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Contextualizing the Gospel for Hispanic Immigrants

“When you have to live as an immigrant it changes your worldview,” Brian says.

Shortly after Brian met Jesus in 1995, God gave him a heart for the Hispanic community. As he visited a prison near Chicago, he discovered that 40% of the inmates there were Hispanic. “How will these guys hear the gospel?” Brian thought to himself. That question motivated Brian so much that he committed to learning Spanish over the next 12 months. 

As he started studying, he was quickly reminded of why he didn’t do so well in high school Spanish—but that didn’t stop him from trying! The following year, he returned to the prison equipped with slightly better Spanish, and more importantly, some tracts explaining the gospel in Spanish. “Can you help read this to me?” he would say to the Hispanic inmates, handing them a tract. Amazingly, God used Brian’s willing heart and gift for relationships to welcome someone into God’s family on his second day at the prison! 

By the time Brian returned home, God had birthed in him a dream of doing something no one else had done: planting Spanish-speaking churches in his town in northern Indiana. The Hispanic community there was small, but growing exponentially. In just a few years, the local Hispanic population had expanded to be 11 times its original size—yet there were very few churches in that area who were ministering to Hispanics. 

In 2001, Brian and his wife Tammy got so serious about learning the language, that they moved to Argentina for a year to learn it. And when they returned, they started a Hispanic ministry. The ministry grew, and they even planted a Hispanic church in 2010. Brian pastored it for five years and then raised up a Hispanic pastor to take his place who still leads the church today.

Now Brian is working with Encompass, pursuing his goal of planting three more Hispanic churches in nearby towns as well as a Hispanic Bible school. More and more Hispanics are immigrating to the US each month, and Brian sees that as a move of God. He even developed a sermon titled “What’s God Doing Now?” which he uses to educate other churches on the topic. 

In general, there are many evangelism tools available for Spanish-speakers, but few are contextualized specifically for the Hispanic immigrant. As Brian came to realize that, God gave him more and more of a desire to develop tools specifically for that people group. The first of these tools is “Discover the Bible: 12 Bible Stories that Share God’s Message to the Hispanic Soul,” which he’ll soon start beta testing. 

If you share Brian’s heart for reaching unreached immigrants, you can partner with him financially or send him an email