David and Emily Romero are co-founders and the directors of Jubilee Centers International. Together, with a small group of Christian brothers and sisters, they began this organization in 2009 based on a dream and a calling from God.
As a Honduran himself, David grew up alongside many friends and neighbors who did not have the opportunity to go to school, who were swept up into violent gang life already in childhood, and whose families often could not give their children enough to eat. When David was 12 years old, his grandfather, Antonio Romero, gave him an old violin. David noticed that inside the violin there was an inscription that read Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis 1721. David was told that if this were one of Stradivarius’ original violins it would be worth millions of dollars. However, he would have to wait until he was 18 until he could have it officially appraised and sold. Therefore, at age 12, David began to envision and dream about what he would do with all these millions of dollars. Seeing such desperate need in so many of the neighborhoods close by, he began to imagine how the church could reach out and help poor communities, teach them God’s word, and offer services like education and employment to better their lives.
At 18, David eagerly took his violin to get appraised. The appraiser told him that the violin was only a copy of the original and was actually worth very little. Although David was initially very saddened by this news, he soon realized that God had used this violin as an instrument in his life to give him dreams and visions about a ministry that would later become Jubilee Centers International.
After working for several years as a high school teacher in a poor neighborhood in Tegucigalpa, David met Emily who was volunteering as an English teacher in that same school. Emily also felt called by God to work in poor communities in Honduras doing Christian community development. God united their lives in marriage and also united their calling to work together sharing the good news of Christ in both word and deed.
As Jubilee Centers International continues to grow and develop, David and Emily are able to look back and see more and more how God prepared them ahead of time for the work he had in mind for them to accomplish. Prior to starting JCI, David worked as a youth leader in both Honduras and California and also as a Christian High School teacher in several communities in Honduras. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education and Technical Industry from the National Pedagogy University in Honduras. Emily worked for a time in Honduras doing community development with The Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC). She studied Spanish and International Development in Honduras through a program at Calvin College, and later earned her Master’s degree in Missions and Cross-Cultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary.