Born in El Salvador, Edgar Galdámez moved to the U.S. with his family when he was 10 and has spent most of his time since then in southern California.
Galdámez graduated from public high school and earned an associate’s degree in California before completing a bachelor’s degree in Biblical studies from Arizona Christian University in Phoenix. In 1998, he earned a Master of Divinity from Golden Gate Seminary.
In the mid-1990s he started church planting, which means building a Christian community from a core group of people into a sizable congregation.
The church he planted was Centro Cristiano Vida Abundante in Orange County, California. He worked there from 1995 to 2001.
He was working by himself trying to start a church with some support from the church that sent him and his wife and some support from their denomination. However, he needed to support his family. He decided the best way to do that was teaching. So he obtained his teaching certificate and started teaching.
He started substitute teaching in 1999, began teaching full-time in 2001 and taught until last fall 2014.
“I loved it,” he said. “I love children. I think it has been a very helpful experience.”
He worked primarily with Title 1 schools, which are schools with a high percentage of students who come from lower-income families. It allowed him to see some of the struggles parents and children go through and lend some support.
About three years ago, he began to sense God leading him and his family back into full-time ministry.
Last August, he heard about the Grace Español pastor position at Grace Community Church and in August he and his family moved to Tyler.
In California, his wife, Patricia, who is from Mexico, worked as a nurse. Here, she is a stay-at-home mother and is supporting her husband in his work.
The couple have four children, two of whom are grown, and two who remain at home. The younger two are adopted.
Galdámez said there is a huge need in the Hispanic community for churches, not just small independent churches, but churches with enough resources to provide for the needs of the families.
Grace has resources and that is one of the reasons Galdámez said he was excited about the position.
“Church should be a place where anyone can come, whether they speak English or not, and we need to be able to reach them in their own language,” he said.