Instituto ALMA Video Training Program; Literature Project & Instituto ALMA / CHM Web Pages; MAYM Hispanic Churches; National Hispanic Friends Conference; Honduras Disaster Relief - Hurricane Mitch
Ephesians 5:15-16 (NIV): Be very careful, then, how you live--not
as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the
days are evil.
When CHM was founded in 1994 the variety of ministries that have been undertaken could not have been foreseen. Now, after 5 years, it is a joy to consider what God has done and the things He has in store for Hispanic Friends and for the evangelical Hispanic churches.
Who can deny the importance of reaching out to Hispanics in this country
when this up and coming people group is playing such a significant role
in the political and social make up of our nation? Consider the following:
Top presidential candidates openly court the Hispanic vote - in Spanish!
Ricky Martin is currently driving the popular music scene and making Hispanic "cool."
There has been a 38% population increase for Hispanics between 1990 and 1998 (only 9% in the overall population).
Recent news coverage in national magazines such as Newsweek and Time highlights the impact of Hispanics on the national life.
83% of Hispanics in the United States say that being Hispanic is important to their personal identity and 80% are most comfortable communicating using at least some Spanish (62% prefer Spanish and 18% prefer bilingual communication). Friends have taken a leadership role through the Coalition for Hispanic Ministries in recognizing the importance of this growing community and making Hispanic ministries a priority.
CHM continues to be involved in developing ministries, encouraging and training Hispanic leaders, promoting Hispanic ministries among "Anglo" churches, and providing the communication bridge that will enable Friends and other evangelicals to work with the Hispanic church in reaching out to Hispanics.
Some Highlights from this past year:
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The Instituto ALMA Video Training Program
The Instituto ALMA program continues in its development with a total of 7 classes ready for use by cell groups of the training institute. There continues to be strong interest in the program though the development of the material has taken longer than anticipated. We hope to complete three more classes by the end of the year. We are in a special push to involve 10 of the Hispanic Friends Churches as cell sites for the Institute program in the coming year and have received a special "Clarence and Lilly Pickett Fund for Quaker Leadership" grant to help us with this aspect of the program.
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Literature Project & Instituto ALMA / CHM Web Pages
The Houston Chronicle reported recently (6/11/99) that, "Data from Nielsen Net Ratings, which monitors Web traffic, indicates that about 5 million of the 30 million Hispanics in the United States are online. A study by Forrester Research, however, put the figure closer to 10 million." They state that, "the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking Internet market is one of the fastest-growing in the world."
Over the years the Hispanic churches have had a constant struggle to meet the need for Friends literature in Spanish. Part of the problem is that the churches are spread across the country and it is difficult to distribute materials effectively and it is difficult to produce the small quantities that are required.
When CHM inaugurated its website in May of this year one of our goals was to provide a place where Hispanic Friends can go for their literature needs. Whether it is a copy of the Faith and Practice of their yearly meeting, study guides for discipleship classes, devotional reading, or Historic Friends literature we hope to put it online so that Friends from Peru to Canada can have easy access to download and print what they need as it is needed. At this point we have an experimental literature index that has a copy of the Declaration of Faith and the Constitution for the Mexico Yearly Meeting. Contacts have been made to include a daily devotional guide called "Corazón y Vida" (Heart and Life) that is produced by Guatemala Yearly Meeting, the Faith and Practice from EFC-ER, study guides from the ALMA classes, Articles and pamphlets from various individuals and Yearly Meetings, and many pieces that will help with meet the needs of Hispanic Friends.
We feel that this CHM / Instituto ALMA site will be a blessing for the Hispanic Church and will also provide a primary means to promote the Institute program for Spanish-speaking church leaders. Please visit us at: www.dcnet2000.com/~alma. Click on the CHM logo to get from there to the CHM home page.
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MAYM Hispanic Churches
The 5 Hispanic Friends groups in MAYM have gone through many challenges this year though God continues to bless and support these ministries. Wichita has experienced some leadership difficulties and is just now recovering, Booker Friends' "Anglo" church pastoral change has affected the Hispanic group and it is still uncertain what the vision for that work will be in the coming year. The group at Langham Creek is on hold for the summer, but Tomás Martínez and Isaias Cordero continue to raise up their works in Macksville and Houston respectively.
We are excited about the prospect of a new Hispanic ministry in Friendswood and possibly in Hugoton. Lord willing, Dr. Nehiel Rojas will be brought on staff at Friendswood Friends Church next month and will work to include Hispanics in the life of the Friendswood church without necessarily establishing a separate Hispanic church. Among middle class Hispanics it is important to have a ministry that can include all family members (Spanish and English-speaking, young and old, first and third generation American). Nehiel will work half time with the Friendswood Church in establishing community ministries for Hispanics and in providing an "open door" to Hispanics who might otherwise be put off by coming into an "Anglo" church.
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National Hispanic Friends Conference
The National Hispanic Friend Conference was again a great success as hundreds of Hispanic Friends gathered in Los Angeles from across the country and Canada. It was a great blessing to see those Friends gaining a common vision for ministry and evangelism in their communities. The next conference will be held in Wichita from October 7-10. We believe this will be a great time of blessing and celebration for Hispanic Friends, but also a time when American Friends from MAYM can see first hand what God is doing among Hispanics across our nation. Contact has already been made with Friends churches in the Wichita area who will be helping out with transportation, meals, and housing. As Friends in the Wichita area are exposed to the contagious faith of these servants of God, they too will be challenged to deepen their faith and broaden their ministry.
The theme of this conference is prayer and much time will be dedicated to both its study and practice.
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Honduras Disaster Relief - Hurricane Mitch
Disaster relief is not normally a part of the mission of CHM, but when Hurricane Mitch struck Central America at the beginning of November 1998, CHM was the organization in place to provide both a "bridge of resources" for those suddenly in desperate need and also a "bridge of communication" to lead Friends to a role of service.
Within two weeks of the Hurricane CHM led a group of Friends on what became a medical relief team that arrived on the first commercial flight to land in the San Pedro Sula airport. That airport, and most of the entire region, had been covered by 5-10 feet of water that left thousands drowned and millions homeless. Our group carried thousands of dollars worth of emergency supplies, thousands of dollars from special offerings for relief projects, and most importantly, some of the key people who were to head up the relief effort over the following months. Those people included Dean Johnson and Thomas Hoke from Friends Disaster Service and Scott Sward from the Friends Church Southwest. Friends Disaster Service was instrumental in quickly sending much needed container loads of relief supplies, and Scott Sward (a young man of just 20) became the on-site coordinator for disaster relief in Honduras through early June.
Since disaster relief is not the primary focus for either the Friends mission in Honduras or the national Honduras Friends Church, CHM led both of the first two medical relief teams. The second team arrived on January 18 and included 3 physicians and an RN.
Altogether, CHM contributed over $15,000 through special offerings for Honduras relief and was instrumental in initiating this much needed effort. Currently, SWYM is scaling back on the disaster relief project and concentrating on its ongoing mission strategy. Duane Davis, Friends missionary in Honduras, expressed that one of the long term blessings of the relief effort was to encourage Honduran Friends with a new vision of their role in the powerful body of Christ that reaches to a world in need.
We praise God for all he has allowed us to accomplish together with you in this past year and we look forward into the year 2000 as we continue to develop and serve the leaders who serve in our churches. It is good to see an explosion of new ministries initiated and carried out by Hispanic men and women in this country and it is certain that God is bringing about something new in the Evangelical Church in the United States. Praise God that he has allowed Friends to be at the forefront of this ministry movement and thank you for your commitment to reaching out beyond the bonds of culture, comfort, and familiarity.
Dr. David C. Byrne; M.Div, D.Min.
Director: Coalition for Hispanic Ministries / Instituto ALMA: ALcanzando al Mundo Alrededor
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