Pastor Pete Montoro was born in Baltimore, Maryland and raised in a Christian home just outside the city. Pete knew much about the Gospel but finally experienced salvation at eleven years old. At sixteen, Pete felt the call of God on his life to become a preacher. Following high school graduation Pete left for Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri. Upon graduating from the Pastors Course in 1986, Pete began working with Larry Clayton, founder and president of the Salvation Evangelistic Association. Thus began Pete’s relationship with the Cleveland Baptist Church of Cleveland, Ohio, Bro. Clayton’s sending church. After working with Bro. Clayton for two years Pete was married to the former Julia Marshall, of the John Marshall Family.
Julia was born in Waynesville, Missouri as her father was starting a church there. Julia was only four years of age when she trusted Jesus Christ as her personal Savior. At the age of 11, Julia’s father felt God’s call into evangelism, a ministry in which he has served since. From that point on, Julia grew up traveling from church to church, singing, helping, and ministering in any way that the Lord led. This varied life-style has well prepared Julia for life in New York City.
Pete and Julia were married on September 3, 1988. Julia already knew of Pete’s desire to start a church in New York City and had surrendered herself to serve the Lord wherever His call demanded. Sent out by the Cleveland Baptist Church and its pastor, Roy Thompson, full time deputation lasted 14 months. They began work in New York City in October of 1991. The first year was spent working with Pastor Paul McCardel, who had founded the All Nations Bible Baptist Church in Elmhurst. It was a fruitful year of learning with Bro. McCardel.
October 8, 1992 was the first public service of the Open Door Bible Baptist Church of Astoria. As Pete and Julia prayed and sought God’s direction, it was to this neighborhood they were led. Since that first service much has happened. The first Sunday in January of 1993 the Open Door Bible Baptist Church found its home in the basement of the Yugoslavian Seventh Day Adventist Church of Astoria. In January 1993 the church consisted of seven people, five of whom were Montoros. By March of 1994, the church averaged nearly 40. Growth beyond this was greatly hampered by the basement-meeting place. People would come and get saved, then leave. The average attendance continued to hover around 40 with a high attendance of 84.
Things greatly changed when God opened the door to purchase a vacant synagogue building on 35th Street. Located only three blocks from the Seventh Day Adventist Church, it was an ideal location. The church held its first service in the building in October of 1996 with an attendance of 63! Since Christmas Sunday of 1996, the church has met in the building we now call the “Miracle on 35th Street.”
We have seen God work many “Miracles on 35th Street”. In April of 1997 God brought Jose Saravia and the Iglesia Bautista Internacional to meet in our building. February of 1999 saw the church indebtedness fall from $600,000 in April of 1997 to only $200,000! 2004 saw more “Miracles on 35th Street” completely paying off all the church debts and the beginning of services in the Portuguese language. The church has grown to an average Sunday Morning attendance slightly over 100.
Pete and Julia have seen their own family grow as well. In October 1992 there were only two children with a third on the way, in April of 2010 they were blessed with “little” Jason at nearly 11 pounds! bringing the total to six boys and six girls. Peter joined the church staff, swelling the staff to two, shortly after graduation from Heartland Baptist Bible College in May 2011.
The Miracles are not over yet! From day one, our Church has asked God to allow us to give back to missions what has been given to help us get established. 2010 saw our cumulative total for missions giving pass the $600,000 mark! Open Door Bible Baptist Church currently supports 64 home and foreign missionaries and projects.
Open Door Bible Baptist Church has helped organize the Cornerstone Bible Baptist Church of Fleischmanns, NY in 2008 and our prayer is that this will be the year they will become a self-supporting work! In April 2011 the church sent out the Michael Newburger family to begin deputation. The Newburgers desire to see God use them to plant a new church in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.