Partners in Marriage, Life, & Ministry
Every pastor needs a strong supporter in ministry, and often, it’s a spouse. With Pastor Oskel Mariño Reyes and his wife, Vilmaris Laurencio Sablon, it’s more than support; they’re true partners in life and ministry. Their partnership was woven together by the hand of God. By working alongside each other to serve God and their community as a team, Oskel and Vilmaris inspire others and make a difference for so many.
Oskel was born and raised in eastern Cuba in a town called Moa and later moved 300 miles west to central Cuba to Morón, where he and Vilmaris live today. They have two children, a 20-year-old son, Rubén Mariño Laurencio, and a 12-year-old daughter, Ester Mariño Laurencio. When they were married for only ten months, they were invited to a worship service. Oskel had never been to church, so they went. That night Oskel and Vilmaris accepted Christ at the service. New in their faith, the church pastor felt they would become pastors, and he began preparing them for ministry. They accepted God’s call and were willing to serve.
Then, in 2000, Osmani preached at a church in Moa. Osmani’s vision and how he served the Lord traveling throughout Cuba, preaching the Gospel, and winning souls for Christ, inspired Oskel to think bigger about his calling. Over the years, Osmani’s commitment to God, perseverance, and support have influenced Oskel and Vilmaris in their ministry. Today, Oskel has about 80 people of all ages in his congregation. He loves teaching and guiding people in God’s way, training and equipping other leaders for ministry, doing missionary work, and helping other ministries thrive. Also, a sports ministry is a natural fit since he liked sports as a child, and it’s a great way to reach so many with the Word of God.
While guiding people to Christ is at the center of their ministry, it has always been in their hearts to host larger events, but without the tools and resources, it was nearly impossible. Bringing a large number of people together requires travel for attendees, space, food, and more. With a fuel and food shortage, the supplies and funding needed to execute a large event were impossible. One afternoon Vilmaris shared this desire with Wayne. And Oskel and Vilmaris turned a few resources from the Atulado family into a remarkable event that impacted many people. Last year, Vilmaris was featured in a story about the women’s conference she held for about fifty attendees. The event deeply encouraged the women who attended, and since then, many have been coming to church and committed to serving God. In addition to the women’s conference, sports events and other gatherings have been held. These larger events have inspired other pastors to step by faith to plan larger events even though their resources are that of a boy with five barley loaves and two small fish (John 6:8-11). Some have contacted Oskel to learn how to implement these activities in their area, giving Oskel more opportunities to mentor those leading ministries.
Wayne said, “From the first time I met Oskel and Vilmaris, I knew they were servants focused on doing the Lord’s work. They never strayed from the calling God put on their lives. They both have the gift of hospitality and humbly serve the Lord, always putting others first.”
From the very first day of ministry, Oskel attributes Vilmaris as his blessing from God. Oskel said, “Vilmaris encourages me at all times. When she sees I am wrong, she helps me focus on what I must do to have good results. She is a true supporter in life and ministry.”
Oskel is always supportive. For example, Vilmaris leads evangelism and visits congregation members. So, when she’s at the hospital praying with people, Oskel takes care of the kids and household chores.
Vilmaris said, “I never feel alone. The best part of working with him is I feel supported and cherished and not alone in the work, knowing I have the best partner.”
Rubén and Ester have watched their parents serve God together, influencing their involvement in ministry at church. Today, Ester prepares dance for worship, sings, and performs at church, and Rubén does many things in ministry. In addition to impacting Rubén and Ester, Oskel and Vilmaris’ encouragement reaches deep into their community. Their testimony has helped many people come to Jesus Christ. Recently, they visited, shared the word of God through Bible study lessons, and prayed for a woman with two daughters. The family started coming to church and finally received Jesus in their hearts. For Oskel and Vilmaris, this is just one example of how God uses their work together in God’s Kingdom.
Oskel said, “My favorite Bible verse has always spoken to me of God’s great sufficiency for all of us.”
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”
Vilmaris shared, “My favorite Bible verse reminds me that everything I do in my life is thanks to the ability that Christ gives me because he strengthens me. I give him all the glory and honor because he is good!”
When Oskel and Vilmaris aren’t doing ministry work, they like watching a movie or going out to eat together.