Laura Rodríguez was born on October 3, 1903, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. She was raised Catholic and accepted Christ after a visiting missionary witnessed to her.
Laura became a dynamic woman of God who was known for her strong prayer life. She served faithfully as a pastor, missionary and intercessor. But she was also an entrepreneur, a songwriter, a poet, a wife and a mother.
In 1946 Laura, along with her husband, Natividad Rodríguez, migrated to New York City with their five children. Tragedy struck, and by the end of the following year, her husband and oldest daughter had died.
Laura, who spoke no English, was left to raise four young children alone in a strange city. She endured the sort of life circumstances that would cause others to collapse in despair. But these were mere stepping-stones to Laura.
Because of her upbringing, Laura first sought support for her family in a nearby Catholic church. But when she heard the singing coming from a neighborhood Spanish Pentecostal church, La Sinogoga, she decided to make the congregation her extended family.
Laura was formally ordained as a missionary by the Latin American Council of Pentecostal Churches. She graduated from the Latin American Bible Institute in 1953.
After her children were married with children of their own, Laura began her ministry, traveling to Haiti, Curaçao, the Dominican Republic and Aruba. In New York, she established a church in the West Bronx, El Caudillo de Dios, which she later turned over to the Latin American Council.
Later, Laura’s faith was tested again when two more of her children died within a week of each other. But her zeal did not wane. She continued evangelizing the growing Latin community in Amsterdam, New York, until she was well into her 70s.
Seeking God’s timing, Laura asked the Lord for a small house. Her plan was to use one of the rooms for a Sunday school class.
In 1981, the Lord answered her prayer, miraculously providing a three-family dwelling. After renovations were completed, Laura dedicated the first floor to the Lord and held church services there.
Later, the church was incorporated and named Latin American Pentecostal Church of God, La Segunda Sinagoga. Laura was ordained pastor of the church by the president of the Latin American Council. She served in this role for nine years.
Because of failing health, Laura retired from her pastorate at age 91. She lived with her daughter and son-in-law until her death on January 27, 1998.
The Rev. Laura Rodríguez left the body of Christ a powerful legacy of faithfulness and a testimony that “with God, nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1:37, NKJV).
Jonette O’Kelley Miller is a freelance writer.