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Adolfo Carrion

After a brief battle with pancreatic cancer, Dr. Adolfo Carrión Sr., pastor of Ebenezer Pentecostal Temple in Newark, New Jersey, passed away Friday, September 5. He was 79.

Carrión, who served in leadership at the Assemblies of God Spanish Eastern District for nearly 40 years, was the treasurer of The Council of Churches of the City of New York. He was also the founding chairman of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition and superintendent emeritus of the Assemblies of God Spanish Eastern District since his retirement as district superintendent in 1999. In addition, he organized two AG districts — the District of Puerto Rico and the Southeastern Spanish District of Florida (now the Florida Multicultural District).

Rev. Carrión grew the Hispanic Assemblies of God from 47 congregations in the New York City metro area to more than 360 congregations in Eastern United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. While superintendent, he envisioned and developed the 120-acre Camp Mahanaim in the Catskills, which served as the home for a new Bible college, ministers' retreat, and summer camp for children.

He also served in many different leadership roles including president of the AG Association of Latino Superintendents; president of the Association of Interdenominational Pentecostal Leaders; executive president of Teen Challenge, Puerto Rico; executive director of the AG Bible College of Puerto Rico (Colegio Teológico del Caribe); executive director of Radiovisión Cristiana; executive director of NYC Christian Children Parade; trustee of Valley Forge Christian College; executive member of New Hope USA; and executive member of A.M.E.N. International Evangelical Leaders.

In a press release from the National Association of Evangelicals, Dr. Gabriel Salguero, president of The National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC) said, "Although heaven has gained, the Hispanic Pentecostal church in the United States has lost a father and a general. Dr. Carrión was the preeminent Hispanic Pentecostal leader of our generation."

During his many years of service to the church and community, Carrión was recognized by the city of New York, receiving its highest honor, the bronze medal. He also received the highest honor offered by the New York Theological Seminary, The Sower Award.

Dr. Nino González, superintendent of the AG Florida Multicultural District, said, "Dr. Carrión was for me more than just a leader. He was one of the finest statesmen and architects of Hispanic Pentecostalism in the Americas. He had a pastor's heart but his work led him to international influence. An influence Dr. Carrión never used for personal gain. Carrión's humility was truly inspiring. His influence cannot be overstated."

"Dr. Carrión's leadership has left an indelible imprint on the Assemblies of God in his generation as well as future generations," said Efraim Espinoza, director of AG Hispanic Relations. "He was steadfast in his convictions yet sensitive to the potential for innovative changes. Dr. Carrión's life was a living example of integrity in ministry and dedication to his family. He was a friend to ministers."

Dr. Carrión is survived by his wife, Elisa; his four children, Elizabeth (Kevin) Stevens; Adolfo III (Linda); Damaris (Isham) Harris; and Lizette; and 10 grandchildren.

Carrión's memorial service was held on Tuesday, September 9, at The Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, New York. Interment was at Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York.

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Jacob's Hope: The Assemblies of God launches global outreach to Jews

Fri, 07 Jan 2011 - 4:24 PM CST

Jeff Friedman grew up in a Jewish family, attended an Orthodox Jewish synagogue every week, and lived in the city with the world's largest Jewish population: Brooklyn, New York. The brief encounters he had with Christians left him with a negative impression of the faith during his first 26 years of life.

"Christians offended me; they turned me off," Friedman says. "I basically hated Christians."

One day in 1980, after Friedman moved to Miami as part of his job as a government pharmacist, he went to get a haircut. Mitzi, the hairstylist at the salon, was a Jewish woman - who attended an Assemblies of God church.

"She challenged me as a Jew to study the Jewish Scriptures as they pertain to the Messiah," Friedman recalls. "She spoke to me in a way that made sense."

A week later, after accepting an invitation to a Christmas party at the church, Friedman came to faith in Y'shua (the Hebrew name for Jesus). He immediately sensed a calling, realizing that the overwhelming majority of Jews never hear a culturally relevant presentation of the gospel.

"I have a desire to see fellow Jews come to know this blessing I know," says the enthusiastic and energetic Friedman.

Friedman became a licensed AG minister, graduated from Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, and for 17 years served as an AG U.S. missionary while the rabbi of Beth Emanuel, a Messianic synagogue in Philadelphia. When on a ministry outreach team in Eastern Europe, Friedman saw Jewish people living in abject physical and spiritual poverty. The experience motivated him to broaden his vision.

Friedman visited with L. John Bueno, AG World Missions executive director. He discovered that while the Fellowship had undertaken missionary efforts to Jewish people, no such global outreaches existed. Friedman devised the concept of an organization called Jacob's Hope ( as the first AG World Missions effort to engage the worldwide Jewish community.

Jacobs Hope pic
(From left) Chris Mann, Jeff Coose and Jeff Friedman prepare to unload supplies of the first container delivered to Israel.

"It's latent in our Fellowship that people want to do something for the Jewish people," Bueno says. "This is our only ministry to reach Jews throughout the world."

"A lot of people are supporting Jewish ministries that are not run by Christians," Friedman says. "Those groups provide humanitarian aid. But the gospel is not shared, so people aren't being evangelized."

Jacob's Hope assists both Jewish and Messianic congregations in a variety of practical ways. These include feeding Ukrainians, clothing Israelis, providing teaching materials to Belarusians, and operating a farm to employ Ethiopians.

Friedman is assisted by Vixie, his wife of 28 years. They met in Frankfurt, Germany, where they both worked at a U.S. Army medical center. Vixie, then a Methodist from Alabama, served as a military corps nurse while Jeff worked as a Department of Defense pharmacist.

The ministry has three other AG missionary couples as part of the team: Chris and Shawna Mann; Jeff and Tammy Coose; and a couple directing operations on the ground in Israel.

"I've had a longtime burden for Jewish people," says Chris Mann, who had been an AG pastor in Kansas, Kentucky and Iowa. "It is an honor to serve the Jewish people not only in Israel but globally with Jeff."

In August, Jacob's Hope teamed with Convoy of Hope for the first time and distributed a 40-foot container that included medical supplies and clothing in Israel with the help of Messianic Jews in the Holy Land. Jacob's Hope has three compassion ministry distribution centers in Israel. Jacob's Hope will team with HealthCare Ministries for the first time in January in a visit to the Ethiopian Jewish community.

Jacob's Hope also has been active in Germany, Poland, Moldova, Belarus and Ukraine. The ongoing vision includes operating a soup kitchen, repairing homes, building medical clinics, conducting job training and providing funds to dig wells.

As Jacob's Hope grows, Friedman says there will be opportunities for AG laypeople, who have a cultural understanding of Judaism, to take missions trips to distribute goods, work in coffeehouses and construct buildings.

Friedman believes Genesis 12:3 is a God-given promise to bless those who bless the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He also notes that in Romans 15 the apostle Paul writes that those who have received a spiritual inheritance from Jewish people are obligated to bring the blessings of heaven to them.

"We need to bring the Messiah to everybody, to the Jews with as much passion as we do with any other people group," Friedman says.

"I feel greatly blessed that we finally have a full-fledged ministry reaching Jewish people wherever they are," Bueno says.

AG General Superintendent George O. Wood, who has made dozens of trips to the Holy Land, also endorses the ministry.

"This is the first time that Assemblies of God adherents have a chance to invest in humanitarian, evangelistic and discipleship efforts to reach Jewish people around the world," Wood says.

Author: John W. Kennedy, Pentecostal Evangel


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