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Orlando Sentinel

Carlos Juan Rivera-Colon Gave His Life To God After Prayer Experience

By Dorimar Mercado

February 13, 2003
Copyright © 2003
Orlando Sentinel. All rights reserved. 

After a life-altering experience, Carlos Juan Rivera-Colon decided to dedicate his life to traveling the world doing missionary work.

"When he was 18 years old, he attended a prayer service in Puerto Rico," said his wife, Francesca Rivera. "He was suffering from a severe skin condition, and a pastor at the service prayed for him. When he woke up the next morning, the infection was cured. From that moment on, he decided to dedicate his life to the Lord."

The Rev. Carlos Rivera-Colon of Orlando died Monday. He was 85.

Shortly after completing his studies in theology at the Mizpa Biblical College in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, he traveled to Cuba on his first missionary trip.

"He touched the lives of so many people there that to this day, we still receive letters from them and their children," said his son, Dr. David Rivera of Los Angeles.

Rivera-Colon thought that it was important for his children to be exposed to different cultures. His family always traveled with him, and the children attended schools in countries such as Cuba, Colombia, and Panama.

Family members said that he taught them that peace in the world could be achieved if humans took time to understand cultures of others.

Rivera-Colon worked closely with indigenous communities in Central and South America, helping translate the New Testament to their native languages, bringing medical supplies to the areas, and building new schools and churches.

He was awarded the title of "The Tireless Missionary" by the Concilio de la Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal, M.I. for a lifetime dedicated to God's work on Earth, his son said.

In Central Florida, he was a member of the Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal, M.I., of Orlando, where he volunteered as a pastoral counselor.

Survivors also include two sons, Carlos of Los Angeles and Efrain of Bayamon, Puerto Rico; one daughter, Raquel Rivera of Winter Springs; 17 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.

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