The first service took place in the basement of the home of Victor and Carmen Torres. In a small room with hardly any space, a group of people composed of young men and women that had been in the streets living a life of drug addiction, together with a few families from different walks of life, religious denominations and backgrounds, came together to worship and to hear from God.
Victor Torres was born in and raised in Puerto Rico until the age of six. His father and mother immigrated to New York City in the late forties. Seeking for the promise land of prosperity, Victor’s parents landed in Brooklyn, New York, in one of the worse ghettos of the city. It was in this environment that Victor ended up as a gang member and drug addict. Then his mother found a new and living faith in Christ at a small storefront church called John 3:16. Victor’s mother immediately began to pray for the salvation of her son. In 1963 he found Christ through the ministry of David Wilkerson and the help of Nicky Cruz. Immediately after Victor’s conversion, his father also encountered Christ and was saved. Victor went on to Bible college where he confirmed his calling to preach the gospel. It was at Bible school that Victor met his wife Carmen and partner for ministry. Together they have traveled the world and have preached the gospel to tens of thousands of people and thousands have been saved. Their testimony is best told in Victor’s autobiography “Son of Evil Street.” They have also authored several books.
Victor and Carmen have a vision and a passion to lead people to Christ. In 1972 they founded the New Life for Youth outreach home known as the “Jesus House.” The ministry went on to operate a 17-room house to increase the number of young people that they were reaching from the streets. Five years later they purchase a one hundred and eighteen acre farm located 50 miles north of Richmond and here they built a dormitory to add another 70 beds. Since then thousands of young men and women whose lives were bound by drugs and life controlling problems have been saved and set free. Today, Victor and Carmen are the proud parents of four children, Feliza, Rosalinda, Michelle and Victor Philip, who are all involved in the work of the ministry. They are also the proud grandparents of ten grandchildren.
Together Victor and Carmen Torres have seen revival come to Richmond. Through the power of prayer and sacrifice they have seen how God has taken down some of the most negative and dividing walls of cultural and religious separation.
Victor and Carmen are living testimonies of God’s grace to thousands of broken lives that are now living for God. Today, they head up a pastoral ministry not only to their home congregation, but they are also encouragers to other pastors and leaders in the community as well as in other parts of the world. New Life Outreach International is now the mother to other churches in New York, Alabama, in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in Ghana, West Africa, Dominican Republic, and Peru. The vision is to take the gospel message to every country of the world and throughout the United States, making disciples and planting new ministries of outreach to the glory of god.