The Rev. Gabriel Chavez is a humble man who believes that preaching only from the Bible and scrupulously adhering to it are the keys to leading people down the right spiritual path.

As founder of the Word of God Ministries Church at 905 S. County Road West, the Rev. Chavez was preaching before the pandemic to an average of 100 people each Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and he called on his faith to weather the hard times as those numbers fell by almost half.

Worst of all, his wife of 43 years, Lucy, died in 2020.

“I preach about everything from Genesis to Revelation,” he said. “If it’s not in there, I don’t preach it. I stay with the facts of life and what’s going on around the world and I try to help people out and be there to assist and comfort them when they have family members pass.

“I tell them that no matter what happens, God is in control. We need to help and support one another.”

Chavez’ second wife’s name is Norma. He has two children and five grandchildren.

The Odessa native was a battery and tire specialist for Montgomery Ward and a construction operator for Pioneer Natural Gas till joining Atmos Energy, where he is an associate service technician.

Inspired and taught by the Rev. Micky Munoz, Chavez graduated from the Spanish Global Bible Institute and was ordained in 1979.

“My goal is to be a follower and disciple of Christ and to become like him,” he said. “I don’t listen to the top people in governments. If we stay with the Word and don’t change it, we can get hope. We can learn how to love and treat others.

“In my opinion, many people don’t read the Word like they are supposed to. Everybody is busy, so they should make their own time to read the Scripture.”

Chavez’ brother-in-law Hector Cuevas was an atheist and it took the minister 20 years to persuade him to become a Christian. “The guy never judged me or preached to me,” Cuevas said.

“He just showed me love and when I did end up reaching the church, all he said was, ‘I need somebody like you here in church.’ Gabriel wants people to be doing what we’re supposed to be doing and live our lives to the best of our ability.

“He doesn’t force anybody to seek religion because he knows it will be in God’s time.” Cuevas said Chavez “is a very good man. “Through all my struggles, he was just a phone call away and he is like that with every member,” he said. “I love that man. There are not many people like him anymore.”