Honduras' Top Evangelical Accuses Criminals Of Infiltrating Ministry

Monday, January 7, 2008

By BosNewsLife News Center

TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS (BosNewsLife)-- The pastor of one of Central America’s largest churches and evangelical organizations says criminal groups are infiltrating his and other Christian groups in an effort to halt their operations, BosNewsLife learned Friday, January 4.

Pastor Misael Argenal of the 35,000-strong La Cosecha (The Harvest) Church in the northern industrial city of San Pedro Sula told reporters he has hired special security personnel after receiving death threats and being beaten and robbed last month.

He said the latest tensions began December 8 when high way robbers stopped him as well as youth pastor Jairo Enamored and David Madrid, who supervises The Harvest’s broadcaster Channel 39.

"The suspects threatened to kill me if I didn’t stop my ministry," he told Spanish television network Univision about the second attack against him in three years. "It was a tense hour." The attackers eventually left after taking away clothes, jewels, cellular [phones] and a portable computer, he said.


Argenal said that acts of violence have increased and that a member of one of The Harvest's sister churches, the Ebenezer Church , was murdered while leaving a recent service.

The pastor stressed he “does not fear death” but that hiring security is now in the "best interest” of his family and church. "They have something against this church," he said. "This is part of an intimidation [campaign]," Argenal added.

The pastor said criminals are infiltrating his and other churches. Christian officials say especially youth gangs see the growth of churches in Honduras and spread of evangelical Christianity as a threat to their powerbase, as it may become more difficult to recruit new members.


Argenal made clear the threats will not end his "ministry," which began in 1977 when he started to preach in front of a bar in the red-light district of San Pedro Sula. In three decades it grew. Besides having the mega-church in San Pedro Sula his group also includes 70 other sister churches in Honduras as well as one in El Salvador and three in the Atlanta area in the United States.
In addition, The Harvest operates several social programs, including a children’s home, a shelter for alcoholics and drug addicts, a radio and television station, youth ministries, a free health clinic, an elementary and high school, a Christian university, a technical school, a Bible institute, a book store and a cafeteria.

Pastor Argenal, who sees himself as an apostle, said God always came to his rescue in difficult circumstances. God apparently told him: "Ask and it will be given. This city will be your inheritance."

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