What caused you to leave the medical profession to become a pastor and plant a church?
Before I answer the question, just for the purpose of clarity, allow me to say that I still see some patients in the field of infectious diseases. They are usually complicated cases where my primary role is to offer an opinion or a treatment in cases where no explanation has been found or where the previous treatments have failed. I might see two to four cases like this a week, at most. I do not have a medical office and patients must be referred by another physician.
Having said that, let me answer your question. My wife and I were both doing our training in internal medicine in New Jersey when I developed a hunger for the Word of God. This began in 1983, right after the death of one of my brothers, who was a pilot and who died in an aviation accident in North Adams, Mass. My hunger increased through the years, and as my passion continued to develop, a new hunger arose: to teach the Word of God. Although initially my desire was to remain in the United States practicing and teaching medicine, after about twelve years of living there, God opened my eyes to a sector of the Dominican population that was educated, professionally trained, but lost. In addition, this group had distanced itself from Christianity because quite frequently what they had seen was a version of our faith that was not biblical but rather mainly emotional and noncoherent. My eyes were opened from above, which allowed me to see what was happening in the Dominican Republic. God planted a new vision in my mind to come back to Santo Domingo and plant a church to reach this population and then to use the converted group to reach those with less means, who are also in need of the gospel. Therefore, after living in New Jersey for fifteen years, we both left the United States in 1997 and came back to Santo Domingo to plant the church that I now lead. I felt this vision confirmed when my wife expressed her support of this new endeavor, being willing to leave her country and a thriving medical practice after so many years of training. We thank God that by His grace, we did not succumb to success syndrome.
Outside of the Bible, what has been the most influential book in your life? Why?
It is hard for me to mention any single book, since books affect you in different ways and at different times in your life. It is easier for me to mention an author who is able to affect you through his books and even his messages. In this case, I would have to say that R.C. Sproul has been the most influential author in my life. His series on the holiness of God, during the earliest stage in my Christian walk, in addition to his constant teaching about the character of God, compelled me to search the Scriptures to see the holy character of that sovereign God that R.C. constantly spoke about. I can truly say that my life has been profoundly impacted by the character of God, and the main person I can point to in this regard is R.C. Sproul, since I have listened to a countless number of his teachings on philosophy, theology, apologetics, and worldview. Others have influenced me in other directions, but when it comes to the appreciation of the character of God, R.C. is the person I have to mention.
What is the purpose of Ministerios Integridad & Sabiduría, and what does the ministry do to fulfill this purpose?
The main goal of Wisdom & Integrity Ministries (this is the name in English) is to proclaim the revelation of God and to present the biblical worldview to our generation in a clear and convicting way for the glory of our God.
To that end, the ministry organizes conferences, participates very actively in conferences in Latin America, at which I speak, produces audiovisual material, and sponsors daily podcasts. Occasionally, it has organized debates, and it has helped with the production of seven different books written by me. In addition, we currently have a teaching institution to train pastors and leaders, which is called Instituto Integridad y Sabiduría.