Larry Romero is a Charis Bible College graduate and the founding pastor of Foundations of Faith fellowship in Greenville, South Carolina. He is a man full of the word with a strong relationship with the Lord and an apostolic view of the church, but he has not always been this way.
Larry was raised in a family of five in Port Arthur, TX, the son of a military man who struggled with life after WWII. His father turned to alcohol after the war and became an abusive drunk. Larry grew up attending the Catholic Church and he can recall knowing God was real, but he was always afraid of Him. Because of the trauma and terror in his home life, Larry would pray for help for his family, but over time as things grew worse, he began to feel abandoned by God. Larry was scarred emotionally both by his dad and by what he perceived to be God's lack of response to his prayers; as a result he became untrusting of God and of people.
After high school, the Viet Nam War was in full swing and Larry enlisted in the Air Force. While he was blessed to remain State-side, a childhood friend from church was sent overseas. While his friend was away, he was born again, and began to witness to Larry about Jesus. Larry had closed his heart toward God and was not interested in his friend's salvation. Larry replied bitterly, "I'm not interested in a Jesus that lived 2000 years ago, and I'm not interested in a Jesus that's coming back in the sweet by and by. If you can show me a Jesus that is relevant to my life now, we can talk. If not, get out of my face."
Then, at the age of twenty-three, Larry came across Billy Graham on television. What he heard sounded similar to what his friend had shared and he was intrigued. Larry knelt down and earnestly asked God if what Graham had said was true. As he continued to kneel, he heard the words, "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God." Larry didn't know what it meant, or that it was from the Bible, but he held on to that word. That day, Larry was born again. Several months later, as he read his Bible, he came across Romans 10:17 and he realized that the Lord had indeed spoken this verse to him.
In his mid-twenties, as part of the Catholic Charismatic Movement of the day, Larry sought to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. He had read Acts chapter two, but because of his limited understanding of text he expected that he would see physical tongues of fire. Not witnessing the expected manifestation, he again felt rejected by God. After a consoling discussion with his priest, he gained understanding and was able to receive the baptism by faith with the evidence of speaking in tongues.
After Larry was discharged from the military, he returned to his hometown where he entered the workforce as an engineering consultant. At the age of twenty-seven he married his wife Kathy and they began their family. The couple left the Catholic Church and became part of a charismatic fellowship that taught and operated in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. As he established his relationship with the Lord, Larry began to flow in the gifts of the Spirit and he sensed a call to ministry. Although he had turned back to God, he still struggled with feelings of bitterness and abandonment.
Through prayer and prophetic words, God began to lead the Romeros to South Carolina, and he and his family eventually moved to Greenville. The Romeros searched for a church home for years; unfortunately they were consistently met with legalism. Frustrated, they stopped attending church all together. Larry continued to spend time with the Lord and began to have a revelation of God's grace, but because of the wounds of his youth, he still didn't understand God's love.
After eleven years the Romeros finally found a church. During an initial visit to their home, their new pastor spent several hours with Larry. After their meeting the pastor prayed prophetically over Larry and Kathy. When he left, the couple sat soaking in the accuracy of the good words that had been spoken. Larry remembers sensing the Lord's presence in the room and he heard the Lord say, "I never left you. I have always been here. I have never abandoned you." Larry was overwhelmed. For the first time, he experienced the unconditional love of God, and he was set free from the wounds of his youth.
In 2001, Larry found Andrew on television and he realized that Andrew was teaching many of the things the Lord had been showing him over the previous decade. Surprised, Larry told Kathy, "You gotta listen to this Wommack fella; he's got both feet on the ground. There's no religion in him."
As Larry continued to watch Andrew's Gospel Truth, he began to sense a change coming. Every time Andrew mentioned CBC, Larry felt a quiet excitement in his spirit, but in his heart he thought he was too old to go to back to school. One day as Andrew was teaching, he stopped and said, This hasn't happened to me in twenty years of broadcasting, but there's a man out there, and God's telling you to come to this Bible college. You come and every need you have will be met."
"When he said that, it was like there was an explosion on the inside of me," said Larry. "I stood up and said, "Okay God, I'm going."
Larry spent the next two years immersed in the teaching at CBC in Colorado, solidifying his relationship with the Lord, gaining a deeper revelation of God's grace and preparing for full-time ministry. Today he is approaching his seventh year as the pastor of a fruitful and growing fellowship in Greenville, and he's just getting started.
Larry's story is a testimony to the Lord's pursuit of each one of us. To learn more about Larry's ministry visit the Foundations of Faith website.