Gerardo Manrique is the gifted guitarist who, together with Marcela and Carlos, provides the music every Sunday at the Emmanuel Park Church service. A native of Peru, Gerardo has lived in the US since 2000. Although Gerardo was raised in the Catholic tradition, he never felt that he was in “communion with God” until he joined the EPC congregation.

 

In 2020, Gerardo’s fiancée, Marcela, invited him to join her at a service at the Park. Marcela was the vocalist leading music at the Park worship services. Almost immediately, Gerardo had ideas about how to strengthen the music program, especially the audio equipment. Pastor Will invited him to join the musicians on the stage and Gerardo accepted. At first, Gerardo saw his Sunday musical duties as “work” but soon he realized that he and his fellow musicians were worshipping through their music. As time went on, his relationship with Pastor Will deepened; today he considers Will to be not only a mentor but also a brother.

“he never felt that he was in “communion with God” until he joined the EPC congregation.”

What Gerardo loves about being a Lutheran is that, unlike his experiences with Catholic priests, the Lutheran pastor shares knowledge and understanding about God without pushing or applying pressure. In his own life now, when Gerardo talks about his faith with family and friends, he tells people how God has blessed him, but he does not push anyone else to believe or behave a certain way. And he has noticed that this act of sharing has a strong positive impact on others.

 

When Gerardo reflects on the last two years, he attributes his many blessings to the lessons Pastor Will has shared and the knowledge he has gleaned from Marcela. More recently he has been reading and studying the Scriptures. A few months ago, he started having a series of dreams that seemed to show him the path he needed to take to rid himself of the bad pieces of his life and to embrace a life in which he belongs to God. In the most recent dream in the series, he saw himself defending his life against the forces of evil. In his dream he knew that with God’s strength, he would win. Soon after the dream, he was in a serious car accident on the Florida Turnpike which could easily have been fatal. Instead, he walked away from the wreckage. A few days later, at the end of last year, he met with Pastor Will and asked to be baptized into the church. Gerardo says that since getting baptized and joining the church, God has showered him with blessings. He feels like he has bought “a one-way ticket to heaven.”

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