Spanish American Mission Newsletter
June 2016

You perhaps know the feeling of completing a task that has been very difficult, or that took a long time to finish. Or, you perhaps know the excitement of starting a new project, one that you feel God endorses and will help you complete. So, as written in the following, the Mission feels these same emotions.

Dedication of the church building at Grant, Michigan...This service is planned for 3:30 PM in the afternoon of Sunday June 12, 2016. It will be a service of thanksgiving to our Lord who led the Mission in the endeavor back in 1998, to establish a church for migrant workers in the fruit and vegetable growing area of western Michigan……..this after previous efforts by others had failed, and the naysayers had said “it won’t work.” It will be a service of recognition for Mr. Joe Murray, a firebrand for the Lord, and now with the Lord, who refused to surrender his conviction that there should and could be a Hispanic church in the area. It will be a service of appreciation for the Rice Lake Baptist Church who allowed the Hispanic church to “temporarily” use its facilities for services on Sunday afternoons for nearly eighteen years! It will be a service of appreciation for the dozens of workers who volunteered their help, often in bone-chilling cold, to construct the building, many times forcing aside roadblocks and the devil’s obstacles to finally achieve an elusive completion.

And, praise the Lord, the building is paid for!

For those in central Michigan who might be able to attend this dedicatory celebration, we offer the following direction and information. After the various presentations, which include Tony Gomez as speaker, a meal will be served incorporating a pig roast which will be in a tent on the grounds. The church is located at 107 E. 128th St, Grant, Michigan, 49327. (Grant is approximately 21 miles north of I-96.) This location is in the northwest corner of the intersection of 128th St. and Elder Ave.

We hope to see many of you there! You will be blessed! Here are some pictures of the completed building.

The Grant Hispanic church....complete!

Church sanctuary as viewed from the back, one-half of the building.

The church sanctuary as viewed from the platform. There is an ample foyer beyond the entrance door.

Entryway at the front of the building.

The Kitchen

The other side of the kitchen. Cupboards are Hickory, hand-built by a Christian cabinetmaker.

One of the classrooms

Corridor separating the sanctuary & kitchen from office and classrooms.

Books for pastors...In the early days of the ministry of the Spanish American Mission, dating back more than 65 years, the primary goal was to win Hispanic people, primarily in Mexico, to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. As people were saved and churches were started, a normal progression, the emphasis was on evangelism, getting more people saved. Many pastors, bless them for their fervor, knew little more than how to preach Jesus Christ and the saving grace of the cross. But Jesus’ words, “Feed My sheep”, were only possible to the often limited extent of knowledge and study of the Bible the pastor was capable of.

In later decades, this deficiency has been recognized. Pastors themselves need to study and be taught the deeper things of the Word. Much credit goes to those pastors and Tony Gomez in particular who pushed for the creation of a 3-year course of Bible study in the Torreon area. Enrollment in the Bible Institute has been beyond expectations, and trained pastors are being produced.

Pastors, especially new pastors, need books from which they can take advantage of the scholarly study of others. Thus we announce the establishment of an on-going fund to provide books for existing Hispanic pastors and those yet to be called by God into His ministry.

There is an organization in Sebring, FL called Editorial Bautista Independiente. It is producing what it calls “The Pastor’s Enrichment Library.” It is a Spanish literature ministry of Baptist Mid-Missions established by missionaries in Peru in 1960, and brought to the U.S. in 1981. EBI was created specifically to provide “good” Spanish Language study books for the growing Church in Central and South America. This library for pastors consists of an assortment of about 26 books: a concordance, atlases and charts, and the 12 New Testament commentaries by Wiersbe. One book is entitled, “How to Prepare Bible Messages.”

EBI lists four necessary qualifications for recipients:

1) A pastor active in a non-stateside ministry
2) A Baptist by conviction and practice
3) A letter of recommendation by a Baptist pastor or missionary
4) Able to contribute $20 toward the library (may be given by the pastor’s church).

Cost of this package is $150 plus the $20 from the receiving pastor or his church. EBI pays the shipping. The Mission presently provides all or partial support for 14 active pastors in Mexico. Thus, 14 X $150 = $ 2,100 would be needed to provide all with the Pastor’s Library. The fund we are starting will provide these books, and any readers that are led by the Lord to assist in this endeavor are simply invited to designate gifts as “books for pastors.” Additionally, we would like this book project to be ongoing, providing sets of books as men graduate from the Bible Institute and continue, or go on to, plant new churches.

Recent EBI literature states that, since its inception in 1999, over 825 libraries have been funded and sent to national pastors.

A word of explanation...The Spanish American Mission adheres to no one denomination, though by its conservative, fundamental theology, it’s beliefs are quite consistent with those of Baptist Mid-Missions. It will be noted that most if not all the churches we support in Mexico proclaim themselves to be “Iglesia Hispana Bautista” or “Spanish Baptist Church.” As Tony Gomez explained to many of us years ago, to the rank and file Mexican, there are two kinds of churches, Catholic and Baptist. The churches therefore adopt ” Baptist” to proclaim their protestant identity in a nation that was once almost entirely Catholic. Indeed, the churches are pretty much Baptistic in nature, though they belong to no official denomination. The Spanish American Mission was never organized to produce Baptist churches in Mexico. Its by-laws state, “The primary purpose of the Spanish American Mission ,,,,,,,,,shall be to encourage and facilitate the propagation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ among Spanish-speaking people in Mexico and in the United States.”

The Mission is very appreciative of those brothers and sisters in other denominations in western Michigan who crossed denominational lines for the sake of Christ, generously donating of their time and means to assure the completion of the church at Grant. …..even though it proclaims itself Grace Hispanic Baptist Church. This is truly a proclamation of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Christ. You merit our unending admiration and thanks !

News from Tony Gomez...As a preface to news from Tony, you should be informed that Tony needs our prayer for his physical health and strength. Tony will be 65 on July 21, and his adult life has been absolutely focused on “winning souls”, regardless of personal cost in leisure time, physical health or the ordinary pleasures of life that most of us take for granted. Tony recently has had pulmonary problems, for which the doctors had forbidden him to preach and ordered him to simply rest. For those of you who know Tony, this forced rest was very difficult. We were indeed pleased when just a couple of days before this writing, doctors gave him permission that will allow him to participate, as planned, in the Grant church dedication.

(Tony writes of Edgar and Laura Hernandez. Edgar has developed into a sort of administrative assistant to Tony, and Edgar has proven very valuable in taking some of the routine administrative load off Tony. The Mission is grateful that the Lord has raised up such a man to help.)

“Edgar and Laura have joined with others in starting children’s Bible clubs, trying to reach parents via the children. They go out into plazas taking a cold drink and a snack to share with children, then present the Gospel with choruses, games, mimes, charts, etc. They have reached about 800 children in the past three weeks. Plans are to extend this outreach to other towns and villages.

“In the town of EL 12 Decembre (named after the most celebrated day on the Catholic calendar), 150 km. south of Gomez Palacio, the couple in charge of the church there have had to be removed because of lack of interest in the work and in the people of the village. Edgar and I [Tony] are going down there every week until we get a new couple to be in charge. We literally hold meetings in the streets, in the middle of the street. [Note – this illustrates Tony’s lack of patience and tolerance for any leader that he feels is not doing his utmost for the cause of Christ. While most of our pastors have been faithful and hard-working servants over the years, there have been one or two that Tony has had to discipline by dismissing them, or they have simply disappeared.]

“The church in “EL 12” meets in homes. However, there is a building there owned by a man in North Carolina that we have been given permission to use as a church. However, relatives in Mexico object to such use of the building. I ask for prayer that we will soon get the keys to the building so we can start using it.

“May 2nd was the one year anniversary of Leonardo’s homegoing. The work in Nazareno is going well and the church is full. Pastor Jaime is doing a tremendous work. I spoke on Sunday April 24th, the 38th anniversary of the church’s dedication, and 16 were baptized .

“Pastor Miguel Martinez is very ill, blind in one eye, in a wheel chair, we took him to hospital today. Chances of him ever walking again are very dim. I have to be providing for him, his wife and one daughter. Work goes on in Santa Lucia and other villages they reach each week. His boys are carrying on.

“The Gomez church [Ed. the ”mother church”, the Ministry Center, in Gomez Palacio.] has purchased blocks to add a second story to the classroom building. We need funds to hire a mason. [Tony went on to mention that the school for the developmentally disabled, “Sammy’s Friends”, had been using the facility, which puzzled the board of the Mission which wondered why the school was not meeting in it’s original facility. Later explanation from Tony was that the school is meeting in its original building but the local Board of Education, with which the school has a good relationship, requires that students have daily use of a playground. Students are bused to the newer location, where there is a playground nearby]

“There is a place we can work at next January, near Celaya, the name of the town I do not remember right now. The pastor there is a brother of the pastor at Iturbide. [Ed. San Jose de Iturbide, site of our January 2014 project.] Also, we have property in Torreon where Hugo de la Torre is pastoring a church we started three years ago. They would be ready to receive a work team in January. [Ed. this seemingly gives the board a choice of either a “southern” site for the January 2017 building project, or a “northern” one.]

“Please pray for Beatriz’ health, she is not well.”

Later word is that their visas, applied for some weeks ago, have been approved.