Full-Circle Madrid Experience for Pastor Samuel Hernandez

Samuel Hernandez, pastor of Iglesia Hispana Dios es Amor, joined the most recent CMBA Central Spain missions team trip to Madrid. It was a momentous experience for several reasons.

Hernandez grew up in Cuba in the mid-1950s and attended a Southern Baptist church on the island, where his mother also served as director of the Woman’s Missionary Union. He made his profession of faith several years before being baptized at age 10. Within a few years, Cuba’s political turmoil directly impacted his family when his father was arrested during his sister’s birthday party, an event the Communists mistook for a Bible study.

When Hernandez was 14 years old, he and his mother fled to Spain while his father and sister fled to Miami before settling in Puerto Rico. Read more about Hernandez’s life experiences in this earlier CMBA article. Of note during the year that Hernandez and his mother spent living in Spain, Hernandez preached his very first sermon. They were part of a very small evangelical church that was forced to worship in secret while under the rule of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. The two later immigrated to the United States and eventually reunited with family living in Puerto Rico.

Hernandez founded Iglesia Hispana Dios es Amor about 24 years ago. The church plant first met in the First Baptist West Columbia church building, then at Killian Baptist, and in 2011 the congregation began meeting in the Sandy Level Baptist facilities. Today the church continues to thrive and is comprised of individuals from Central and South America.

Hernandez’s participation with the most recent CMBA Central Spain missions team allowed him the exciting opportunity of preaching once again in Madrid, as he had first done as a teenager. While preaching this May 2024 sermon, one man prayed to receive Christ. Hernandez’s impact in Madrid will continue to grow through this new life and, possibly, through a future team trip he hopes to lead with Hispanic pastors during CMBA’s five-year partnership with the area.

About the author 

Julia Bell