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Spanish church sees growth

Posted: December 21, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 21, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Approximately 30 volunteers joined the wrapping party to sort gifts and wrap them. Each child who attends the concert will receive a Christmas gift.

It was 8 a.m. on a Thanksgiving morning, not exactly the best time to knock on a stranger’s door. But a group of 70 volunteers from Vida Real Church, the Spanish language ministry of Real Life Church, wanted to share God’s love by helping people in the community.

The group, with the help of a generous donation by a church member, bought 500 gift cards to Tresierras Supermarket. They walked various Newhall neighborhoods, knocking on doors and passing out grocery gift cards to residents.

Many people were touched, thanking the volunteers. One woman, with tears in her eyes, candidly told volunteers she wasn’t sure how she was going to feed her family that day, until volunteers arrived.

Their idea was to love the community and bless them in a tangible way, no strings attached, no commitments to attend church.

“We often leave the country to do mission work, but we often forget there are some people right here in our back yard who are in need,” said Pastor Mario Ortiz.

Ortiz began serving Vida Real about six months earlier. He’s witnessed what began as a 50-person church in June, grow to nearly 300 people.

Located at the Savia Community Partnership, the area is a perfect location to serve the large Hispanic population in Newhall.

Last week nearly 350 people attended service. During previous weekends the church welcomed more than 200 people.

Giving the gift cards was only one way Vida Real tried to serve the community. In August, as part of the Savia grand opening Vida Real and Real Life Church gave out more than 1,000 backpacks to children going back to school.

“What we want to do at Vida Real is serve people, just serve,” said Ortiz. “If they want to come to church that’s great, but if they want to come and get a gift, that’s okay too.”

The church began as an outreach of Real Life nearly three years ago. The congregation initially met at the Valencia campus until Savia was built.

“The goal was to offer a place for non-English Spanish speakers to congregate, not to have them come to Valencia; but for us to go to their community” said Orlando Flores, who has been a member of Real Life Church for seven years.

Christmas Community Outreach

Slowly the congregation began to grow as the community became aware of the giving church. More recently, Vida Real decided to host a Spanish language Christmas concert for the community.

The concert, “El Mejor Regalo” or “The Greatest Gift,” will feature traditional Christmas songs set to Latin rhythms.

Every number will be performed by a full band with completely new musical arrangements. For instance, “Joy to the World” will be set to a Merengue beat and “O Little Town of Bethlehem” will be played in a Bolero style.

Every child who attends will receive a Christmas gift. Vida Real volunteers have been pre-registering families for the event for months. The event, which is now sold out, will have nearly 1,200 attendees with more than 600 toys given away for Christmas.

“We are people of faith being obedient to what the Lord is calling us to do,” said Ortiz about the growing church.

“I believe God is doing the rest.”
Four shows will be offered for the Christmas concert today and tomorrow. Ten minutes before each show the

Ballet Folklorico de Santa Clarita will perform a pre-show in the lobby, offering the traditional dances which embrace Mexican Culture.

The massive Christmas concert event is the first Spanish language Christmas event in the Santa Clarita Valley. The Christmas concerts are just another way for Vida Real to offer a beacon of hope and love to the Hispanic community.

“There is a lot of financial and socioeconomic need in Newhall,” said Flores. “Part of our goal is to show Christ’s love in a practical way to this community. We do that everyday through our actions, attitudes, kindness and through our love for others.”



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