Forgiveness Changes Everything: The Story of a Church Planter

Alba Galaviz grew up in a wealthy family in Mexico. Her father owned many businesses including a few casinos. Soon her father started getting into drugs. Once her mother noticed the path he was on, she decided it was time to move to the United States. She left Alba and her siblings with their relatives for 3 years. In the United States, her mother struggled financially while she attempted to establish a home for her kids. Meanwhile, Alba’s father dove even deeper into drugs and alcohol. Alba quickly fell into a deep depression which caused issues with her schooling.


When Alba turned 9, she moved to the US with her mother. Her mother had started attending church and decided to become a Christian. At 12, her father decided to go to church with her mother. Alba still remembers her prayer, “God, if you can change my father, I will not have any doubt that you are real.” He entered the church with a bag of cocaine but somehow it disappeared by the end of the service. Not long after, he also decided to give his life to Christ.

For the next 5 years, Alba blamed her father and the world for her pain and depression. She struggled with being able to forgive her father after all that she had been through. Many times, Alba saw no other option than to try to take her own life. She spiraled out of control and got involved with gangs and demonic activity. It wasn’t until she turned 17 that Alba finally decided to surrender her own life to Jesus Christ.


When Alba gave her life to Christ she was completely transformed. She forgave her father and finally embraced God’s love. She spent time learning all she could about this new life she had found in Christ. She devoted herself to the church and was available to help with anything they needed.

Alba eventually became the youth pastor, and after five years became the assistant pastor. During this time, Alba also became involved with social work in LA county. God has opened doors within the community that has allowed her to build great relationships. Forty percent of the minors in her community are involved with drug use or have a criminal record. For this reason, she’s been involved with a woman’s home there and plans to open a music school for kids, free of charge.


Alba’s heart is specifically to reach millennials and to share the love she found in Jesus. She understands they are searching for something real. Alba believes that when she shares her story, people tend to open up and are willing to listen. Once people are willing to listen, God is able to move in their hearts. She believes people are looking for a sense of belonging. Once they see the heart of God, they understand that God created them to be loved by Him and that He has provided this “place to belong.”

Pastor Alba Galaviz planted CityReach Church Bell Gardens in March of 2017. She had over 300 people attend their launch service and 15 people gave their lives to Jesus. One of these salvations was a young woman who also had a lot of anger toward her mother. Alba was able to guide her through the pain by sharing her own experience with her father. Now, this young woman has forgiven her mother, has been set completely free and is actively involved in the church!

“Sometimes God will put Goliath in your life, for you to find the David within you.”

2018-01-17T00:21:47+00:00 September 8th, 2017|Church Planting, Stories|