Hispanic church strives to help community through spiritual, legal aid

Hispanic Heritage Month

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Even during the age of social distancing, Pastor Samuel Rodriguez strives to continue using the teachings of the Bible to provide for the Latino community.

“Jesus calls us not to be alone, but to be with others,” said Pastor Rodriguez. “And help one another and walk together to get the goal he has for every one of us.”

His church, La Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana de Savannah, offers not only spiritual aid, but ESL (English as a second language) classes, a food pantry, clothing drives, a medical clinic and connections to immigration lawyers, consulates and federal aid.

“I know when someone gives you a hand how you feel and how it empowers you,” he said. “So we want to be that kind of people, helping and giving that hand.”

With the help of his brother, Pastor Ariel Rodriguez, the two Mexican immigrants provide assistance to as many people as they can. 

“You help them find someone who can help,” said Ariel Rodriquez. “You might not be able to completely help everyone, but you can still find someone who can help them.”

The services have been limited because of the pandemic, but the role the church plays in the community has only gotten stronger.

“He feeds them when they are with necessity and heals them,” said Samuel Rodriguez. “We are trying to do the same. We cannot heal them, but God can.”

The church has reduced Sunday services to a single mass at 10 a.m. in the church, as well as livestreamed on its website, YouTube and Facebook pages.

A radio station, Radio Pesca, is also run by the church and broadcasts religious music in Spanish on 94.7 FM.

Editor’s note: Direct quotes from Ariel Rodriguez were translated from Spanish into English by the author.

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