Richard Gijon is a familiar face to those who are part of the Rock Churchs Young Adult Cafe ministry.
Despite some daunting physical challenges, Richard spends hours each week, teaching the Word, leading worship, encouraging his brothers and sisters, and praying with them.
In fact, Danny Quimlat, 1825 Small Groups Pastor at the Rock describes Richard as one of his high capacity volunteer leaders. Not only does Richard give most of his evenings to hundreds of his fellow 18- to 30-year-olds, he also is one of Young Adult Cafes caretakers mature Christians whose job it is to pastor the other volunteer leaders.
Just from observing him, I knew he was someone special, said Danny. There is a serenity about him, a wisdom beyond his years.
Richard, who began attending the Rock Church in January 2009, also started co-leading a small mens group on Monday nights. It has grown into about 30 regular guys. They regularly hold The Gathering, an outreach event of some kind, such as a family barbeque, or a worship and fellowship time around a bonfire. The Gathering is designed to bring people together for two reasons: celebrate the work of the Lord and bring glory to His name. He also attends Simply Worship, the Rock Churchs Tuesday night worship meeting.
Will Calaguas, a relatively new Christian, said, Richard is my example of what it really means to be a man of God. Serving with him, he conveys the feeling that with God things are going to be all right because Gods strength is made perfect in our weakness.
Richard gave his life to Jesus when he was 13, after a painful time when his parents separated. For years Richard had wondered about God after being confronted with abuse and contemplating suicide. He grew in faith, and became the youth director in his home church in National City. He has since worked as a regional program coordinator for a YMCA in City Heights.
Richards unswerving commitment is all the more noteworthy because hes fighting leukemia for the second time.
It has really pushed me to believe in God more, said Richard, who has helped to lead A.S.K., the churchs quarterly all-day prayer and fasting event.
He has never backed down or not shown up although sometimes he has to excuse himself briefly if the pain gets to be too much, said Danny.
His Word Is Medicine
Richard is confident God can heal him. But meanwhile, where else would he rather be, Richard asks. His brothers and sisters are Jesus to him. The Bible says His Word is medicine to our bones, said Richard. I cant wait to get there.
Richard would like eventually to have a family and to work full-time as a pastor. But whatever God has for him in the future, ministry is the highlight of his week at the Rock. And he is the highlight of Young Adult Cafe ministry.
Congratulations, Richard, Rock Hero for January 2010!