How I began Hispanic Ministry

God gave me the call, while in chapel at Crichton College, to “reach them and teach them until they reach and teach others” – especially first generation Hispanic immigrants. During worship service one day at Trinity EFC, I heard a voice in my head telling me to purchase a Spanish bible. My reasonable response was to look around and see if anyone was speaking to me, but they weren’t. The next Sunday during praise and worship songs, I heard the same thing. This continued for a few weeks, until I mentioned it to my wife who told me to go buy a Spanish Bible. It took me a while, but  I found a place which sold Bibles in Spanish, and I purchased a bilingual Bible. The next Sunday I went to church and during the praise and worship, heard, “Buy a Spanish Bible.” You see, I had not been obedient.  I told my wife who colorfully told me to go buy one, and I did. The next Sunday,  I heard a voice say during worship service to purchase overhead transparencies of praise and worship songs in Spanish. It took a while, but I did it. That June, in 1999, I felt the need to go on a short-term mission trip to Mexico. So I managed to find one which allowed me to go for nine days. While there, through prayer, I felt convinced that God wanted me to evangelize and disciple Latin Americans, but in Memphis – at least for a while. After I became convinced of this, a man in the church in Guaymas Mexico told me I would receive a contact within the Latin American community in Memphis within 6 months. I knew God would make me a missionary, in time – though I was unsure whether this service would be in the USA or elsewhere.

When my wife and I went to a Family Life conference in Memphis November 19-21, 1999, we ran into a friend of hers on Sunday. After I told her of my desire to eventually begin work among the Mexicans, in God’s time, she told me her husband had entered the landscaping business and all the workers in that industry in Memphis are Mexicans. She gave me the name of a Christian who owns a landscape company, saying that if he could not hook me up, he’d know someone who could. I took it, figuring that I would use it when it was time. Monday I got home and my wife told me another friend of hers had called and mentioned that she was going into the landscaping business and that all the employees in that industry in Memphis are Mexican, and asked if I would be willing to do mission work among the Mexicans in Memphis (she knew of my heart of Mexicans, but not of my desire to do work among them here, nor did she know of my wife’s other friend or that conversation).  That same day I received a response from the director of the Evangelical Free Church of America Urban/Intercultural Mission (EFCA/UIM) to an email I had sent about six months before seeking Spanish evangelism/discipleship ideas/resources. I called him and it turned out that he and the district superintendent for Tennessee had been talking three days earlier about wanting to plant Hispanic churches in Tennessee.

After much searching and praying, I began teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). This led to me making relationships in the Latin American community and in time to me teaching Bible studies in Spanish. My Spanish was horrible. Although I had been forced to learn Spanish from my mother for an hour a day for 10 years while a child, I really had resisted it and was not fluent in any way, shape or form. But I would write the lessons in English, and then used computer programs to translate it and then clean it up as best I could afterward. The poor people I was teaching had a lot of patience, and no English – we would often spend as much time trying to figure out what I was trying to say as I has planned on spending on the lesson. But we persevered. The work included looking for people who can help in different situations like lawyers, doctors, immigration, and the like; driving people to doctors’ offices; translating conversations during medical difficulties; translating mail or judicial notices; sitting and sharing about the American culture; teaching English; talking about God and what the Bible teaches concerning different things; donating furniture or delivering donated cooking pots; hiring them to do some yard work; taking my children over to their home and inviting them to ours. Eventually God shut down the ministry. But it was a start.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: