Sep 29, 2022 Print This Article

Confident in Christ

Rev. Eduardo Martínez at Commencement exercises May 20, 2022. Photo: Davin Alberson

Rev. Eduardo Martínez rejoices every day in the name of the Lord, no matter what each day brings, for he knows the faithfulness of God who has set him on his path, securing every step along the way.

Martínez’s path began in the Dominican Republic, where he grew up in the Roman Catholic tradition. His mother was very devout in her Catholic faith, and a cousin on his father’s side became an archbishop. Yet, even with these deep ties to Catholicism in his family, Martínez ended up the “protestant of the family,” as God guided and formed him for ministry. It was something that neither he nor his family imagined.

Martínez became a member of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) with encouragement from his wife, Leidy. She had been attending Iglesia Luterana Esperanza Viva in Orlando, Fla., and encouraged him to join her. He agreed, trying to please his wife, but in the end the Holy Spirit had his way with Martínez. He became increasingly involved in his new congregation.

Given a passion

Involved, however, doesn’t quite capture the passion that grew inside Martínez to serve God. “I had been very respectful and reverent in my participation in our Father’s business,” he recalls. “I didn’t see myself as worthy to take responsibility in the church until one day I heard God’s Word in 1 Cor. 1:26-28. I realized if God has put me on this path, I shouldn’t think I am unworthy of the responsibility He has given me. He is the One directing me.”

That responsibility came at a time when Martínez’s congregation members found themselves without a pastor. A friend of Martínez, Rev. Adolfo Borges, stepped in to lead the Sunday worship services and noticed Martínez’s leadership within the congregation. “Almost right away, I saw in him the potential to become a student of the Center for Hispanic Studies (CHS) at Concordia Seminary,” Borges recalls. CHS is a distance, certificate program for U.S. Hispanic and Latino individuals that prepares men to become pastors and women to become deaconesses. “I asked him to help me during worship, and little by little, I gave him more responsibilities.”

After a couple of years, Borges spoke with Martínez about enrolling at the Seminary. “We talked about what it means to study theology and become a minister of the Gospel,” Borges says. “I put him in touch with the CHS leaders, and from there, he took off!”

Following the call

And take off he did! “I felt an urgency to complete my studies so I could serve my congregation. I am so happy my pastors and friends — Adolfo Borges, Paul vonWerder, Doug Kallessen and Carlos Hernandez — encouraged me to attend the Seminary, even though I did not feel qualified.”

Rev. Eduardo Martínez, Dr. Leopoldo A. Sánchez M. and John Benito photo
Rev. Eduardo Martínez, center, stands with Dr. Leopoldo A. Sánchez M., left, and John Benito for a photo during the Advanced Studies graduate reception before Commencement May 20, 2022. Photo: Davin Alberson

It was at the Seminary where Martínez developed a close relationship with friend and mentor Mark “Marcos” Kempff, assistant to the director and an instructor for CHS. “He gave me so much wisdom and advice, confirming for me over and over that I could do this, no matter how hard life gets,” Martínez says. “I am so grateful, honored and blessed that God made me a part of this enthusiastic community. My friends and professors kept me motivated and focused. God had a plan, putting the right people in my path at the right time.”

After completing four years of studies with CHS and receiving his certification and pastoral call in 2021, he immediately began the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Spanish Program at the Seminary while also serving Iglesia Luterana Esperanza Viva. He did this while having a full-time job outside of the church. “I am so proud of his success and the ministry he’s performing at his congregation, while at the same time, having a full-time ‘secular’ job,” Borges says. “I continue to see great potential in him and hope that the Lord will open ministry opportunities for him to grow in the service of Christ and His church.”

Proclaiming with confidence

So what’s next? “This is just a beginning,” Martínez says. “I’m excited to keep increasing my pastoral knowledge and experience, serving my congregation to the best of my ability, and hopefully someday teaching and influencing others to take responsibility and leadership in the church as others have encouraged and influenced me.”

“Eduardo has always been seeking the Lord’s will and way,” Kempff says. “He has been faithful and fearful of the Lord, as he was taught in his youth. Now, he wants to serve the Lord and do so under the Lord’s terms — never his own.”

Martínez has “considered his calling,” as St. Paul encouraged the Corinthians. And he has found confidence to follow it, proclaiming the Gospel in his ministry with his people, for he is “in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord’” (1 Cor. 1:30-31 ESV).

Deaconess Rebekah Lukas is a communications specialist at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.