Marín and León. I will be living and serving day-to-day in my home church, the Evangelical Church of Marín. At the same time, I will be part of the faculty at Berea Seminary, the TMAI center for Spain.
The elders of the church in Marin have asked me to help them in three different ways: 1) regularly preaching and teaching in different meetings; 2) joining them to start a basic training program for leaders at the church, which will be for ministry leaders from several places who are sent to teach in different nearby churches every week; 3) visiting other cities nearby that do not have any sort of Christian presence in order to do evangelism in these places.
Regarding to Berea Seminary, the faculty of this TMAI center have asked me to join them in order to develop a Bible and Theology program (right now they are focused on expository preaching). The seminary is taught in a modular system, so the students get together for 8 condensed weekends each year. The distance between Marín and León is relatively small (a little over three hours), so I will be able to balance both ministries, serving at my home church and Berea.