Aliento De Vida is a Spanish-speaking congregation in Salina, Kansas, co-pastored by father and son duo Filiberto and Alex Zapata. Aliento De Vida (which translates to Breath of Life) started as a church plant ten years ago. They rapidly grew and a few years ago found themselves in a too-small building with limited funding for a new church home.
With the support of their bishop, they started working with the Brethren in Christ Foundation to find a workable solution. By the hand of God, a church property, which should have been well out of their price range, became available. With funding from the Foundation, they purchased the building and moved their congregation into a long-term home.
We connected with Alex Zapata to learn about Aliento De Vida, their journey to this point, and what he hopes for the future of the congregation.
Tell us about Aliento De Vida. How did it start?
Aliento De Vida (ADV) has been around for 10 years and originally started in a motel banquet room. We moved from one place to another for almost two years and even had services in parks since we just couldn’t find a place to call home. But we never canceled a service. God always provided a place. After a long journey and many prayers, we put a down payment on an old building where we worshiped until spring 2020.
After a few years in that location, you began to look for a new meeting space; why were you looking for a new building?
ADV started to grow in a Godly way, and it came to the point where we didn’t fit in our old building. We had people standing and some of them even sitting on the floor. Our parking lot only fit around 10 cars, so people would park behind each other. We had no kid’s classroom. Most of the time we would just take them to another small room and try to teach them there, but it would get either too hot or too cold.
Now looking back, I can honestly say that the only thing that made us go back to a place like that – a place with no AC, with no space to sit, no parking lot, and just 2 bathrooms for 120 people – was the presence of God.
What roadblocks did you face in the search for a new building?
One of the biggest problems we had was finding a building fast. ADV was growing so rapidly that we needed to be in a new place soon. We considered building a new building on our own, but time and finances were a problem. We were also unsure where we were going to get the funds from.
How did partnering with the Midwest Conference and the BIC Foundation help your congregation?
The BIC helps ADV in so many ways. Former Bishop Perry Engle and Bishop Ron Bowell were such a blessing to our congregation. Not just by helping us financially, but by guiding us through the process of getting the building. They helped us with all the paperwork that we needed to fill out and find insurance. I can say that they were holding our hand through the whole process.
Can you share what it was like to work with the Foundation?
Working with the Foundation was such a gentle process. At the beginning it was frightening to ask for help, but John Burns was so easy to work with. They made us feel very comfortable. When we had any questions or doubts, they were always just a phone call away.
What is your hope for the future of Aliento de Vida?
Our hope for ADV is to never stop telling people about Jesus. In our journey, we have discovered that is not about the building, or the lights, or any equipment that we might have. It’s all about Jesus. I’ll be honest, a building, microphones, and lights do make it easier. But we hope that ADV never forgets where God brought us out of: from having services in hotels and parks to owning a building that is equipped for all the things we need. That’s a God thing. Our plan for ADV is that it keeps on growing and that his presence will always be with us.