CHM Director David Byrne—Speaking Out on Hispanic Ministry!
Of course, Jesus knew what he was doing when he prayed in John 17 about the need for unity. That his followers would be one even as Jesus and the Father were one was a key concern that highlights the redemptive work of the new creation as a practical reality in a world where politics means attack and even simple compromise to find a solution to a problem is considered a betrayal of values. We can do better.
As we look at the political landscape now moving into 2017, the distinction between the Kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this earth is clear and it is also clear that our hope does not lie in the ebb and flow of politics. Jesus said in John 18:36 that “his kingdom is not of this world. If it were, his servants would fight….” They would have fought for the just cause of releasing Jesus from the Jewish authorities at the time and they would fight for innumerable causes of righteousness and justice today. In fact, Christians would constantly find themselves fighting with one another because each solution to a righteous cause brings problems and even injustice to others. I’ll not go into examples, but as I consider them, I cannot think of a case where that is not or has not been the case. It is no wonder that Isaiah compares our righteous acts to “filthy rags.” (IS. 64:6)
But Jesus’ way is the way of the cross – sacrificing self for the greater cause of redemption and salvation and it is in this spirit that CHM seeks to minister with the true church in blessing instead of cursing. We cannot know what political winds will blow. John’s apocalypse does not paint a picture of happy times. God’s promise is to comfort his people not to make them comfortable. The call to love our neighbor, to go to the world, to be Christ’s ambassadors, to preach the Gospel to all creatures and many other aspects of our calling in Christ keep us engaged in serving a world in need.
David C. Byrne
(--See a previous newsletter--)
Dr. Karl Newman
Dora Gutierrez Kerr
Dr. Richard Tomm
New Faces and Ministries
Over the summer and fall it has been a pleasure to see new Hispanic ministries get started and/or affiliate with the movement of Friends.
As he writes in his testimony, Natanael (on the left with his wife Dayana) says his life was filled with bitterness before it was redeemed in Christ:
“I am the firstborn of my mother and the last of my father, my father already had his family when he met a young woman of 17 years old; so my history began in this way like that of many. I am a product of the infidelity of my father in a relationship outside of marriage that was probably never in the plans of my parents, but was in those of the living God whom today I serve.”
Later, as a result of the abuse and neglect he experienced he wrote,
“Since the time I remember, I could only think of vengeance. My heart was full of hate and bitterness”
“I still remember that day when I knelt down. I still carry the smell of wet earth in my mind. The day I knelt down I knew that God had called me to something great.”
Of his ongoing life in Christ, he writes: “In my new life as a Christian I dedicated every second of my time to the Gospel until I immigrated to the United States in 2008 to continue serving God.” So now, in addition to running his own business, Natanael and Dayana are working to start a church in Virginia.
It is a common and a miraculous story that highlights the spiritual vitality of the Hispanic church in North America. Men and women who have been transformed by the touch of God and who have found freedom and transformation in Christ come to the United States and are used by God to touch the lives of others. Maybe, as Natanael says, this was not in the plans of others, but it was in the plans of the living God whom we serve.
Likewise, on the right of this picture is a talented couple who had successful solo ministries in music before marriage and then went on to form a team that has ministered across the spectrum of Hispanic churches in North and Central America. Jonatan and Liseth now feel led to spend less time on concerts and conferences in order to focus on a new church plant on the north side of Chicago. Some of his friends have told Jonatan that he is crazy to take on a new church. It is hard work with little thanks, but it is the life’s blood in the multiplication of Christ’s church through the making of disciples and they are convinced.
I thank God for each one who, like these couples, is coming forward to give of themselves and their talents to enrich and expand the Kingdom of God in North America. It is a privilege to work with and to serve such leaders.
Please pray for Pastor Jaime Herrera from Martinsville,
Virginia who has been battling with cancer. During the North American Hispanic
Friends Conference in Philadelphia he was in a coma after surgery to remove
tumors. We thank God for answering prayer and Jaime has recovered miraculously
but is now in another round of Chemotherapy. Pray with us for Jaime,
his church, and family - especially for his wife Flor.
are praying that God will provide reliable and economical cars for at least
2 church planting pastors. Please let us know if you have any leads
for Pastor Amilcar Sosa the president of the Hispanic Ministerial Alliance
(AMANA) as he leads ministry and brings pastors together in a setting that
allows stronger leaders to care for one another in Christ.