Yiye Avila

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Jose Joaquin Avila (born 1925 in Camuy Arriba, Camuy, Puerto Rico), better known as Yiye Avila, is one of the most famous and respected evangelists in Latin America and a former Mr. World.

Contents

Early life

Yiye Avila was born in Camuy, Puerto Rico. His parents (Pablo Avila and Herminia Portalatin) were respected schoolteachers, and he eventually followed in their footsteps. Surprisingly though, upon enrolling at Universidad Interamericana De Puerto Rico in San Germán, his plans had been to study medicine. He obtained a Bachelors degree in natural sciences, and from there he completed his pre-med studies. In spite of this success, he chose to return to his hometown of Camuy, and teach chemistry and biology at the local high school for 23 years. Eventually, however, a change of careers would come that would take him to 128 nations.[1] .

Sporting life

He began playing baseball in the Double A level and training as a weight lifter. In 1952, he competed and won the Mr. Puerto Rico bodybuilding contest and would go on to win the title of Mr. North America in 1954.[2]

While training for the summer Olympic Games of 1956, Avila experienced terrible pain in parts of his body and, after various tests, was diagnosed with chronic arthritis by his doctors. This prevented him from participating in the Olympics or in any other future sporting event. The pain was so intense, that Avila suffered limited mobility and could not even perform everyday chores. As a consequence of his health problems, Avila turned to Christianity and began praying, seeking divine intervention for his situation. According to him, he received a divine revelation through the reading and study of Christian bible and allegedly received healing from Jesus Christ. From that time on, he dedicated himself to ministry.

Evangelism

Although Yiye Avila was always deeply interested in Christianity, he reportedly was convinced to dedicate all his life and work to evangelism after watching a Christian television show hosted by Oral Roberts, an American tele-evangelist in the early 1960s. In 1967, Ávila retired after 21 years as a teacher and began to concentrate on Christian work instead. He became a full-time preacher and, in 1972, he invited several friends, family, and neighbors to form the Escuadron Relampago Cristo Viene ("Christ Is Coming Lightning Squadron"), which would congregate constantly in a small room in his house to discuss the Bible, salvation, Christianity, and the Apocalypse. Eventually, his ministry and followers increased dramatically, and a new three story building near the PR # 2 state road was built to accommodate the attending public. His preaching was followed by various church groups and many Latin American evangelists invited him to preach to their local communities and churches. This demand prompted Yiye to create a radio and, eventually, a television network called Cadena Del Milagro (Miracle Network) so that his preaching could reach those same communities that he visited. The network and his ministry has grown considerably over the years, expanding to magazines, books, audio tapes, videos and televised scheduled programming. The three story building which he and his close followers originally built now serves as the headquarters for Yiye's ministry and his television network.

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