From CHM Director David Byrne -
TWO DEATHS – LESSONS IN HISPANIC MINISTRYOnce in December and once in May I was instructed by a friend’s death. In December it was Maralea Kessler who had worked with me in a church-planting situation along with her husband Phil. Together they had pastored a number of churches, had retired and had been married for over half a century when I met them. They faithfully supported the church plant, but their real passion was the Hispanic congregation that shared a facility with us. They didn’t know much more Spanish than was necessary to order tacos, but they loved the people and shared in their lives. Even after Maralea suffered years of dementia and could not hold a conversation, the people from the Spanish-speaking church loved her and her husband. I was amazed when that congregation on her death honored her by dedicating the entire Sunday worship service to her funeral. Missionary living does not require years of training or a large budget. A heart full of Jesus’ love is enough.
The second friend was a Hispanic pastor I have worked with for decades - a man who threw himself into life with abandon much like the way he threw himself from my parents' boat on a visit and realized afterward that he hadn’t taken off his glasses. We never recovered them. Pastor Jaime Herrera began a Friends Church in Virginia and has had his share of struggles and blessings. At his funeral hundreds of Christians from all over that region celebrated his life in recognition of the power of God that worked through him. It was a glimpse of “eternal life” to see how the church continues to worship God and to see all of the lives that have been touched by God’s power through Jaime. Hispanic ministry is carried out by God’s people. Imperfect people, but given over to God’s will. Some immigrants are here with documents, and others have nothing more than a sense of mission. It is God’s work and it is amazing.
Dr. David C. Byrne
(--See the previous newsletter--)
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Dr. Karl Newman
Dora Gutierrez Kerr
Dr. Richard Tomm
A New Pastor in Toronto!
In mid-April CHM director David Byrne was blessed to be a part of the pastoral installation of Abner Gálvez along with EFC-ER Superintendent Wayne Evans. It is an important time of transition for that church that relied on part-time leadership for many years and is now seeking to expand its ministry. Pray for Pastor Abner as he lives in Canada without his wife Renée, who continues to pastor a church of her own in Guatemala with their two young sons until they can finalize arrangements to move to Toronto sometime later this fall.
Pray too for the Hispanic Churches in Eastern Region as they are accommodated and integrated into the new Yearly Meeting structures that are still being defined. This is an exciting time for refocusing Friends’ efforts on multiplying ministries, and the way that the ethnic churches are brought into the body of churches will be a key part of how the multiplication of churches reaches beyond established patterns.
One part of the heritage from Pastor Jaime Herrera’s ministry are others who have associated with the ministry of Hispanic Friends through Jaime’s influence. Among them is the family who helped start a church just north of Jaime’s church. The Cruz family comes from Mexico and after experiencing God’s saving grace they have dedicated themselves for the last two years to starting a new church. They celebrate their second anniversary in Virginia in July. As we share the vision for being Friends of Jesus it is only natural that others on that path will join us. May God’s ministry be multiplied!
The North American Hispanic Friends Conference is now set for this year and will be held in Phoenix, Arizona from the 12-15th of October. When AMANA leaders met together in Phoenix (including one member who attended through Skype) plans were put in place and the promotion will soon begin. The theme is “Volviendo a la Cruz” (Turning to the Cross). Get more information from conference leadership and make your reservation at:
The ministerial alliance of Friends in North America continues to develop in character and mission. Pastor Amílcar Sosa gives leadership to the group as president even as he pastors the Bell Friends Church and heads up the Southwest Hispanic ministries. AMANA gives a platform for pulling together the diverse groups and including ministries that are looking for a spiritual home as part of the movement of God among us.
along with Jesus (John 17) for unity and love among those who follow him.
This is a fallen and hurting world with tremendous need, and it is a
challenge for God's family to stand up to the constant pressure of living
as light in darkness.
for Pastor Emilio Sánchez and his new location in Oklahoma. The
church he led in San Antonio for 2 years is excited about some new opportunities,
and the church in Oklahoma City is glad to have Emilio's help. Both
groups are seeing healthy growth.
|Pray for conferences and Yearly Meetings being held over the summer, that God will do a new thing among His people.