Our History: Bethesda
Small Beginnings: Bethesda was established in 1962 with the purpose of meeting the spiritual needs of the growing Spanish speaking community on the south side of San Antonio. During the years that followed, Bethesda began to make its presence known in south San Antonio and became recognized as a vital asset to the community. The church outgrew its facilities, and in 1982, with a small but determined group of people, Bethesda took a step of faith and purchased the present campus located at 8311 S. Zarzamora.
Moving Forward: The years to follow, Bethesda continued to grow and expand her reach, ministering to not only the south side of San Antonio, but to the city and the surrounding towns. Under the united leadership of the pastoral staff, and with a vision to reach a new generation, Bethesda changed her name to Mercy Church San Antonio in 2020.
Our history has molded us into who we are today and we are excited about the future!
Youth & Kids
Our Beliefs & Values
Here at Mercy Church, we exist to show God’s love and mercy to a broken world. For over 60 years our church has stood on that core belief that the world needs to see Jesus through us, to feel His love and compassion, and know Him personally. We believe the church is called to be His hands and feet.
Ministering to families is one of our top priorities.
Evangelizing the world is part of the Great Commission.
Rebuilding Lives. Rebuilding Families.
Creating a community of believers.
Yielding everything to God.
“Do something. Lead, follow or get out of the way!”
“El que no sirve, no sirve!”
– Pastor Abel Vasquez
Who We Are
Our Team & Leadership
Mercy Church is led by our senior and lead pastors, valuable pastoral staff, and a strategic leadership team.
Senior Pastors: Abel & Bertha Vasquez
Pastor Abel, along with his wife Bertha, has served as senior pastors of Mercy Church since August 15, 1976. They have been married for 42 years. Pastor Abel and Sis. Bertha have four children, eight grandchildren and countless spiritual children.
Pastor Abel has preached the gospel oversees since 1987. He has traveled and ministered in places like Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Nicaragua, Peru, and India.
Lead Pastors: Robert & Isela Flores
Pastor Rob and his wife Isela have been on staff at Mercy Church since May 2000. Pastor Rob and Pastor Isela have been married for 20 years. They have two kids and three dogs. They have also traveled overseas to preach the gospel. Pastor Rob has traveled to Nicaragua, and together, they have ministered in Haiti, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, and New Zealand.
Pastor Rob and Pastor Isela’s absolutes are loving each other, loving their kids and family, loving the church, and loving their favorite sports teams – Go Cowboys and Go Spurs Go! (You just might see them honking downtown on Commerce St. the next time the Spurs win the championship.)
Jake & Joy Arredondo
Pastors Jake & Joy joined the Mercy Church staff in 2009. They were married in January 2005 and have 3 children, a set of triplets! They served as youth pastors for 4 years before transitioning to the executive role. Both Pastor Jake & Pastor Joy are powerful preachers and teachers of the Word. Pastor Joy has ministered in Peru and Cuba. The Lord is continuing to open doors of opportunity for greater ministry throughout the world.
In his spare time, Pastor Jake throws down a mean BBQ, and in her spare time, Pastor Joy enjoys tending to her garden. Pastor Jake earned his bachelor’s degree from Southwestern Assemblies of God University.
Pastor Evie has been part of the Mercy Church family since September 2009.
She grew up traveling and ministering with her father, “El Payasito Oilvin.” Pastor Evie has a desire to reach children for the kingdom of God.
She is a graduate of Bethesda School of Ministries. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Baptist University of the Americas. Pastor Evie’s degree in Spanish enables Mercy Church to reach the Spanish speaking community at a greater level. She is happily married to Paul and has beautiful 3 children.
The Bible is God Inspired
The Bible is our compass for living. The Old and New Testament are given to us by God for us to study, so we can apply their lessons and teachings to daily life. Scripture is the ultimate authority for life.
2 Timothy 3:16,17 – All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
God is the One True God and Jesus Christ is His Son
There is one all powerful God that is the creator of Heaven and Earth. He loved us so much that he sent his Son so we can have a relationship with Him. Jesus Christ is fully God who was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, taught truth, died on a cross, and resurrected from the dead. His same healing power is available for us today.
John 17:3 – And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
People Sin but God Saves
We mess up and the Bible calls it sin. God created us in His own image, but we chose disobedience. We deserve death and separation from God, but by his grace through his Son Jesus we can be forgiven. By trusting God as our Lord and Savior, we can experience freedom and live an amazing life.
Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Communion and Water Baptism
There are two ways we can remember what Jesus did for us on the cross. Communion is memorial and a celebration. The eucharist consists of two elements: the bread helps reminds of his body and the cup reminds of his blood. The Bible encourages us to follow his example by being immersed in water as soon after we make a decision to follow him. It is a public way for us to show that we are changed.
Acts 2:41,42 – Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
God welcomes us the way we are, but change begins to happen from the inside out. We stop living for ourselves and desire to glorify God by our actions and words.
Romans 12:1,2 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.
The Holy Spirit
The baptism of the Holy Spirit gives us power to share the good news of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin. He gives us different gifts so we can build up the church and love others. The gifts of the spirit demonstrated in an orderly way are a beautiful and vital part of the church.
Acts 1:8 – But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
The church is filled with authentic followers of Jesus who follow the New Testament church in its four purposes (Worship, Instruction, Fellowship, and Expression). The mission of the church is to become friends with the unconvinced so there may be opportunities for them to become life long followers of Christ.
Ephesians 4:12 – for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
God’s Plan for the End Times
The Bible says that Jesus will return to the earth to bring his followers to Heaven. There will be a final judgement in which the dead will be resurrected and judged. Everyone whose name is not in the Book of Life, will be separated for eternity in Hell. Those whose names are written in the Book of Life will be rewarded and spend eternity with other followers in Christ in Heaven.
1 Thessalonians 4:17 – then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.