Lorena Rafaela and Eusebio Rafaela. Photo by Juan Carlos Lara.

Every week, Eusebio Rafaela spends a few hours of his days off standing on a corner in the Mission passing out business cards. 

The cards, containing information about a church, Iglesia Cristo Viene Efesio 4:11, also come with a “bendiciones,” from Rafaela, meaning “blessings.” 

On Tuesday, Rafaela was on the corner in front of 23rd and Mission Produce in a sharp grey suit with his wife, Lorena.. The two volunteers estimate they will hand out more than 300 by the end of the day. 

No matter that many decline the cards or ignore him entirely.

“I do this out of gratefulness for the changes that God has made in my life,” Rafaela said. And occasionally passing friends or fellow congregants stop to chat. 

Eusebio Rafaela passing out cards on the corner of 23rd and Mission streets. Photo by Juan Carlos Lara

Rafaela found his church at 5036 Mission St. 11 years ago, but characterized his life before then as “full of vices and fighting.”

“My life was chaos, I fought with my family, I drank a lot, that brought me disparagement,” Rafaela said. “My own family rejected me because I was too angry, too disobedient, and then I realized why this was happening.”

Scripture helped him identify the aspects of his life that needed changing, and the past decade has been dedicated to implementing those changes and paying it forward, he said. 

“It’s like when you go to school,” Rafaela said,” you have to start at the beginning. Same here… we have to read the word and we realize why we did what we did.” 

He acknowledges that the work is often unpleasant. 

“People offend you, insult you, but you have to tolerate it and try to love others,” Rafaela said. 

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Juan Carlos Lara covers business and development in the Mission. Juan Carlos, a San Francisco State alum, is as much a photographer as he is a writer and previously worked as the campus news editor at Golden Gate Xpress, SF State’s student paper.

Tips can be sent to juancarlos.lara@missionlocal.com
Tweets can be found at @jcl_scoop

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