Chuy Davalos, Founder of Agua Viva Ministries

Jesús (Chuy) Dávalos, the founder of Agua Viva Ministries, was a man of vision and great conviction. God placed an enormous burden on his heart to see the people of Mexico receive the Gospel and be freed from the tremendous bondage in their lives.

Chuy was born July 9, 1937 in Cumato, Michoacan, the oldest of eleven brothers and sisters. The Dávalos family was very strongly Roman Catholic. Francisco Dávalos, the father, was active in bringing the priest into Cumato to teach the people. He was also a leader in the religious group called Of the Night Watch.

The Dávalos family moved from Michoacan to the northern border in 1949. They lived in Mexicali for eight months and then moved to Tijuana in 1950. Jesús, whose nickname in Spanish is Chuy, attended a Catholic school between the ages of 12 to 14. At that time he was taught to “combat” the Protestants who were considered a cancer to the Catholic church. He was also encouraged towards the priesthood. Between the ages of 14 to 16, Chuy attended public school but remained very active in the Catholic church. During this time he began training for the priesthood as well as studying the “doctrinal errors” of the Protestant church. At 17 years of age, Chuy was invited by a Protestant woman to visit a local church. He accepted the invitation with the intent to spy on those attending for the Catholic church. The event was a meeting of the Ministerial Alliance being held at the Central Nazarene Church of Tijuana. That evening Chuy heard the Gospel and was saved.

From 18 to 20 years old, Chuy attended a seminary supported by the U.S. Mennonite Brethren located in the state of Durango. However, before he graduated the seminary was closed due to local persecution. At 21, Chuy moved back to Tijuana and continued his studies through the post-graduate level in a local seminary directed by different denominational ministers with the purpose of preparing people specifically for the ministry. There Chuy specialized in Music Theory and Religion. Graduating in 1960, Chuy met and married Maria de Jesús Serrano in December of that year. They were then called to the pastorate in the First Grace Bretheren Church in Tijuana.

1960 to 1965

Their first church grew from 23 members to over 100. They also began two other missions. Active in ministry, Chuy was then elected as president of the Ministerial Alliance in Tijuana. During this time, he began Youth for Christ in Tijuana and once a year travelled south to the interior of Mexico to preach. He also began works within some of the orphanges and the Tijuana prison and taught in the seminary from which he had graduated.

1966 to 1972

Seeing little ministry being done amongst the gangs of Tijuana, Chuy felt God calling him to leave the pastorate and work with youth. In 1966, he began working with Youth Enterprises, Inc., with whom he served as an evangelist in the prisons, the stadiums for special events, and other parts of Mexico. Directing a local youth center in Tijuana, Chuy taught and organized some of their camps and pastoral retreats. During this time, Chuy was elected as the first president of the Association of Pastors and Missionaries in the state of Baja California.

1972 to 1981

Chuy was called to pastor a Grace Brethren church in San Ysidro, CA. He accepted this call with the condition that he would be free to travel and work in missions in the interior of Mexico. In 1975, he resigned completely from Youth Enterprises in order to dedicate all of his time to leadership training, the growth of the church in San Ysidro, and to planting churches in Baja California and Michoacon.

1982 to 1983

Chuy resigned from the work of the Grace Brethren church and dedicated himself fully to the work in the interior of Mexico. During this time he began to feel a tremendous burden to teach the people and prepare others in church planting. Chuy began praying for help in accomplishing this task.

1983 to 2011

Together with the team that God has brought together to surround Chuy, the work of Rancho Agua Viva has grown to entail a 15 week Ministry Training Institute (seminary) dedicated to training Mexicans to be missionaries and plant churches in the unreached areas of Mexico. Chuy dedicated each fall to the Ministry Training Institute (MTI), each Spring to travelling and supporting the missionaries on the field, and each Summer to the camps at Rancho Agua Viva as well as writing and preparing for MTI.


Jesus “Chuy” Davalos went home to his beloved Lord on Friday, November 26, 2011 after a valiant battle with cancer.  Though his earthly life has ended, his legacy of evangelism and passion for reaching the lost lives on at Agua Viva today, and we are thankful for the vision and faithfulness that he embodied throughout his life.