This article is reprinted from the email newsletter of The Church of the Cross Bluffton.
“So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” Matthew 9:38 (NLT)
On May 13, 2019, a visionary pastor and a missionary got together to pray over the first-ever major outreach effort by their parish to the Latino Community in the Lowcountry. As they laid their hands over the names of those registered for the new ESOL classes, a special feeling of divine faith came upon them as they prayed for the Latino souls who were about to be introduced to the saving Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Although the classes were successful for almost a year, the Latino community still had trouble trusting a Church and a denomination they had practically never heard about.
When Covid-19 arrived it seemed as if all would come to an end; but not to the Holy Spirit. Entire families who had lost their jobs (many of them former English students), began to contact the missionary for food assistance and other missional situations. Relationships of trust began to consolidate and a great interest in the Gospel of Jesus Christ began to manifest clearly. These relationships have formed into two community groups; more are forming as I write. Plans for a Christian Community Garden are currently being drawn and new baptisms are on the way.
At 1:00 pm on Sunday July 26, 2020, the Holy Spirit opened the doors of The Church of the Cross to the community for its first Spanish service. There were over 50 persons in attendance – most of them unchurched, new believers in Jesus Christ. Praised be His Name! As of today, The Church of the Cross has had four Spanish services that are averaging about 40 souls in attendance.
On the day of the Spanish service’s inauguration, Father Chuck’s beloved mother was called into Heaven while he was preaching at CrossPoint. There is no doubt in my heart that God showed Mrs. Margaret the fruit of her prayerful years, in a similar manner to when God showed Moses the Promised Land before his passing. I will never forget that day, July 26, when in spite of his personal pain, the soldier of Christ, the pastor, entered the assembly and blessed the new Spanish family that The Church of the Cross had birthed through the season’s pains.
Certainly nothing is impossible for those who believe in Christ Jesus.
All of it – everything was the result of prayer. We wouldn’t have had the strength whatsoever if it were not for the Holy Spirit working in and through us. We cannot take any personal glory whatsoever for what God has done. We are only slaves of Christ and serve on His behalf.
“When you have done all you have been told to do, say, ‘We are ordinary servants; we have only done our duty.’” Luke 17:10
It is meet and right to celebrate, but the real work has barely begun. The Church of the Cross now has to nurture, care for and especially, PRAY for this new Church assembly – its pastor, and its missionary. We will make mistakes and we will need patience – but above all, we need to always put disciplic love at the forefront – love for God and love for each other. More than my preaching, it is your love for one another in Christ that will teach these babes in Christ what it means to be disciples. (John 13:55)
As for me, I mostly have nothing to say other than wordless tears from a heart that knows he really loves his Church family, The Church of the Cross, “Where everyone is someone and Jesus is Lord!”
By The Rev. Juan Rivera, The Church of the Cross, Bluffton