Sunday, February 19, 2012

Se Habla Español.....Nampa, Idaho

One of the most fascinating surprises that has come about in our lives  has been the incredible amount of Latino pastors and church leaders that we have met in Nampa, Idaho. Nampa has a population of 80,000 and is the second largest city in Idaho. 
A phone conversation with a Spanish speaking pastor in Southern California urged Tony and I to contact a former church member living in the Treasure Valley. A week later, I contacted the family and they invited me to stop by at any time. As a result, the friendly woman from El Salvador welcomed me at her doorstep and then began to speak of the vast number of Latinos that live and work in the neighboring cities. 
She and her husband attend Capilla de Alabanza (Praise Chapel) and they have been worshipping at the church since they moved up north over four years ago. Her warm smile and friendly demeanor was accompanied by a list of Spanish speaking pastors and churches that serve the nearly 24% of Latinos residing in Canyon County. 
Not long after our exchange came a phone call from a Guatemalan pastor who leads a small congregation near MAF headquarters. The pastor visited Learning Technologies and proceeded to tell us about the overwhelming need to disciple his church members with the Word of God. Although he was born in Huehuetenango, Guatemala and has lived in Idaho for seventeen years. His love for the growing number of immigrants that work as field hands causes him to remain faithful despite the lack of resources that are available.
“We need your help, Sister Laura. The men and women in my church are coming to Christ for the first time but many have never had a formal education. Can you help us?” inquired the petite pastor with a loving tone in his voice. As we prayed together and shared our ministry, Pastor Pascual became encouraged. He suggested that other pastors in the area should also learn about our work. As a result, he invited us to meet 8 other Latino pastors that meet monthly in Nampa. His desire is that he and others become familiar with a ministry that provides discipleship training and biblical resources to the hundreds of Latinos in the area. 
A week later, we met up with Pastor Avila from Puerta de Fe Church. Pastor Avila is a Costa Rican national who leads a small church in town. He and his wife have lived in the United States for over 25 years and they consider Idaho their home. Our conversation centered around the need to help small groups learn in the knowledge of the Bible and the ongoing work to reach other Latinos in southern Idaho with the Good News of Jesus Christ. After our brief exchange, he asked us to return on a Sunday morning so his church members can hear about the work being done in Central & South America through the ministry of  MAF-Learning Technologies.
There are several more pastors that lead Spanish speaking and bilingual churches in the area that we’ve had a chance to meet.  As we respond to the invitation to meet and pray with Pastor Pascual and the other 8 pastors later this month, it is our prayer that the Holy Spirit may orchestrate opportunities to come alongside these pastors and be a blessing to them as well as their congregations.
-This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 2:3-5

Pastor Pascual visiting MAF HQ

Pastor Israel, Regina Manley and I
Taco bus offers meat, pork, beef tongue and cow intestine tacos while you wait