Jose Nicolas 'Nico' Gracesqui
Paula... Jose, Paola
1 Corinthians 15:58
- To build a new church building
- To have more unity between my wife and I
- To begin a nutrition center for the kids in the area
In a way, Nico's journey with Christ began with candy! He grew up in Santiago with his four brothers, two sisters and parents who loved him. It was his extended family, however- some aunts and uncles- who brought him to church to attend Vacation Bible School. Nico admits that at first he didn't enjoy VBS, but he continued to go because he wanted to get free candy they handed out at each meeting! From there, God grabbed his heart. At age 12, Nico accepted Christ.
He attended G.O.'s Central Church regularly and several years later became a youth leader. He worked in leadership alongside Eduard Gabriel, who is currently G.O.'s Caribbean President, but Eduard's father, G.O.'s President at the time, urged Nico to start his own church. Nico, at age 23, knew he needed more education for such a task so he moved to Panama and attended seminary there. For two years he studied and pastored in Panama before returning to the Dominican Republic.
After seminary, Nico came straight to the community of Los Perez in Santiago, where he still lives and ministers. Los Perez is a poor community, although, he says, there is wealth sprinkled in. Some in his neighborhood work in the tobacco industry, but many are unemployed. Drugs and alcohol and poverty are abound. As a result, one of the biggest issues in Los Perez is the lack of food and resources. His church is working to meet those needs and equip people with spiritual truth.
Nico's church building doubles as a feeding center. Six days a week, 95 children are given a hot meal. On Sundays, two services take place at the church-one is in Spanish for the 30-35 Dominicans who attend, and the other is in Creole for the 38 Haitian men and women who come each week.
With boldness, Nico wrote the government a letter requesting that they build the residents of Los Perez a new church building, and the government said "yes!" The foundation has begun and the hope is that the project will not take too long to complete. Nico is also trusting God to fulfill his vision to start a private school in Los Perez in order to further meet the needs of the community in Jesus' name.
Nico has been married to Paula Maria for 11 years. Together they have six-year old twins: Paola Nicol and Jose Adrian.