By Jenny Scott

February 2023

Two new vicars serving at San Pablo Lutheran Church in Aurora are evidence of how God is blessing Rev. Alex Merlo’s School for Missionaries (Escuela Luterana Misionera). Vicars Luis Gonzalez and Cruz Guerrero have been through all of the classes and will both graduate from the Center for Hispanic Studies at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis in 2024.

The School for Missionaries has a Congregational Level, where students learn to use Scripture and witness inside the congregation and in the culture; a Missionary Level, where students are trained to witness in the community and abroad; and the Seminary Level, which prepares students to potentially go on to seminary and become pastors, deacons, or deaconesses.

“My vision is that we’ll plant two new satellite churches for San Pablo in Hispanic communities which Luis and Cruz will lead,” said Pastor Merlo.

Right now, both vicars are receiving valuable experience at San Pablo. They have each preached sermons, led Sunday School and Bible classes, and assist Pastor Merlo where needed.

“Working with me is not easy,” joked Pastor Merlo, then added seriously, “I love these guys. They are
doing great, thank God. They are taking ownership of their positions and don’t need me to tell them
what to do.”

Pastor Merlo started the School for Missionaries at San Pablo in its current form in 2016 to train Spanish-speaking lay people in doctrine, leadership, and outreach in their communities. In addition to the 13 students currently enrolled in the school, Luis and Antonia Vital in Guerrero, Mexico are currently taking classes at the school’s Missionary Level and participate via Zoom. Pastor Merlo hopes to eventually visit Mexico and meet this husband and wife couple who are changing hearts and witnessing for God.

Here in Illinois, Vicars Luis and Cruz have nothing but positive things to say about the School for Missionaries.

“Everything we learned at the school has been valuable,” said Luis. “I see God working through me as a vicar every time I preach His Word or teach Bible studies.”

“The Lord is amazing,” added Cruz. “He is always moving thru His Church. I just serve people like Jesus commanded us to do.”



WITNESS: Encouraging personal witnessing, congregational engagement with their community, support of our NID partnerships and missions and sharing in a world mission field together.

School for Missionaries