When Pastor Ray Jaramillo moved the Calvary Chapel Rio Grande Valley into the former Wal-Mart building in Belen last April, he prayed that the famous line from the movie “Field of Dreams” would be true.
And it has.
“We designed our sanctuary so our entire congregation could be there at one time,” Jaramillo said of the 500-seat auditorium. “We’ve already outgrown that space. We have doubled our Sunday attendance in six months.”
The church is averaging 800 adults and 300 children attending Sunday services and classes. “Nearly 1,200 adults and 400 children come through our doors during the week, when we include our Wednesday services,” the founder of the church said.
“We currently have two services each Sunday (9 a.m. and 11 a.m.). Beginning Easter Sunday, we will have three services. Tentatively, we have set the times at 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.”
With the completion of phase one by Easter Sunday, the renovation is on track at the church. The 500-seat sanctuary, classrooms and bookstore/coffee shop are completed.
“Our next phase of building will be a sanctuary with seating for between 1,300 and 1,500 people,” Jaramillo said. “Once it is done, we will turn our current sanctuary into a children’s sanctuary.”
An additional 10 classrooms will be included in the second phase.
During the last 12 months, Jaramillo and his congregation have received a great lesson in God’s power, according to Jaramillo. “Where God guides, God provides,” the pastor said of the donations which have made the renovations come into existence.
“We still want to build a youth center with a recreation area in the back part of the building to give the youth a place to come and play basketball, skateboard and just hang out,” Jaramillo said.
Jaramillo’s vision to provide a church which serves the entire Rio Grande valley is coming true.
“Half of our members are from Belen and the other half are from Los Lunas,” he said. “That’s why we selected this location. This building is providing us the place to serve this valley.”