Five questions with Carlos Irizarry, Wimauma pastor
This week we chat with Carlos Irizarry, 52, pastor at Wholesome Community Ministries in Wimauma. Irizarry is also a paramedic/registered nurse who spent nine years working in emergency rooms — including a stint at Brandon Regional Hospital — and five years as a health service administrator at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Falkenburg Road Jail.
What is the mission of Wholesome Community Ministries?
We want to help people live and enjoy a better life by becoming fully developed followers of Jesus. We also promote health in spirit, soul and body — one person and one family at a time — together we will change our community and impact our world.
What are your short term and long term goals for the church?
One of my immediate goals is to be able to purchase the 10-acre property we are leasing at the moment. In doing so, we can continue to build on the “The River Dream Center”, which is part of my long term goals: a resource center that includes a health center, thrift shop, kitchen hall, school with after school program, counseling center, tutoring center, youth center, soccer field a walk path and more. Who or what made you want to become a paramedic/registered nurse? The privilege of helping and impacting people through health services from the young to the senior, real emergency situations to a simple cold, or even what I consider the worst of the worst when helping those who are incarcerated. I’ve been able to help people in the deep jungle of Nicaragua, a small-town community in Honduras, the Indonesia tsunami, and a village of natives in the Amazons of Venezuela. Also, Cuba and the big earthquake disaster that recently happened in Haiti. Why did you want to become a pastor? As a pastor, our ministry not only has been able to help people in the physical and mental aspect, but also in the spiritual. Nothing is more satisfying and rewarding than to see somebody who felt there was no more significance in life find full joy in God, and now live the abundant life. You’ve spent a good part of your adult life helping others, but what was your dream job when you were growing up? God really works in mysterious ways and He has been preparing me all along for my purpose in life. At the end I cannot separate my nursing from my pastoral duties. Both go hand and hand in helping me accomplish the ultimate call: helping people live and enjoy a better life. I know there is still a lot of work to be done, but I want to encourage everyone by saying that dreams can come true.