In April 2003 "Rayitos" (Little rays) was born. Under the direction of the Holy Spirit a ministry called “Christian Effort” (presided by Mr. Miguel Cortés-Colón) in union with the Ministry of Christian Education, organized this ministry for boys and girls between the ages of 5 to 12 residing in the Buen Consejo community of Rio Piedras. Our church, Primera Iglesia Bautista de Rio Piedras and its former pastors Rvdo. Guillermo Otero and Rvda. Aida Castillo, joined in prayer and support for this new ministry.
The Community Center of Buen Consejo was the venue for the meetings every Saturday from 9:30 am to 12:00 pm. From the beginning, an enthusiastic group of 30 boys and girls participated in the activities: biblical stories, music, crafts, art and recreation, as well as a rich and nutritious snack. This rewarding effort was attended by volunteer brothers and sisters from our church. Rayitos also offered reading tutorials to students who lagged in that skill. These tutorials were offered by two certified teachers from our congregation.
A few years after the beginning of “Rayitos”, the community center needed to be repaired. Since, the group began to meet in the facilities of the church. Thus begins to offer the transportation service from their homes to our facilities. Meeting at the church facilities encouraged the attendance of boys and girls from the Capetillo community. Ms. Olga Loiziaga, a community resident, brought a good number of children, who joined the participants from the Buen Consejo community. It is curious that when the participants moved out of any of these communities, they wanted to continue participating in “Rayitos”, so the transportation service was extended to the communities of San José, Sabana Llana, Quintana and Barrio Obrero. This gave the opportunity for other boys and girls to participate in the experience Saturday after Saturday. The fidelity and desire of our drivers to open spaces for our children has allowed the services to be also extended to the communities of Berwind, Las Parcelas and the Valencia community.
The growth of the group brought with it the participation of brothers and sisters willing to serve the Lord with enthusiasm, commitment, dedication and love for the Lord and his “little ones”. There are many tasks carried out in this ministry by teachers, assistants, drivers, drivers' companions, kitchen and security leaders, in addition to the preparers of reports that are written and the weekly attendance and programming review carried out, among other tasks.
It is important to mention that “Rayitos” has been a practice center for students in psychology and social work from the University of Puerto Rico and the University of the Sacred Heart, in coordination with the CAUCE project. In recent years the opportunity has also opened up for high school students who must volunteer hours of community service as part of their graduation requirements.
In 2019, “Rayitos” had to change its name to avoid conflict with an organization that serves children suffering from cancer and that registered that name with the State Department. Our new name was established as "Rayitos" since over time we have been able to enjoy watching the development of our childhood and see how they become “Rayitos” of light, love, joy, goodness, peace and hope of a better Puerto Rico, extending to where the Lord decides to direct them. It should be noted that, based on this name change, this year a contest was held to design a new logo. The girl Keinily Pagán was the creator of the winning design that will be the new logo that distinguishes us.
We give glory and honor to the Lord because He has kept us active by serving Him first and our children for the past 18 years. There are many leaders and collaborators who have offered their time, gifts and talents to this beautiful and fruitful ministry. Some already rest in the Lord from their works, but their work remain in our hearts and in the hearts of our children.
We celebrate with gratitude to the Lord and with joy that today many of those “Rayitos” remain faithful to Him serving as leaders in the churches in which they congregate. We thank God because there are "Rayitos" serving in the fields of nursing, education, archeology, in the secretarial area, among other professional and community fields.
Today we affirm that the Lord has been very good in allowing us to work and serve Him in this ministry. All the honor and glory to the Lord!!!