On behalf of the pastors and church members in our Spanish Churches in the Carolinas, we would like to thank Samuel Romero and his right hand in ministry, Mary, for their loving contribution to the growth of the Hispanic churches in our conference for the last 30 years. This report reflects the development of this department under his leadership.
“…And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” Acts 2:47. His promises are true and faithful. He has been adding more and more Hispanic souls to His kingdom. During this six-year term, 19 new groups, 14 companies and five churches have been organized. By the end of 2021 we had 63 congregations and 16 full-time and one part-time Hispanic pastors.
Our laymen are very active giving Bible studies, conducting crusades, receiving instructions, and so on. The Southern Union Hispanic Ministries, under the leadership of Pastor Jorge Mayer, was busy providing training seminars for our laymen. We continued having Evangelistic Caravans, and all of them have been very successful, but in 2018 the Southern Union changed the approach slightly.
Our laymen were trained at the beginning of 2018 to turn their houses into churches with the theme “My House, Your Church.” Pastor Alejandro Bullón prepared a series of Bible studies, and our members invited visitors to their houses to receive the studies via the internet. By the end of the week, when Bullón made several altar calls, many decisions were made to give their life to Jesus. That year we almost reached 500 baptisms and professions of faith, over 100 more than in 2017.
In 2019 the approach was changed again. Our laymen continued inviting people to study in their houses, and with permission from the Conference, these laymen were authorized to baptize their candidates. And many did! Above is a photo of the commitment and dedication of these faithful laymen.
Also, our laymen have been receiving training as Volunteer Lay Pastors (VLP) to assist their local pastors, as many have multiple church districts. So far, we have 50 VLPs in charge of new mission groups, companies and even churches.
Yes, the pandemic affected our growth a bit, including our tithes and offerings, but God has been faithful. He has provided enough for all our needs. We still have some churches closed and some of our members have passed away, but our pastors and laymen have been very active providing spiritual nurturing to our members by Zoom. Our VLP training has continued via Zoom as well. Pastors have been leading crusades and seminars with guest speakers from all over the world, and yes, they have had baptisms. God has blessed our Hispanic Ministries beyond our dreams.
We held two Camp Meetings annually the first four years of this six-year term because our numbers had greatly increased over a five-year period. Both events were filled to capacity. It would have been too much to have three, so in 2020, we planned only one Camp Meeting at Ridgecrest Convention Center in Asheville. Our members were excited to have everyone united again in the larger venue for a little taste of heaven, but we had to cancel everything because of COVID-19. So disappointing! We look forward to that day when we will have our big Camp Meeting with Jesus, our Lord and Savior!
Tithe and Membership Increase
As our membership has grown, so our tithes have grown, too. Throughout this reported timeframe we grew to almost 6,000 members; and a total of $19,306,146.20 in tithes was received.
Baptisms and Professions of Faith
God greatly blessed our Hispanic ministries: we had 1,502 baptisms and 193 professions of faith. With God’s help we hope to double our membership by the end of the next quinquennium! We know this to be true: With God, everything is possible!