Pastor Luis Torres: The Prayer Warrior of Mundo Nuevo
PASTOR LUIS TORRES lives in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico; a border city on the other side of Eagle Pass, Texas with a metropolitan population of approximately 260,000.
Luis was paralyzed as a young man as a result of a contaminated polio vaccine. Although confined to a wheelchair, that did not stop him from getting involved with local gangs and drugs. He was incarcerated for a short time and received Christ into his heart while in prison. Once released, he sensed God’s call to pursue ministry and serve as a pastor in the community from where he came. He has since led many to Jesus and helped them to break free from the bondage of gang violence and addiction.
The colony where Luis has lived for most of his life, Mundo Nuevo, was once one of the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods. It is just over a mile from the international bridge and blocks away from the city’s municipal offices. The neighborhood has changed considerably since Luis returned after prison some 30 years ago and began praying for God’s intervention there.
Pastor Luis holds the deed to approximately 1 square acre of land in Mundo Nuevo where he founded his humble Pentecostal church and refuge on the property in the early 1990s. “CASA DEL REY DE REYES,” (House of the King of Kings) serves immigrants stranded at the border, women and children escaping domestic violence, and others that are facing difficult circumstances.
Jeff Harvey, Pastor Luis & Jared Apodaca enjoying an afternoon with some of the men at Refugio del Rey del Reyes
Pastor Luis receives a very small pension for his disability, and it's with this pension and the occasional gifts from others that he supports the ministry. He operates the church and refuge on a shoestring and freely shares all that he has. “God has always taken care of me, and He expects me to do the same for others.”
With the recent onset of caravans arriving from Central America and the steady flow of new arrivals, Luis has more immigrants to serve than he can adequately handle on his own, but he continues to do all he can. Many of these sojourners end up stranded at the border for weeks and even months as they try to make their way back to their homelands again or attempt to cross into the US. Some have decided to stay in the border city and begin a new life there. Others become deeply despondent. The situation has created an enormous opportunity to serve and evangelize these human beings. Pastor Luis knows that God has called him to minister to this special group of people.
Men sleep on mattresses and under tarps outside
Bridges of Compassion received a distinct call from God to come alongside Pastor Luis to help him construct a new, fully functional refuge on his property, assisting him with the overall development and administration of the mission, the organization of local and outside volunteers, and promotion of the project both in the U.S. and Mexico to secure construction and operating costs.
The first phase of the project is to help provide more bedding, blankets, space heaters, warm clothing and at minimum a better temporary shelter solution from the approaching colder weather. Equally immediate is the need for the construction of simple yet separate bathrooms for men and women.
Future phases of the project will include construction of dormitories for men and separate facilities for women and families with children (accommodations for 80 to 100 people), adequate bathrooms, intake/office area, kitchen/pantry/eatery, common area, laundry & storage areas, consultation room, play area for children, children's library, and a protective concrete wall around the refuge. We have secured the services of an architect who is a member of a local congregation in Piedras Negras (preliminary drawings are forthcoming). We also have a local attorney advising us who served on the cabinet of several mayors over the years.
Some of the current refuge guests receive blankets, clothing, food and other supplies from Bridges of Compassion on Christmas Day 2019