Moved by Compassion: A Heart for World Missions
Life and Ministry of
Crossing the Hudson
by Alexander J. Cuest
“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1).
Alvaro Larrahondo—beloved friend, father, brother, and pastor—answered the call to the ministry in 1985 in the Latin American nation of Panama. With his lovely wife Nelly by his side, the Colombian native and father of six started his first church in Panama. God rewarded his efforts, the church grew, and souls were added to the kingdom.
As Pastor Alvaro continued to listen to the Holy Spirit, his love for lost souls deepened. In time, he became president of the Free Will Baptist churches in Panama. Throughout his ministry, he continued to have full confidence that God was with him, and time and again God rewarded his faith.
After returning from conventions in Florida and California, Pastor Alvaro felt God calling him and his family to move to New York City. Clearly, this was a monumental undertaking. Yet the family remained obedient. In 1991, he started a church in Queens, New York.
With no place to meet, the congregation was forced to meet in homes, yet many were saved and the congregation grew in faith. Later, many of these men and women followed Pastor Alvaro across the Hudson River to New Jersey, where he started Christ the Total Solution Free Will Baptist Church in the city of Elizabeth.
The church continues to flourish today under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, building upon the solid foundation established by Pastor Alvaro Larrahondo. It was here that I met this great yet humble man. I often wish I had enjoyed more time to hear more about his life’s journey.
Throughout his ministry, Pastor Alvaro remained dedicated to counseling Christians—not just making new converts. I once asked him to explain what he meant by the word Christian. I thought once someone accepted Christ, he was a new creation with all of God’s goodness, power, and strength. So, why counsel Christians? What could possibly be wrong with them?
Pastor Alvaro patiently explained that he sought to teach God’s people godly principles and foundations, to help them grow in Christ. Such a task seems impossible, but Pastor Alvaro understood that with God, all things are possible.
God continues to show me new things in this ministry. Principles and foundation will always hold a high priority in our church, and we continue to disciple the men and women that God brings to our congregation. We, too, walk by faith so His purpose continues to be written in the heart of each new believer.
I wish I could report that a large number of converts has been added to our congregation, but it has not been that way yet. Nevertheless, we have witnessed slow and steady growth in this congregation as the Lord guides them in their daily walk with Him and in their ministry work. They are learning the importance of being obedient and waiting upon Him for further instructions.
Although Pastor Alvaro recently went to be with the Lord, his name and example have not been forgotten! I continue to marvel at the multitude of souls he reached under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is with joy and love that we remember our pastor, and Christ the Total Solution continues in his footsteps. The congregation understands that the journey before them remains long and hard, but our vision for the future remains. To God be the glory!
About the Writer: Alexander J. Cuest pastors Christ the Total Solution Free Will Baptist Church in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
Editor’s Note: Alvaro Larrahondo was converted under the ministry of “Pop” Willey. For many years he served as a tentmaker with the Home Missions Department.