By Pastor Walter Ries, Jr.
Pastor Willy Gaspar has a most interesting story to tell of how he became a pastor. When Pastor Ries, Jr. was to be installed in the Dominican Republic, 6 years ago on a hotel lawn in Santiago, it was Willy and several other men who appeared from Santo Domingo, 160 km away, just as the service was about to begin. He asked if there was a Lutheran pastor who was to be installed, and the 6 church representatives said, yes, it was to happen right now!. The men asked if they could observe and the answer was, of course! Thus began a relationship in which Willy studies the catechism, became a member, studied theology classes for 5 years, was colloquized by the Argentinean Lutheran Seminary in February 2011, and ordained in March 2011.
After the earthquake in Haiti, Pastor Gaspar was asked by LCMS World Relief and Human Care to become the project manager of our projects in Haiti. Since that time, in just the past two years, three clinics, a Lutheran Villa of 27 homes, a church, seminary, and guest house have been established. In addition, on this side of the border, his church was built last year by the Kellers, volunteer teams, and local support. The congregation, “Amigos de Cristo” serves as a gathering place for all to grow in their faith weekly, with Sunday School, two catechism classes, and Divine Service.
Pastor Gaspar has a dental clinic in his home where he treats patients on the weekends. He speaks Spanish, Creole, French and English. His wife, Santa, leads Sunday School and is actively involved in the church. Together, they have two beautiful girls, Yeandra and Estefani. We give thanks to our Lord for the Gaspar family and how Christ uses his people for great good in serving and loving our neighbor both through the preaching of His Word and in love towards our neighbor.