Ruel Guerrero

Ruel and Marilou Guerrero
Marilou and Ruel Guerrero

Ruel Guerrero, our pastor in Las Vegas, Nevada, learned at an early age that fighting has consequences. “My father was a boxing enthusiast. One day when I was about five years old, he coaxed me to punch our neighbor’s kid on the arm. The kid, who was about a year younger than I, was standing right in front of our house. I went outside as he instructed and punched him. The kid wailed so loud, I ran back inside and felt so sorry for him. From then on, I realized I don’t like hurting other people. I never got into a fight after that even when I was bullied at school.”

Ruel grew up in Manila, Philippines and stayed there until he was 16. “After graduating from high school in 1977, I immigrated with my parents to San Francisco, California. I then moved to Daytona Beach, Florida, where after eight months I enlisted in the US Air Force. On my first tour I was stationed at Nellis AFB, Nevada, where I first was involved with WCG. My sister and brother-in-law were attending WCG in the Philippines when I became interested. While stationed at Nellis, I found The World Tomorrow radio broadcast and began attending the Las Vegas congregation where I was baptized by interim pastor John Halford.”

After obtaining an early honorable discharge from the Air Force in 1980, Ruel applied for Ambassador College. “I attended there from 1980-83. After graduation I returned to Manila with the goal of serving the church there. Marilou (pronounced “Malou”) and I were married in 1985 and I gave up my US green card to continue serving the church in the Philippines.” Ruel and Marilou have four children: Jether (28, who is married and lives in the Philippines), and Joshua (26), Jonathan (23) and Janine (21) who are single and live in Las Vegas.

Speaking of Marilou, Ruel said, “She is my constant companion in ministry, whether at the weekly service, visitation, praying for the sick, teaching home groups, sharing Jesus on the streets, or just listening to God in the park. She is in charge of the congregation’s prayer ministry and helps with teaching worship in the children’s ministry. She is a constant reminder to me that God wants to see us free and that he is the God of miracles.”

Ruel was ordained an elder in 1992. “Around that time God had sovereignly opened my eyes leading to spiritual rebirth. I became assistant pastor of three congregations south of Manila. In 1994, I became pastor of two of those. But my stint as a pastor in WCG was short-lived. In the time of doctrinal turmoil within WCG in the mid 70s, we felt led to leave WCG and become members  of Vineyard Christian Fellowship in the Philippines. We planted a church in that fellowship in southern Manila and sponsored another plant in southern Luzon island. We also participated in prison ministry, feeding malnourished children, serving the urban poor and an inner healing ministry. In 2003 I was asked to lead and chair the national board of the Association of Vineyard Churches (Philippines). We thoroughly enjoyed the work God gave us in that fellowship.”

A few years ago, Ruel re-connected with long-time friend, GCI district and church pastor Bermie Dizon. “He invited me to return to GCI and apply to become pastor of the Long Beach, California congregation. My wife and I prayed about it for a couple of months, then we were informed that the position was no longer available but Las Vegas was about to need a new pastor. It took six months of prayer before I finally heard clearly from God that he wanted me to apply for that position. I did so in October 2012 and was installed there as senior pastor in June 2013.”

Ruel and his family love camping. “We try to go at least twice a year. My children and I love to hike, and when we can, we join local hiking groups.” Ruel and Marilou also love to tour, “especially when we can combine sightseeing and missions.” He shared a story about a recent trip to San Diego, California. “We met a homeless man in front of the Catholic church, shared the gospel with him, led him to follow Jesus and baptized him. We gave him the local GCI pastor’s contact information so he could connect with Christians in town.” That evening, the couple was at the marina waiting for what felt like another mission opportunity when a Filipino family approached them. “They invited us to share in their picnic meal. When Mark and Anne Stapleton (pastors of the San Diego congregation) arrived to meet us, they also were invited to the meal. Before we left, we had opportunity to pray for the whole family and to give them Mark’s business card.”

When asked what he enjoys most about being a pastor, Ruel said, “Having the opportunity to point people to Jesus and help them develop a close and personal relationship with him. I especially enjoy helping stir the spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit, guiding people towards the appropriate use of those gifts; also helping them realize the deep and personal love of the Father and encouraging them to share that love with others.”

Speaking of GCI, Ruel said he loves seeing the Father at work in GCI and following his lead. “I believe I am here for a divine reason—to discover that reason and join God in his mission. In Las Vegas, we are experiencing God’s favor in the congregation. We are learning to share the love of God with unbelievers, to connect with other believers, and to encounter Jesus 24/7, including gathering in small groups throughout the communities where our members live.”

Ruel says that his passion is “helping others understand that our worship of God is, more than anything else, the laying down of our lives for others on a daily basis. In that we follow Jesus who gave up his life for us all on the cross. This worship involves every facet of our lives and every facet of church life, including church gatherings. I want to see the planting of churches that express that kind of sacrificial love for others.”

Ruel’s most memorable moment was when he was invited to preach at a church in Manila. “I asked God what he wanted me to speak on, especially since I did not know the congregation and had no idea what they needed. God told me to speak on love and gave me John 15 as my text. I had to reread the whole chapter several times before it finally dawned on me that the central verse in the chapter was verse 13. That incident launched me into a lifelong search in the New Testament as to how the early church obeyed the New Commandment in verse 12 and followed Jesus’ example of laying down his life in verse 13. That search changed my entire ministry, ecclesiology and approach to following Jesus.”

Ruel feels closest to God when he is “walking out in nature and just listening to God’s voice. Sometimes he speaks to me ‘out of the blue,’ when its least expected. I realize it’s from God, because it’s so like how he reveals himself in Scripture and so unlike me in my brokenness. Generally, my whole day is spent talking with God. But the communication is profoundly intimate when he calls me to walk with him outdoors.”

2 thoughts on “Ruel Guerrero”

  1. Thanks Ruel and Marilou for joining back up with us as part of the whole Body of Christ! It is wonderful to have your attitude of selfless service in the GCI ministry. I remember those days when Ruel first came to Ambassador College, and the good times we had together there. Through the grace of God and your faithful response to Him, you are an inspirational survivor!

    Marty

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