Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

New Hispanic Ministries Coordinator Joins Pennsylvania Conference

Story by Tamyra Horst

The Pennsylvania Conference is excited to welcome Alberto Balio and his wife, Milerqui De Paula, back to its state. Balio is the new Hispanic Ministries coordinator and pastor of the Reading Emmanuel Hispanic church.

“We are thankful to God for leading Pastor Balio to return to our conference,” shares Gary Gibbs, president. “He had a significant influence in advancing and building our work among the Spanish language population when serving in Pennsylvania before, and we believe God will use his heart for people, his passion for evangelism and his sense of mission to impact and grow the work in our Hispanic churches.”

Born and raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Balio came to the United States in 1985. He committed his life to Christ and was baptized at the Lawrence Hispanic church (Mass.). Balio was a lay leader at the church for four years but sensed the Lord calling him to full-time ministry. A few months later, he left for Antillean College in Puerto Rico where he received a bachelor’s degree in Theology. He pastored in two districts in Puerto Rico before coming to Pennsylvania. Balio served the conference for more than 15 years and pastored churches in Kennett Square, Lancaster, Reading and Philadelphia before accepting a call to the Florida Conference. Since 2019, he has pastored the Hialeah Springs and Opa Locka Hispanic churches.

“We would also like to thank Pastor Saud Elias for his faithful service as Hispanic Ministries Coordinator since 2017,” Gibbs states. “He has led our team of Hispanic pastors, organizing pastoral caravans, encouraging training and equipping of members, and supporting evangelistic events each spring and fall in all of our Spanish language churches. These efforts have resulted in 1,747 new members in our Hispanic churches in the last seven years. Saud has helped facilitate the organizing of three new Hispanic churches, two new companies, four new mission groups and established six new church plants. His wife, Yolanda, has organized several retreats for Hispanic women and is a partner in ministry. Together, they have greatly impacted the work here in Pennsylvania and will continue to as they pastor the Reading Hispanic and Shalom churches and plant a church in the Ephrata area.”

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