What are the most exciting things that have happened for Hispanic Adventists in Mid-America during the past quinquennium?
There has been steady growth and maturity of Hispanic churches, companies and groups in three fundamental aspects: spirituality, numbers and finances. For example:
- The contribution of Hispanics to revive some dying Anglo churches in Mid-America, such as Missouri’s Campbell and Mexico churches.
- Leadership programs to enhance the skills of laymen through SAL, the Andrews University Hispanic Ministries program.
- Entering into new areas under the natural church planting program (Topeka, Kansas and Independence, Missouri).
- Acquisition of property. Several new churches in MAUC own their church structures or are in the process of building churches.
- Integration of SDA Hispanic churches with Adventist Community Services, providing both financial and human resources support.
What do you find most fulfilling about your ministry?
I have the opportunity to interact and serve other leaders and churches in our territory, providing resources and counsel, and at the same time establishing a link between NAD Hispanic Ministries and the Mid-America Union. Having the privilege to work as a local church pastor is rewarding for me because I can share my own fresh experiences related to my daily work, as well as my responsibilities as a MAUC representative.
What is your greatest frustration?
I learned from my own early experience as a pastor in a Communist country not to surrender before obstacles. In each situation, the Lord had possibilities in hand to turn negative situations into opportunities to glorify Himself. I saw Him opening doors and tearing down walls. Remembering this is my way to resolve frustrations.
Looking forward to the next five years, what are the greatest opportunities for reaching Hispanics in Mid-America?
The Midwest now has another wave of immigrants—like the Germans, Italians and others in the past. These Hispanic immigrants bring to the communities where they live a new kind of flavor. More and more opportunities are opening to them. There is also an opening door for diversity within the Adventist Church. This has created favorable prospects for outreach to Spanish speaking people.
What are the greatest threats our church is facing in connecting with Hispanics?
We need to take seriously the statement: “Never forget history.” We are a nation of immigrants.
How can Mid-America members, pastors and leaders be more supportive of Hispanic ministry?
We need prayer support from all our leaders, pastors and members. Another key is the NAD initiative “Reach America,” combined with the General Conference emphasis “Revival, Reformation, Discipleship and Evangelism.” Also, to have an effective outreach, Adventist Hispanics need greater representation, participation, power of decision and financial support in our initiatives, plans and the administration of events.
What do Mid-America Hispanics hope to accomplish the next five years?
- Target large cities with inner city ministries.
- Provide leadership training in small groups, discipleship and public evangelism.
- Start bilingual and bicultural ministries targeting second and third generation Hispanics.
- Implement TEAM: Total Engagement Action Ministry