Getting to know you: Juan Molina

Published 10:00 pm Monday, June 22, 2015

 Pastor Juan Molina, recipient of the 2014 South Carolina Small Church Pastor of the Year award, organizes mission trips to Mexico while making an impact on the Landrum community.

Pastor Juan Molina, recipient of the 2014 South Carolina Small Church Pastor of the Year award, organizes mission trips to Mexico while making an impact on the Landrum community.

Juan Molina, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Alfa y Omega in Landrum, followed a path like many others that led him from Mexico to the United States to chase the American dream. Molina left Buenos Aires, a small village south of Mexico City, to work in the Texas construction industry.

 He later moved to North Carolina where he became involved with the Green Creek Baptist Church. In 2007, he was chosen to lead Iglesia Bautista Hispana El Alfa Y Omega by the South Carolina Multi-ethnic Baptist group.

 “Green Creek told me that it was a good opportunity for me to join South Carolina and do a more formal ministry,” said Molina.

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 Landrum First Baptist Church Senior Pastor Mark Bishop played a major role in the genesis of Alfa y Omega.

 “He works harder and is as sincere in his efforts as anybody around,” said Bishop. “He amazes me how he’s constantly working and thinking of new ideas.”

 Molina began holding sessions within Landrum First Baptist Church in 2008. Alfa y Omega now operates in its own building that was donated to Molina by the First Baptist Church of Landrum. Molina took the one room building, in what he said used to be Landrum’s Health Department office, and raised more than $40,000 for renovations.

 “We were determined to work on the building,” said Molina. “Money came from different sources, but FBCL played a big role.”  Friends and church members of different trades contributed to the effort. Construction was completed in 2010.

 Molina’s efforts to take a freshly planted church and grow Landrum’s Hispanic Christian community didn’t go unnoticed. Among other previous awards, Molina was named Small Church Pastor of the Year during the November 2014 meeting of the South Carolina Baptist Convention.

 Alfa y Omega’s church body remains small, but dedicated. Under the direction of Molina, they participate in many community activities, and reach out behind the scenes in prison ministry programs.

 “We have made a lot of impact,” said Molina. “We have been touching the community with the gospel.”

 Molina’s path to Alfa y Omega is a two-lane road still traveled. Twice a year, he drives thousands of miles back to his home village of Buenos Aires to visit his family and church he built in previous trips.

 “This time I am more ambitious to do something greater than anything I have done before,” said Molina. “Our country is in a mess with drugs that have over taken our land. God is the only source to get out of there. God did it with me, and can do it with them too.”

 Molina will return to Mexico in July to begin building a children’s church building.

 “We are in need of another building to better minister to the children there,” explained Molina. “We already have been donated $1,000 for the cause.”

 Conversion is difficult, as the region widely practices Catholicism. Molina estimates that 80 percent of villagers practice Catholicism purely out of tradition, and are not devout followers.

 “It was a challenge at first, but you have to stick to your calling,” said Molina. “As the years go by you will prove to them that you are serious in your ministry.”

 After seeing so many churches fail, the people of the villages are skeptical of their longevity. Among these were Molina’s family.

 “At first my family thought I was crazy,” Molina explains. “When they see the way I conduct myself, and how God changed my way of living, they see the difference in my life and respect it.”

 Molina returns to Buenos Aires every December with a truck full of gifts. He holds a gathering Christmas morning where he shares the story of the birth of Jesus and distributes the presents to the area’s children.

 Molina’s long-term ambition is to branch out to surrounding villages and plant more churches.

 “Here in Landrum, I will find a way to get to all of the Hispanic families around, and motivate them to come to church,” said Molina. “We have been faithful serving here, and they know we are here to help them if they have a problem.”

 Publisher’s note: We’d like to recognize those in our community who help make a difference in the quality of our lives. In that spirit we bring you this column, regularly featuring the men and women who make a difference. To recommend someone for this feature profile, please email us at:, with the subject line “Getting to know you.”