Testimony of Conversion
My name is David Josué Araujo Riera, I am 37 years old (September 1985). I am married since 2009 with Beximar Thairy Vargas Salas, and father of two beautiful children: Estaban David, 9 years old and Elizabeth Grace, 4 years old (2018).
By the Grace of God, I had the privilege of being born in a home where there was a fear of God, not in a perfect way, but in a sincere way. In fact, my dear father: Baltazar Araujo, was at one time a pastor, missionary and preacher in several cities in Venezuela, which made my upbringing not only under the biblical principles, but also a lover of missions through my godly parents.
Since I was a child I was always involved in all kinds of activities in the Christian churches that I got to attend with my family, from children’s choirs, children’s theater to being a helper in vacation bible schools, among other activities.
In my teenage years, when I reached high school, and even though I attended regularly and was involved in a Christian church, even learning to play musical instruments and was part of the church band I belonged to, I admit that I did not live in genuine fear of God; I lived a double life, a pharisaical and hypocritical life, in the sexual realm, that is, I was privately indulging in immoral pornography and sexual practices of which I am completely ashamed of today.
Although I knew a little about the doctrines of grace, since my father knew them in 1989 and always helped my brother and I to be critical of the teachings given in the churches we became members of, it was not until 2010, that is, a year after I got married (2009) that God confronted me, when I dedicated myself to study the doctrines of grace.
This initiative to study the doctrines of grace in that year was due to a controversy that was generated in a course of evangelism that I and my wife attended that year, in which the person who was teaching began to harshly criticize Pastor John MacArthur, labeling him a heretic for holding the doctrine of unconditional election, to which I, knowing a little of that doctrine, I began to refute that man causing commotion and problems, on the one hand in the church, being labeled contemptuously as “Calvinist”; and on the other hand with my wife who thought I was crazy to defend that doctrine.
This situation made me to study the doctrines of grace which the more I studied and deepened more conviction of sin generated in me, only by the mercy of God operated a real change in my being, that is, the new birth, understanding, no longer in my mind but in my heart, that I was really lost and hopeless for being a sinner, that I only deserved eternal damnation for having broken God’s commandments and for living ungodly and hypocritically, but understanding also that God sent his Son Jesus Christ to pay the price for sin, and that he being the only way to the Father I then went to Christ in repentance, feeling deep shame and sorrow before him for offending him with my way of life but also recognizing his saving grace.
From that moment on I have persevered in the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ by the blessed Grace of God. Therefore, today I can truly say that I am a new creature, born again, Christ saved me, I trust in his word that he who comes to him, he does not cast him out and I want with all the strength of my heart to be faithful to him, to obey him in everything, and to be useful to his kingdom until the end of my days.
Call to Ministry
Since I was a child, being the son of a pastor and missionary, I was in contact with pastoral work. Watching my father read books, pray, study and spend time with brothers and sisters in conversation always caught my attention and somehow planted in me the desire to be and do what my father was and did.
However, during my teenage years my desires changed, now I wanted to follow the path of music, to be a professional musician, to have a rock band and to be famous, although interestingly always in a Christian environment.
In fact, my knowledge of the scriptures due to my upbringing made me gifted in teaching, so in the churches I attended I was always involved and developing in the areas of music and teaching, in fact, I became a church music director at a very young age (18 years old) and a youth and teen teacher in the church I was serving at the time (Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church) where I was considered a mature young man.
However, I did not have in my heart a desire to be a pastor, but to be useful both in the area of music and in teaching, as a preaching musician. But when that event happened in 2010 that led me to study the doctrines of grace and be born again in a true way, a genuine desire to serve the Lord in teaching was awakened, not necessarily as a pastor, but as a teacher leaving aside my musical pretensions, I dedicated myself to study and take advantage of the area I had (teacher of youth and teenagers) to teach the doctrines of grace.
Unfortunately, in October 2011, I had to resign, along with a group of people who had embraced the doctrines of grace, to the membership of the church in which I was serving as music director and teacher of youth and teenagers to keep the peace of that local church, which strongly rejected the reformed faith. And it is at that moment where the group that we had left asked both me and brother Luis Muñoz (the other pastor of the Reformed Baptist church of Barquisimeto and who also preached in the fundamentalist Baptist church from which we left), to be in charge of the teaching, and so we were until in the year 2013 we organized as a church and the following year 2014 both brother Luis and myself were considered by the membership of the new church to enter the process of evaluation and ordination as pastors which was carried out by the elders of another Reformed Baptist church in Venezuela.
So, in August 2014 we were ordained as official pastors of the Reformed Baptist Church of Barquisimeto (IBRB), at that time counting with a membership of 14 people, and a year later (2015) the membership grew to 20 and incredibly, although we were few, we could the economic capacity to support a pastor, at that time it was decided to support Pastor Luis, since I and worked as a music teacher in a school, but in 2017, one of the years of major economic crisis in Venezuela I decided to leave the job as a teacher, not so much to devote myself full time to the ministry but to devote myself to informal trade, where my wife made sweets and cakes and I sold them (since as a teacher the salary was no longer enough, and this commercial activity generated more income at that time).
Although this economic activity allowed me to have more time to devote to the ministry, unfortunately the family economy suffered a lot because of the shortage of products and my wife could no longer make the sweets, at that time I was thinking of leaving the ministry and emigrate to another country to support the family, however, providentially we were contacted by a Venezuelan family who were in another country and we were supported by them until the end of 2019 until the beginning of 2019, so basically I am dedicated to the work of the Lord full time since 2017 simply by the will of God alone.