Rafael Aurispa, pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista in Laredo for nearly 20 years, died June 13 at the age of 98.
Born in Notto, Sicily on October 24, 1910, he immigrated with his family to South America when he was three and settled northwest of Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a young musician and carpenter, he abandoned a promising boxing career to follow God’s call into the ministry. After graduating from the Baptist International Seminary in Buenos Aires in 1941, he pioneered and served as pastor in churches in three different cities in Argentina. His ministry went on to impact many lives throughout a period of almost 60 years.
In 1959, Pastor Aurispa, his wife and their two children arrived in Laredo to pastor Primera Iglesia Bautista. During his tenure at Primera Iglesia Bautista, he led and initiated several “mission congregations” in the Laredo area that eventually became churches. Pastor Aurispa was known to travel regularly to conduct church services in Oilton, Mirando City, Encinal and other communities throughout South Texas and Northern Mexico.
He was instrumental in organizing the Latin American Ministerial Alliance of Laredo and served as its president for a time.
He traveled and conducted numerous evangelistic crusades and conferences throughout the United States, Central and South America.
He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Paulina, two children, nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren.