We Needed A Miracle
In between the cities of Fresno and Los Banos in California’s agricultural capital of the San Joaquin Valley; amongst the dairy lands, ranches, and farms of hard-working people is the thriving church of Mendota, California. “We needed a miracle,” said Mario Plascencia, Pastor of Christian Life Tabernacle. As the leader and visionary of this North Central District church, they saw their thirty-year-old building’s foundation crumbling and became despondent when no contractor would work with them. The issue of their building’s poor foundation plunged them into double despair when the estimate finally came in at a cost of $100,000. Not only did they have a 7.5% interest rate on their mortgage with their current bank, but they needed an extra $100,000 in financing to fix their foundation to continue providing church services for their community. When the COVID-19 pandemic infected the world, and slowed every facet of our way of life, Pastor Plascencia felt hopeless that anything would move forward, “for many, many years it did not seem likely to happen. This foundation was a burden, a drag, a downer. Previous generations were just ignoring it and hoping that it would just stop breaking and go away.” He felt frustrated, because his church had a vision to make improvements, remodel, and create a space to serve God, and see souls saved. The pandemic storm brought stagnation, frustration, and desperation.
The Miracle Happened
During the pandemic, Pastor Plascencia sought help for his dire situation. He eventually contacted the Assembly when he ran out of traditional financing options. They connected him with Apostolic Mutual. Together, they created a resolution to refinance the building so the church could pay off the bank, fix the foundation, and still have funds to remodel. Under his leadership, and the great efforts of his congregation at Christian Life Tabernacle, finances grew and became very stable. Apostolic Mutual did their due diligence and found their church to be a solid candidate for the loan fund. But, when the pandemic became full blown, everything halted for a while as adjustments, protocols, and plans continued behind the scenes. He stated, “I waited, and thought that it [loan process] was almost over.” In reality, Apostolic Mutual began to find solutions to his most complex problems. Even though the delay created some skepticism, Pastor Plascencia trusted the process. He felt relieved, “When Bishop Lugo called to inform me that the loan was approved, I valued that personal connection.” As of January 1, 2021, Christian Life Tabernacle acquired a $350,000 fifteen-year loan with a 4.5% interest rate, paid off the bank mortgage, and will utilize the $122,000 balance of the Apostolic Mutual loan for the building to repair the foundation and do some remodeling. Change is occurring, and he wants to go the extra step to ensure this does not happen in the future.
Navigating the Pandemic Storm with Apostolic Mutual
Pastor Plascencia said, “We can see the light in the middle of this storm,” because at the end of the fifteen-year loan with Apostolic Mutual they will own the building, modernize the interior, and fix the foundation. Working with Apostolic Mutual brought a fresh and exciting hope. Christian Life Tabernacle sees the loan as a reward, and there is a sense of pride in the building that reflects their hard work as a church community. Pastor Plascencia thanks Apostolic Mutual and everyone involved, “they were always responding to my questions, concerns, and emails in a timely manner. They helped me feel important. I felt like they worked for me.” He has a burst of renewed energy going forward to fill the house of the Lord built on a sure foundation. Their vision is coming to pass. “We are working the pandemic in our favor. We built, repaired, remodeled, fixed, refurbished, and upgraded the interior of the soul of the building to get ready for God’s outpouring of His Spirit. He will fill this building, and it is ready to be filled,” said Pastor Plascencia.
By David Silas Tellyer
Assistant to the Executive Director