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Calif. couple models Gospel urgency

INDIANAPOLIS (BP)–For Joel and Marina Jimenez, a pastor and wife from northern California, the words of North American Mission Board President Geoff Hammond tugged at their hearts.

“Time is running out and the need is urgent,” Hammond said at NAMB’s National Hispanic Celebration June 8. “Let’s partner together to fulfill the Great Commission with urgency -– to glory of God!”

The couple is living out those words as Joel Jimenez, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Emanuel in Salinas, Calif., delivers a message to gang members. And in their personal lives, although Marina Jimenez went through a successful heart transplant operation 10 years ago, doctors have told her that her heart is failing. If she doesn’t have a new heart by September, the mother of three girls is not expected to survive.

Despite the sobering news, the couple said at the celebration they feel an urgency to share the Gospel, even if it meant traveling to Indianapolis to participate in Crossover’08, the evangelistic outreach prior to the SBC’s annual meeting, and to continue to tell the story of outreach to gangs in such at settings as the NAMB celebration.

“Grace has been very important to me lately,” Marina said in an interview with Baptist Press. “If I have any strength, it is because of prayer. God has revealed to me not to worry since others are praying for me.”

With what could be only months to live, Marina said she intends to share her faith in as many venues as possible.

“I decided not to wallow in self-pity nor in anyone else’s pity. I want to make the most of everything that I feel will increase my blessing of life,” Marina said. “We are going through the valley of the shadow of death and telling others about our hope through it all. We have believed that all things work together for good for those in God’s will. We have the will to go on and reflect our beliefs with our lives.”

At the celebration, Joel Jimenez said he did not want to minimize the importance of spending time with his wife and children and is trusting God to be in control, whatever the future holds.

“There are many out there who are going to hell if someone does not share Jesus with them in time,” Jimenez said.

In an emotional time of prayer, Enio Aguero, a NAMB national missionary, asked Richard Vera, a leader from California, to pray for the Jimenez family and for God to work out His will in Marina’s life.
David Raul Lema Jr. is director of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s Center for the Americas in Miami and a correspondent for Baptist Press. Joel and Marina Jiminez can be reached at [email protected] for prayer and support.

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  • David Raul Lema Jr.