Rick is from northern Ohio and Shirley from northern California. They were saved as children--Rick in a Christian camp and Shirley during revival meetings at her church. After they graduated from Bob Jones University in 1975, Rick continued for a year of graduate work, and Shirley taught preschool at church schools.
In 1976, after the death of dictator, General Franco, Spain became more open to missions. That same year Rick and Shirley were accepted by GFA as missionary candidates to Spain. While they were studying the language in Madrid, they helped a military church and visited Spanish churches. Then they worked as interns in a mission church in Jativa, Valencia, filling in for a missionary on furlough. Later they established mission Bible studies in surrounding cities and planted a church in Rota.
Nathan, their firstborn, was born in Cadiz, Spain. He was followed by Jason (6/1982), Seth (8/1985), Lydia (3/1988), all born in Jerez, Spain, and Philip (born in California, 12/1990).
After their furlough in 1989, the Armstrongs began working with Dr. John Mincy to reach Hispanics in California. The Iglesia Biblica Bautista de Antioquia grew from one family in 1989 to about 70 believers in 1994. The Antioch Bible Institute was established as part of the church. The Lord provided a church building and enabled the church to pay for it in two years. Mission outreaches have been started in several locations, and churches are now established with Hispanic pastors in Sacramento, Pinole, and Watsonville.
Rick completed a Master of Ministries program at Bob Jones University and received a Doctor of Divinity degree from Puerto Rico Baptist College. The three older Armstrong sons received ministerial degrees at BJU. Nathan and Lori (Thornton) are living in Florida where Nathan works as a youth pastor. They have four children, Josiah, Gabriel, Joshua, and Casten. Jason married Heather (Davis), whose parents are GFA missionaries in Germany, are on deputation to serve with the Christian University of the Americas in Monterrey, Mexicowhere they have already been teaching and starting a new mission church. Jason and Heather have one daughter, Ana Sofia, and a son, Matias. Seth helps as an assistant at the church while he teaches in a Christian school. Lydia serves with Jason and Heather as a teacher in the university in Monterrey, Mexico. Philip works as an accountant in Ohio, while he teaches Sunday School in a mission church. He and Shannon Belding, whose parents serve in a pastorate in Minnesota, will be married in May, 2014.
About 30 young people from Iglesia Biblica Bautista de Antioquia have studied at the Puerto Rico Baptist College, Bob Jones University, or at the University of Monterrey. Some teach in Christian Schools in Colorado, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. One is planting church in California, and another plans to be a missionary back in his home country of Peru, while others serve in various local churches.
A number of the believers study at the Bible institute at the Antioch church, and Rick also provides a Ministerial Bible Institute to better train local Hispanic pastors and raise up other Hispanic churches.
He also teaches Master of Ministry courses in Mexico, Peru, and other Spanish-speaking countries, while representing GFA as their coordinator of Hispanic ministries to help churches reach the Hispanics in the USA, and establish other Hispanic churches.
To view Rick and Shirley Armstrong's photo gallery, click the picture below.