UCC Hispanic Camp Meeting Sharing the Mission
The Upper Columbia Conference Hispanic Camp Meeting, July 17–18, in College Place, Wash., featured speakers Robert Folkenberg Jr., UCC president; Ramon Canals, NPUC vice president for Hispanic ministries; Aldo Joel Perez, union secretary in Cuba; Mable Dunbar, Family Life/Women's Ministries director; and Elloy Espinoza, a medical student at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash.
Walter Pintos-Schmidt, UCC Hispanic coordinator, says, “While our attendance was lower this year because of the economy, our members are unified with hope and determination to preach the gospel.”
This determination is evident in their stories. Sabbath morning, Joe and Angie Alcoser, local church members, shared what God is doing with their outreach to high-risk teens.
Three years ago the Alcosers wanted to reach out in their community. At first they opened their home to the kids, providing a safe, positive environment. In addition, they invited area pastors to come and share with the kids how God has impacted and changed their lives.
It wasn’t long until Joe and Angie had more than 40 youth coming to their home weekly. “Sometimes we had 55 kids coming,” says Joe. “We had to do something different because we just didn’t have room at our home for all of them.”
They moved their outreach ministry to the Pasco (Wash.) Ephesus Adventist Church where they have more than 150 kids coming weekly.
This growing ministry is making a real difference in the lives of area youth. “We keep the Thursday night meeting positive and non-denominational,” says Angie. “When kids ask us questions about the Bible or God we invite them to our Tuesday night Bible study.” So far ten young people have been baptized as a result.
The camp meeting was a time of revival and encouragement. Folkenberg Jr. says, “It was exciting to be there. It’s no wonder our Hispanic churches are growing. Lay involvement is high, and there is excitement for the mission of our church.”