Font Size » + | -By Armando Dominguez Armando Dominguez, pastor of Primera Iglesia Hispana de la Biblia Abierta, Inc, in Punta Gorda, Florida, receives a ten-year pin for his service to Marketplace Chaplains from Roland Barlowe. When people find out I’m a chaplain, they ask, “At a hospital? A jail?” “No,” I say. “At a hotel.” They say, “What?!” Many people don’t know about the ministry of Marketplace Chaplains. I certainly didn’t until God led me that direction. I was born and raised in Cuba but moved to Hialeah, Florida, as a young adult in 1979. There I met my future wife, Miosotis, in 1987, and we were married in 1988. At that time I was driving an eighteen-wheeler across the country. In 1994 someone promised me a better job in Macon, Georgia, so my wife and I and our three children moved there. Sadly the job fell through, throwing us into a financial and spiritual crisis. Being from Cuba, I never had access to a Bible, so I asked my wife if she had a Bible. Miosotis did have a Bible so I started to read it. The Holy Spirit performed a work in me, and I read it through in four months. Three months after that, I told my wife we were going back to Florida and would find a good church that teaches about Christ. My mother-in-law attended First Spanish Church of the Open Bible in Hialeah, at that time pastored by Ralph Cajigas. We decided to visit, and there I surrendered my life to Christ in July of 1995. After a time I believed God was calling me to do something different, so even though everyone said I was crazy, I sold my truck and did some other jobs for awhile, including working at a radio station. In 1998 I started taking classes through INSTE Global Bible College. Because of some unforeseen circumstances the course had to be cancelled for a time, but as soon as classes began again I joined back up. In 2005 I graduated and God called me to start a church in Punta Gorda, Florida, now called Primera Iglesia Hispana de la Biblia Abierta. In 2007 God opened another door for me. Marketplace Chaplains (then Marketplace Ministries) was looking for a chaplain in our area to replace a gentleman who was retiring. A general manager from a Marriott Courtyard Hotel who knew me from when I was attending the church in Hialeah recommended me, thus opening a door for me I had not even asked for. Hotels, construction sites, and churches are just a few of the places where Pastor Armando ministers. Through this wonderful ministry, I serve all kinds of people at six hotels and other businesses. I minister to all the employees and their families – from the hotel’s general manager (GM) to housekeepers to guests to maintenance workers. If employees or those in their families are admitted to the hospital, I visit them. I even conduct funeral services. Through this wonderful ministry, I serve all kinds of people at six hotels and other businesses. I minister to all the employees and their families. Armando Dominguez family: (left to right) Amanda, Miosotis, Mandy, Armando, and Alex. Once a GM called me because an employee’s twelve-year-old daughter had tried to commit suicide. I went to the family’s house and ministered to the daughter. I then connected the family with a church near their home. Now the employee, her husband, and her daughter serve faithfully at the church. If people live close to our church in Punta Gorda, I connect them to ours. On Thanksgiving Day I go to each of the hotels I serve. I am the only bilingual chaplain in this area so I am very busy. The GM at the Hampton Inn meets monthly with all the employees. He asks me to come to these meetings to pray with each of the employees in the hotel lobby. Guests often hear those prayers. Sometimes they ask me to pray for them as well, right there in the lobby. I’m starting a new church in Lehigh Acres, a fifty-minute drive from my church in Punta Gorda, which is much closer to where many of these employees live. Miosotis and I relocated to a home midpoint between Lehigh Acres and Punta Gorda so I can attend both churches, including mid-week Bible studies and prayer meetings. Armando and his wife, Miosotis, with their granddaughter, Amelie. Marketplace Chaplains provides a great opportunity to reach people outside the walls of the church, and we can preach the Word of God freely in these companies. The owner of a local construction company will sometimes pick me up and take me with him to talk to his employees. Many surrender their lives to the Lord right in the marketplace! Some of our GMs at the hotels are not Christians, but if they have a problem with an employee, they call me. They say, “I know when you pray, something happens.” I would challenge any pastor or other church leader: if you want to reach people in your community, this is an opportunity to do that. We have a training every month. I want to thank Open Bible Churches. I was born again in Open Bible. It is a blessing to work with Open Bible Churches. I meet people from other denominations and they are good people, but Open Bible people are special. About the Author Armando Dominguez, pastor of Primera Iglesia Hispana de la Biblia Abierta, Inc, in Punta Gorda, Florida, receives a ten-year pin for his service to Marketplace Chaplains from Roland Barlowe.