Rev. Feliberto Pereira

When I was actively pursuing acting, I spent many hours in acting class. One of my teachers once told us that acting was more than just emotion. He would say, “If you let your emotions take over then, one, it’s boring to watch and, two, you’re just another emotional kid.” His point was that we had to learn how to use the emotion and channel it into behavior, action.

Yesterday we met a man named Rev. Feliberto Pereira, pastor of Iglesia Cristiana Ebenezer, a Disciples of Christ Church in Los Fresnos, TX. He is also the founder of the Good Samaritan Center, a place of shelter for immigrant refugees. Rev. Pereira is a very charismatic and inspirational man with an amazing story.

Iglesia Cristiana Ebenezer

Originally from Cuba, Pereira had no intention of coming to the United States. He graduated from seminary just as the revolution began and was a supporter of Castro and the revolution, according to Rev. Pereira his brother fought in Che Guevara’s army. But things changed quickly. Castro’s communist regime was an anti-Christian, atheist regime. He closed all of the seminaries and was distrustful of Christian pastors. Rev. Pereira says that a captain of police showed up at his church and told him Christians are puppets of the United States and informed him that he wasn’t allowed to leave the walls of his church.

Rev. Feliberto Pereira talks to us at the Good Samaritan Center

After delibrately breaking that edict, Periera was sent to a concentration camp and sentenced to hard labor. After being released from this first camp after being told he had one minute to run before being shot, he was arrested again weels later. He spent 14 more months in a concentration camp, this time saying the work and conditions were much worse. Eventually, Rev. Pereira was released and fled to the United States. He became a refugee. Knowing God had granted him his life, Rev. Pereira says he “devoted the rest of his life to serving other refugees.”

Pereira could have been consumed by the anger he feels toward what happened to him. Instead, he has channeled that anger and created ministry that saves the lives of thousands of other refugees. His ministry is truly an act of God.

The Good Samaritan office building.

The Good Samaritan Center is not a non-profit, they take no money from the government. The Good Samaritan Center has no building budget and no fund-raising campaign. Everything the Good Samaritan Center builds and offers is based on volunteer gifts and labor. Originally a dream of Rev. Pereira to build a center like this, the Good Samaritan Center now consists of several apartment, two dorms, a giant hall (which has bunk beds for more people), multiple showers, two kitchens (one in a woman’s center that teaches them how to cook, sew, handle money, etc), and dentist’s office.

Rev. Pereira is an inspiration to talk to. He doesn’t speak great English–though it’s better than he thinks–but he says much more though his kindness, passion, humor and self-confidence.

There is so much more to say about Rev. Pereira that could fill ten pages. The most important thing, I feel, is that he was able to take his own pain and channel it into a loving ministry, based on faith, that saves the lives of countless individuals and families. In Rev. Pereira’s words, “thanks be to God.”


One Response to “Rev. Feliberto Pereira”

  1. I am proud to call this Man of God my pastor.

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