CNJ staff photo Martin Martinez works at the Animal Control Center in Clovis and on the weekends minsters at the Curry County Detention Center, the Lighthouse Mission and the Beacon of Light.
By Keely McDowell: CNJ staff writer
Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series of stories about church volunteers.
After turning to God in 1997 and changing his life, Martin Martinez said he feels his calling is to help those going down the destructive path he once traveled.
Martin Martinez works at the Animal Control Center in Clovis, and on the weekends ministers at the Curry County Detention Center, the Lighthouse Mission and the Beacon of Light.
Martinez grew up in Clovis, and said when he ministers, he recognizes many of the people and their situations.
“A lot of the inmates in the jail know me. We grew up together,” Martinez said. “So, they can actually see the road that they took and the road that I took. They can see the difference.”
According to Martinez and his wife Anna, he struggled with alcohol and being a good husband to his wife and father to his children before turning to God.
“It wasn’t a good road, that’s for sure. We have been married for 20 years,” Anna Martinez remembered. “The first five years were great, but the second five years I didn’t worry about him at all. It was just me and my son. The third five years we had to get to know each other again.”
With his actions putting strain on his marriage and a second child on the way, his wife asked him to go to church and Martinez decided it was time to make a change.
Martinez said he chooses to minister in the detention center, the Lighthouse Mission, and the Beacon of Light because it reminds him of where he would be without the mercy of the Lord.
“The Bible says, ‘You will completely cleanse me, and I will serve you.’ So, that is what I did,” said Martinez, who serves on the leadership at High Plains Baptist Church. “I feel this is how I can give back. A lot of people don’t want to go into the jails. They want to say ‘Let those guys rot’ or whatever, but you know what? We are all the same way. Let who is without sin cast the first stone.”
Geri Gomez, administrative assistant for the Lighthouse Mission, believes Martinez’ past and ability to relate to people in difficult situations helps him to reach those in need of hope.
“When he comes and does the devotion during our soup kitchen, the people receive so much from him,” Gomez said. “He is very sincere and very powerful.”
To suggest a profile on a church volunteer contact CNJ managing editor Rick White at 763-6991 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org