Hispanics for Christ legally began in 2004, but the ministry actually was started when Jorge Osorio planted the first Hispanic ministry at Hollyview Baptist Church in 1995 in Boring, Oregon. This wasn’t Jorge’s first work, but it was the beginning of a ministry that has continued way beyond his passing in 2008. Numerous people across the NAB have been blessed by Jorge’s passion for church planting and contagious joy.
Jorge Aaron Osorio was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, in 1949. He was adventurous and took off to explore the world at a very young age. At 13, he left Guatemala for the Caribbean and found work on the docks for a season. Soon after, he moved to Mexico. He eventually returned home to Guatemala and completed his studies in construction. These skills proved useful in later mission work.
As a university student, Jorge and a friend were kidnapped by the Guatemalan Army as suspected Marxist rebels. They were held and tortured for a week until they were able to escape. It was during his captivity that Jorge turned to God and said he would serve him if God would save him. Feeling resentment toward his own government, he got himself a job on a Cuban ship and traveled the world. He even had thoughts of joining the Revolution!
Jorge traveled around the world visiting many Communist countries; he saw the hatred in North Korea, alcoholism in Poland, and lack of opportunity in every Communist country. Many people offered him money to smuggle them onboard to escape. This deflated his vision of Communism and turned him toward seeking opportunities in the United States.
In 1974, Jorge had immigrated to the United States through family members living there. A friend challenged him about his faith; was he a Christian? He honestly answered he wasn’t. His friend led him to Christ, and a powerful transformation was begun. Many people from his past were amazed at who he was now compared to his past.
In time, Jorge went to live with and care for Clara Elliot, the elderly mother of Jim Elliot, the famous missionary. It was here that Jorge met Burt Elliot, Jim’s brother. He invited Jorge to come work with him in the Amazon jungle of Peru. But first, Jorge needed some training, so he attended Multnomah School of the Bible (now Multnomah University). It was while attending Multnomah that Jorge met his wife and ministry partner, Donna. They married in 1979, and by 1981 they were off to the Amazon jungle with their two babies.
While working with Burt Elliot, Jorge opened Christian bookstores, traveled up and down the Amazon conducting leadership training seminars called “mini-caps,” and encouraged church planting. After seven years in the jungle, Jorge moved his family to Peru. It was in the city of Trujillo that he launched the Trujillo Bible Center. In 1995, he moved his family to Oregon to begin working with the NAB churches in what is now NABNW.
In the Oregon area Jorge worked to launch Comunidad Cristiana in Boring at Hollyview Baptist Church (with Rev. Jim Erb), Comunidad Cristiana in Portland at Trinity Baptist Church (with Rev. Jim Lee), and Comunidad Cristiana in West Portland at Bethany Baptist (with Rev. Randy Kinnison).
Jorge was instrumental in many church planting conferences, not only with Hispanics but with NAB churches at large. He took many NAB pastors to Mexico and Peru, which strengthened their understanding of cross-cultural missions. It was during these years that Hispanics for Christ was formed around Jorge’s ministry and philosophy of missions. He took the training from George Patterson and Burt Elliot and passed it onto many others.
Even though Jorge passed away fifteen years ago, his model of planting simple churches from the harvest continues on in the leaders he trained, the churches he left, and the work of Hispanics for Christ. His ongoing legacy has been to see thousands enter the Kingdom of God and dozens of churches celebrating Christ each Sunday.