From Galveston..... to Hitchock .......to Alvin
In 1956 Tomas Trevino was a lay member at a church in Galveston, TX. He was a hard working man supporting his growing family as a welder. He was committed to serving God and did all he could to help the pastor of that congregation.
Through a series of events in his life his heart had learned to trust God and believe in Him for miracles. Nothing was impossible for God no matter how limited our resources were. It would be his life’s aim to fear God and serve Him wholeheartedly.
In 1957, at the age of 36, Tomas Trevino was asked to help in the construction of a church in Hitchcock, TX. Shortly after construction began, the pastor of the small congregation left the church. Brother Trevino was asked to pastor the church temporarily until the denomination’s leaders could send another pastor. However, another pastor was never sent and Brother Trevino was eventually installed as the official pastor of the church in Hitchock. This was the first church built by Pastor Trevino.
The church belonged to the Pentecostal Holiness denomination of the Texas Latin Conference, better known today as the IPHC. In October, 1958, two important things happened at the inauguration service in Hitchcock:
1) Pastor Tomas Trevino received a prophecy from Brother Esteban Lopez who at the time was the Superintendent of the IPHC. “The church would be a mother of other churches.”
2) Ramon and Dolores Hernandez from Alvin, and who attended the church in Hitchock, proposed that an IPHC church also be planted in Alvin, TX. They would donate the property which was on Lulac Street in Alvin. Two weeks later, Pastor Trevino visited the Hernandez family in Alvin to look for a place to start the mission. They found a train box car on Lulac Street and they rented it for $25.00 a month. The box car sat near the donated property.
Someone donated chairs and services began that week with Pastor Trevino. At times his only congregation were his wife and children.
Working Full Time and Pastoring Two Churches
Pastor Trevino lived in Galveston where he worked but his evening hours were spent pastoring the churches in Hitchcock and Alvin at the same time. And as if that were not enough he also decided to begin construction of a church on the donated property in Alvin. By this time he had seven children. Offerings were raised in that little box car church for the new building. The building fund had a grand total of $150.00.
The Miracle of the $150.00 Church
Pastor Trevino, with $150,00 in his wallet, convinced two men to accompany him to Galveston. One of these men owned a hauling truck. They went to a site in Galveston where a man was demolishing homes. Pastor Trevino asked this man to sell him some of the used wood. The man denied him over and over and wanted to sell him nothing.
But Pastor Trevino felt in his heart that he should keep insisting and he followed the man for almost an hour.
The man finally got tired of this persistence and asked him, “What do you want? Why have you followed me all morning?” Pastor Trevino replied with confidence, “I want you to sell me some wood so I can build a church.” The man asked, “How many thousands of dollars do you have?” Pastor Trevino replied, “I don’t have thousands, just one hundred fifty dollars.” The man laughed sarcastically as if saying, “and you think that you are going to convince me to sell you wood for $150.00?”
But at that moment something supernatural happened. It was as if someone touched that man’s hardened heart and he said the following words: “Okay, give me the one hundred fifty dollars and take all the wood that is here.” That statement surprised Pastor Trevino and the two men who accompanied him because the wood was so much that they had to make five trips in order to transport all the wood.
Pastor Trevino continued his work as a welder but in the evenings, after work, he would travel to Alvin to construct the church. It was not an easy task as Pastor Trevino practically built the church with his own bare hands. During rain the area would flood so bad that the water reached his knees. And because there was no electricity he would have to carry the wood to the road to cut it with a handsaw.
But it all paid off. The wood that cost $150.00 was enough to almost complete the whole building. All that lacked was the floor and ceiling which were completed shortly thereafter. The construction was completed in one year and it was dedicated to the Lord’s service in 1959. The official name of the church at that time was “Esmirna.”
Man’s Plans are not God’s Plans
By 1961, Pastor Trevino had to make a choice. By now he was 40 years old with his eighth child about to be born. He continued working in Galveston though now he was living in Hitchcock to be closer to the church he pastored. With the two churches now constructed it was time to dedicate himself to only one church and have someone else assigned to the church in Alvin. It just made sense for him to stay in Hitchcock. He made plans to release the newly constructed church “Esmirna” in Alvin during the month of September.
But on September 11th God changed his plans. Hurricane Carla, a Category 4 storm, passed through Hitchock and it’s horrifying winds pushed the church from where it stood to the edge of the property. At the same time Pastor Trevino’s home was totally flooded and they lost everything. Pastor Trevino’s spiritual leaders advised him not to turn the church in Alvin over, but to pastor it instead since the church in Hitchcock was devastated.
So one October afternoon, in 1961, the Trevino family arrived to Alvin, TX. Brother Juan Barajas offered his half constructed home temporarily for Pastor Trevino and his family to live in as Pastor Trevino made plans to now build a new home for his family.
Within four months he built an annex to the church and he moved his family into the home in February of 1962. At that time the home was not completed so they passed through many freezing nights without heat, then extremely hot conditions without air conditioning. But it was finally completed by the end of the year.
This was home to the Trevino family till 1973 when Pastor Trevino built a home across the street from the church. The original home was converted into classrooms.
A Miracle in Alvin, TX makes World News
In 1973 we witnessed the move of God in our church in a supernatural way. During a baptismal service, people saw a vision in the church baptistery as people were being baptized. After the service, we noticed that the painting behind the baptistery had an image in the center of it which had not deliberately been painted by the artist, whom we had contracted to do the painting.
The image is a person in the center of the painting – wearing white with arms extended outward. People in the congregation began to tell others about what happened. Soon the media came out and came to the church to report on the painting. It was reported not only in local stations but internationally as well. Thousands of people came to the church to see the painting.
We have never encouraged the worship of images so we would preach to the visiting people about the gospel and that Jesus was coming soon.
Many people gave their lives to the Lord and many were water baptized in the same baptistery where the image appeared. The painting was relocated to the baptistery of the new sanctuary which was completed in 2007 and the image can still be seen to this day.
A Legacy Remains
Throughout the years the church continued to grow, ministries and individual callings took place, and daughter churches were planted in Bay City, Freeport, and Webster. God blessed and continues to bless the church with many talents – especially in the areas of music, singing, teaching, and preaching.
Pastor Trevino sowed the love of music into his children as he himself was a musician. He played saxophone, harmonica, and his trademark were the “maracas.” He was a songwriter but perhaps what impacted people the most was the way he sang. It was not so much his voice but the way he would sing. His songs were living and real to him. He cried as he sang, he looked up to God as he sang, almost every message began or ended with a song. That is why today, music is such an important part of our services.
A New Generation
In 1989 Pastor Tomas Trevino went home to be with the Lord and his son in law, Avelino Da Silva, became the pastor. Pastor Trevino’s wife Julia was a great help to the new pastor as the congregation went through the grief of losing its founding pastor. After completing her mission she also went to be with the Lord in 1995.
Pastors Tomas and Julia Trevino left a spiritual legacy to their 11 children and all of them learned much about God after seeing their example. Today all of them are serving the Lord in different ministries or capacities and several of them are still serving at Emmanuel Worship Center.
The legacy of Pastor Tomas Trevino lives on. His faithfulness, integrity and love for God and others is the foundation for the way we serve people at Emmanuel Worship Center. He made a lasting impact in the lives of so many people in our community. Even though his body is no longer with us, more than 20 years later, his spirit and anointing live on. Emmanuel Worship Center is passionate for continuing what Pastor Trevino started so many years ago.
The 1990's were years of transition, struggle and victory. Pastor Avelino believed God for a new vision. The church made a name change from Esmirna to Emmanuel Worship Center with a heart to be bilingual and bi-cultural in the community of Alvin, TX. Pastor Avelino and his family sacrificed much for the continuing work of God through the local church. God gave Pastor Avelino an almost impossible vision where he knew that only God could supply. Avelino led the church through many changes and even though he faced resistance, he remained faithful to serving people and believing God.
-Avelino Da Silva
"Don't just believe in God ....
but believe God!"
Avelino even began an extension of the ministry of the church by hosting a TV program on a local channel spreading the Gospel and giving hope to others through interviews and testimonies. By the end of the decade, the show partnered with Daystar Television Network and went international. Avelino retired as Daystar's Spanish Programming Coordinator in 2011.
Pastor Avelino Da Silva took the challenge of pastoring behind a great man of God. Yet he himself has demonstrated in his own life the importance of serving God wholeheartedly and fearing God above all else.
Though he is well known because of his exposure on television, you will find that he is very humble and approachable. He has a true pastor’s heart that desires for God’s people to grow and increase, and use their talents for God’s glory. His love for people is genuine and you will feel the spirit of “home” at Emmanuel Worship Center because of the warmth our pastors generate.
2000 & BEYOND!
Same Church – New Building
In 2000 the church stepped out in faith and bought 7.78 acres of land located behind the old property. After 7 years of loving labor by many church members, we completed our new building and had our first service in December, 2007.
Today, Emmanuel Worship Center is experiencing wonderful growth. When churches across the country are closing their doors, Emmanuel Worship Center continues to increase. We truly believe the best is yet to come. The seeds sown since 1958 have developed strong roots. We are tasting the fruit of God's goodness and faithfulness. We know God's not through with us yet and our expectation for God's people is to also grow strong in the Lord and partner with us in "Reaching the World". We will not take for granted the many years of sacrifice, patience, tears and joy that we have experienced. So many people have been touched by this ministry and we desire for God to touch more. The vision will go forth and those who call Emmanuel home are excited to be a part of it.