Northwest Hispanic His-story

June 01, 2011 | Ramon Canals

God has not chosen angels to proclaim His salvation, but has chosen people. People have always played a very important role in the salvation of other people. Before destruction struck the earth with the flood, God chose Enoch to tell people about Him (Jude 14). He also chose Noah and his family to be saved and to bring salvation to others (Genesis 6:8–9; 7:1). The Bible presents God's evangelistic plan since the beginning of sin as a universal effort to save people from their own alienation and to bring them into an intimate relationship with Him.

The year was 1974. It was a hot summer day in Portland, Oregon, when a young Spanish-speaking pastor was trying to establish the first Spanish-speaking Adventist church in Oregon. He asked himself the question, "How can I plant a Spanish church in Portland?" For several months he worked long hours visiting the community and trying to find Bible-study interests, but to no avail. He worked tirelessly, but nothing was happening. He could not find a stable, strong community of Spanish people. He was getting discouraged, but decided to pray for God to show him the way. That is when he met an English-speaking lady who told him: "Young man, if you want to find Hispanics, you are looking in the wrong place. Come, I will show you where they are." The first Spanish-speaking church was planted in Woodburn, Oregon, and the rest is His-story.

In 1994, my wife and I were called by the Oregon Conference to be evangelists and developers of the Hispanic work, a daunting but exciting task. We accepted the call because we knew God had a plan. As soon as we arrived, I started getting calls from pastors and members of English-speaking churches asking this question: "How can we reach out to the Hispanic community?" I believe God put into the hearts of all these dear people the desire to do something big for Him. The rest is His-story.

Thirty-seven years after the first Spanish church was planted in Woodburn, some Spanish congregations throughout the Northwest are now asking the question: "How can we reach out to the English-speaking community in our territory?" Many churches that have a multicultural flavor and approach are being planted. The rest is His-story.

I praise the Lord for those church leaders who are willing to be used by God as instruments for the salvation of other people. The means by which all people are to know and learn about God's goodness is through other people. He uses the principle of multiplication from just a few, to many. God chooses an individual, a family or a small group; blesses them; and expects them to multiply themselves and to be a blessing to others. We see this dynamic throughout the Old and the New Testaments and now in His church. Have you thought about the exciting possibility that God's chosen messenger to tell His story might be you?