Louis R. Torres
Born in one of the most impoverished barrios in Puerto Rico, Louis Raul Torres struggled, along with his family, to survive. His mother, hearing of the good life of New York City longed to take her little family, six of them by now, to the land of opportunity. In the early ‘50’s the chance of a lifetime presented itself, and the mother with three of her children moved to Brooklyn. “Louisito”, as he was lovingly nicknamed, was one of those “lucky” ones.
At the age of 13, Louis, wanting to relieve his mother of poverty, sought a life in music. This dream became a reality and he worked his way from one band to another until he found a temporary home with “Bill Haley and His Comets”, playing the bass guitar.
Just before a world tour, Christ interjected Himself onto the pathway of this wayward child. Two years earlier one of his older brothers became a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, but this day it was his oldest brother that was to be the “tool of choice” to break through the hardened shell of this empty, howbeit, favored man. Instead of a world tour with the Comets, Louis chose a life with Christ which circumstantially put him in line to be a soldier in the United States Army headed for Viet Nam.
Even so, with a new goal in life, he finished his two years of service looking more like a tourist with the United States Army Chorus of Korea, spending only three weeks at the D.M.Z. before returning to New York City to finish out his tour at the Chaplains school.
During these two years, he found time to keep in contact with his fiancé and they were married in California; then making their home at Fort Hamilton Chaplains School, Brooklyn, NY. In 1970 he went to Pacific Union College to prepare his life for the Ministry. He had some wonderful professors there that galvanized his desire to serve the Lord and he heard the call, “today, if you hear my voice, work in my vineyard”. God opened the way for his young family to work in the Chesapeake Conference territory (Maryland and Delaware) doing health evangelism and Bible work. In January 1972 he entered the ministry in Dover, Delaware.
A year later, the Conference asked him to work for them training pastors and laymen how to find, and present the Word of God, in Bible studies. This he did with great enthusiasm, driving hours to different locations in the Conference to meet with pastors and laymen everyday for three weeks at each location. After a year, his body was so tired that one night on his way home to Hagerstown, Maryland, he fell asleep at the wheel and drove at least two more hours in this slumber, finding himself in a completely different state and nearly out of gas. He pulled into a gas station to find where he was and to fill up. He arrived home at 5:00 a.m. (only six hours late!).
The next day he called the Conference President inclined to tern in his resignation and go back to school. The president would hear nothing to it and instead put him in a district in Delaware that was struggling. These dear people taught the young family so much. It was a wonderful training ground. The family often thanked the Lord for their first Conference President, their fist Senior Pastor, their first Head Elders their first churches, and their first church plant (in Spanish no less—a language he could hardly speak.)
Due to God’s great training ground, Pastor Torres accepted a call to Santa Fe, New Mexico to pastor both an English and Spanish church. With his first real evangelistic meeting in the beautiful mountains of New Mexico, the Pastor started not only training his members for Bible work but also for evangelism and lay preaching. Many were baptized and churches grew. Pastor Torres thought it a waste to have hundreds baptized at Campmeeting from a meeting that was run by the Ken Cox evangelistic team, and not have the media there to spread the good news. That beautiful occasion was viewed by thousands as it aired on both the six o’clock and eleven o’clock news.
While in Santa Fe, the Pastor also served as a liaison between the church and the state legislature. This provided an opportunity to make many friends for the church and when a prominent Catholic Senator from Santa Fe died on the steps of the State Building, unknown to the family, he had put into his will and testament his desire to have the Pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist church perform his funeral. What a sad and thrilling experience to be sandwiched between a traditional Catholic service, Pastor Torres’ message, and then a Charismatic Catholic service. Hundreds that day learned of the hope there is in Christ and were deeply moved by the Adventist message.
The Torres family’s “first Senior Pastor” moved to Kansas City, MO, After struggling a short time to inspire his congregation, he called, feeling very “lead”, to ask Pastor Torres to came to Kansas City and make his church a model evangelistic center. This was a wonderful highlight in the Torres family’s service to God. Hundreds were baptized, both in this district and abroad, thirty-eight lay preachers were trained, three evangelistic teams were formed, and fifty medical students became involved in church outreach. Another church plant was successfully made in Lee Summit, MO., and a Spanish Group was formed at the Central SDA Church
Very obvious indications led the family to minister in Jacksonville, Florida. The First Church (as it was called) was in a dangerous area of town and needed to be sold. God blessed, and what had not been able to be accomplished, in a year was accomplished and two new congregations were formed—both very healthy churches. A Spanish congregation was formed and also a church built in Hilliard. Several times Pastor Torres spoke to the President of the Conference feeling the need to finish his degree; but the President just quipped that if he wanted to be called Master (as in degree), he would call him Master and the subject was again dropped.
The Ohio Conference President (a man who had been the President of Missouri Conference) called Louis to serve in Cincinnati, Ohio. Pastor Torres again broached the subject of schooling as he wanted to go as a missionary. After researching the schools in the area, it was found that the perfect opportunity was right at hand. Both he and his wife took advantage of this situation and finished their degrees. Shortly after, they received a call to the Islands of Palau to be district Pastor.
The Palau experience was cut short by Mrs. Torres’ health yet in the short fifteen months on island, hundreds were baptized, property was procured in Yap to start the work there, and plans were made for a new church in Koror. Such wonderful memories were made that it was very difficult to leave these beautiful people.
From an island of few more than 15,000 people, the family moved to New York City where Pastor Torres became Secretary of the Greater New York Conference. Because of the great needs, he also shouldered Evangelism for the Conference and for a short time—until sufficient funds were raised—became Stewardship Secretary. These next five years were wonderful years of training, evangelism, and conflict resolution. During these years, Pastor Torres organized a massive lay training/evangelism project with 777 precious souls added to the churches, and a three day evangelistic meeting in Madison Square Gardens which was a wonderful success.
In 1992, Pastor Torres became Vice-president of Amazing Facts, Director of Evangelism and Training. It was his job to mentor the evangelists and do training where needed It was while here that he and Carol trained laymen for involvement in Net ’95 and Net ’96 all over the Division. He also was serving, since 1995 as Dean of Mission College of Evangelism.
Because of all the training being done in English, there was felt a need to do more for the fastest growing minority in America—the Hispanics. Spanish Voice of Prophecy asked Pastor Torres to Direct the Bible School for La Voz de la Esperanza, which he did for a year.
The evangelism fire was catching on everywhere and the North American Division asked Pastor Torres to write a Mission Statement for Evangelism. This he did and it was adopted, and as well, Pastor Torres was hired by the Division as Director of Training and Evangelism—ASI. This position he held for four years while also serving as Vise-president of Mission College of Evangelism which was by this time operating in Oregon.
Since 2004, Pastor Torres has continued as Vice-president of the College but has also continued to do Evangelism and training of laymen and pastors throughout the Division and World Church, spending much time in Australia, Europe, Asia, South Africa, North America, Inter America, and South America.
As of this writing, he is now serving the world church as President of the Guam-Micronesia Mission, headquartered in Guam This area stretches over 3000 miles with hundreds of inhabited islands that need the Lord. He has already arranged for several Bible workers, teachers, and health evangelists to serve in that area and will be training on the home campus as well as all over his Mission and Division to prepare workers for the Guam-Micronesia Mission and the mission of the church at large. Because his military service is counted as church service, this January 2010, Pastor Torres will complete forty years of Service to the Movement of Destiny that he so loves.
- D.Min. in Pastoral Studies/Counseling
- D.Min. in Humane Letters
- M.A. in Pastoral Ministries
- M.A. in Management
- B.A. in Communications and Media Studies
- Certificate in Consulting
- Certificate in Community Health Education, LLU/School of Public Health
- Author of numerous books and articles
Carol A. (Reinke) Torres
At a very early age, it was obvious that Carol had been blessed with the gift of music. Not surprising as both her parents were quite musical, her grandmother played the harp and sang like an opera star, and her great grandmother had taught music at the conservatory in Stockholm, Sweden. To young Carol, the only gift she wanted for years was a violin. Her father searched the Bay Area of California but was unable to find one small enough for her. When the family moved to Pacific Union College, there she found the reality of her dreams and started music lessons at six years of age Her first one hour solo recital was at the age of seven.
Staying home until she was eight, she found lots of time to ride horses, play on the hillsides, and practice three to five hours a day just for fun. By the time she was nine, she was playing with the Pacific Union College orchestra and had won her first music scholarship at the Pasadena Youth Festival She was also touring with a concert choir and made 3-5 public appearances every week. Musically, she had completed all the requirements for a college degree in music performance.
When entering grade school, her classroom studies went well as she skipped grades two and three going straight into fourth. Carol stayed out of school her seventh grade year to work on her music. Somehow things did not go so well that year. Frustrated by the feeling that she did not understand what her violin teacher was expecting from her, she was picked her up from home and driven to her lesson. But a huge surprise awaited both her mother and her teacher when Carol simply refused to go into the lesson. Not having spoken a word before this, you can imagine the consternation of both adults as they grappled to understand what was happening. The teacher admitted that she had not been teaching Carol much because she did not want her to get too far ahead of her peers. The unkind reality of the competitive nature of the music world came crashing down around the young musician and she chose not to continue her music.
Her mother had other ideas and finally presumed upon her to take lessons from Dr. George Wargo, head of the music department at Pacific Union College and also director of the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra. He was good for the young student and instilled some very needed musical discipline in performance. But whether it was the policy of the College or if he just thought he could prevail, he demanded that Carol continue to play in the College orchestra if she was going to take lessons. Planning to go back to school her eighth grade year so that she could have more social contact, Carol again pulled back. However, she had started teaching violin and loved it.
A few months later, her mother again talked her into taking lessons from a lady in Napa, California. She was concert-mistress of the Napa Valley Symphony and such a truly lovely person. Soon Carol was hooked again and though she rarely practiced, won every music competition she entered. Some of these competitions were young enough themselves that they had not found reason to limit those who competed to only persons who had not one first place the year before. Needless to say, this soon became a new ruling as Carol won one competition after another, winning scholarships to Eastman School of Music and/or Peabody Institute of her choice. While she was still fifteen, she earned her Tenth Year Certificate of Merit (the highest level of certification given at that time) from The Music Teachers’ Association of California.
The year earlier, she won a spot in the Stanford University Youth Music Festival. Again she found it difficult to earn her rightful position in the orchestra because of her religious commitments to Sabbath observance. By the time she had won an opportunity to play with the Chicago Symphony and had to turn it down for the Sabbath, and now the Eastman/ Peabody opportunity presented itself, she did not find this accomplishment so brilliant. At the age of 16, she decided to move to La Sierra College to continue her violin lessons from Prof. Walters. This was a comfortable move. Here she played in the University Quartet—viola, a Community String Quartet—violin, the University orchestra—violin, and did relief work for three symphonies—Redlands, Riverside, and San Bernardino. Doing the relief work was a wonderful experience as she never knew which part she was going to be playing so had to sight read really well. She took the place of “whoever” was missing and drew their check. She also worked for several advertisement firms at $100/hr.
Changes were to come into her life and at the age of seventeen, she found the true meaning of life in Christ and chose to rearrange her priorities to meet these new goals. That same year she went to New York City to work in Park Evangelism at the New York Center. Here she had a variety of different responsibilities that took her into the great parks of the city to witness for Christ, gave her opportunity to work very closely with “Campus Crusades for Christ”, “Teen Challenge”, Dave Wilkerson (The Cross and the Switchblade) and Nicki Cruz. But the greatest impact on her life was following up children who had attended “Underprivileged Camp” at the Birkshires. Alone, she made her way into the ghettos and condemned buildings to meet with these children and their families. At that moment she knew that whatever her lifework, it had to encompass those who did not have such opportunities as she had growing up with two parents that worked respectable jobs, private schooling, and private music, art, and foreign language lessons.
In New York, Carol met Louis Torres and a “common goal” friendship was born. Carol went back to College and Louis drafted into the Army. Late 1969, they married and started preparing for ministry.
While they were still in New York, Carol was offered the position of First Violinist with the Long Island Symphony and music education classes in the unsurpassed method of Kodally (now a required component of the Suzuki method). Maestro Halasz, director of the symphony and founder and director of the New York Opera Company chose Carol to receive a full scholarship to what has become a very reputable Music Conservatory at Stony Brook, NY (a branch of New York University), a full conducting scholarship with himself, and a full violin scholarship with a famed violin teacher in N.Y. City. She also taught under Maestro Laszlo Halasz at the University. This was a huge crossroads experience. After a time of deep reflection, she chose rather to support her husband in his ministry
While Louis went to college, Carol taught Kindergarten for the California public school system and gave private music classes to the very privileged children of the wine country of Napa Valley to earn money for his education. After his first year in College, Louis felt the need to get into the work directly so the couple went to Loma Linda School of Public Health where they both earned their certificates in Community Health Education. Then they went to the Chesapeake Conference to continue his lay work for the Lord.
Throughout Louis’ ministry, Carol has organized church choirs, taught music, started elementary schools in districts that had no school and trained the laity along side her husband. She has provided the special music for countless evangelistic meetings, campmeetings, and hundreds of churches.
While training lay preachers in Kansas City, Carol had a deep conviction that there needed to be a resident training program that allowed the student to receive everything they needed to be effective soul winners. For years she had been training laymen, providing a haven for substance and emotional rehabilitation as well as raising their three children, establishing and teaching school, tutoring, and giving music lessons; but as she watched the changes that came over these men and women as they shared the word of God and became involved themselves in outreach, she knew this was perhaps the most important work she could do outside of her family. She immediately went home and drew up the curriculum for “Mission College of Evangelism”. That was 1980. For many more years she worked as usual for her family, church, and while in New York City again during her husband’s time with the Greater New York Conference, she worked behind the scenes to put in place one of the most successful summer literature programs that the church has ever experienced to date.
After the marriage of her youngest in 1992, she continued training for the North American Division Dept. of Volunteers for Net ’95, Net’96 and for Amazing Facts. In 1995 her dream of a resident school became a reality when she established Mission College on the campus of Black Hills Health and Education Center, SD. She also served as President of Black Hill bringing a vibrancy to that campus that had not been known to that time.
Due to the need for a greater population base, Mission College was moved to the old Laurelwood Academy campus in Gaston, Oregon in 2002. Here Carol A. Torres, President continues to be the guiding and educational mainstay of Mission College of Evangelism, a program she uniquely owns and loves.
- B.A. in Music Performance
- B.A. in Education (Emphasis on Individual Guidance Education)
- Certificate in Community Health Education from LLU/School of Public Health
- Certificate of Merit, Eighth Year, Ninth Year and Tenth Year—Music Teachers’ Association.
- Recipient of several 4-year, all expense paid scholarships to major Conservatories of Music
- Author, Notes on Music and numerous training manuals