PHOENIX (BP)–Proclaiming “Victory in Jesus,” a city-wide evangelistic effort, “Hay Vida en Jesus,” ended with a celebration rally June 13 at North Phoenix Baptist Church.
The rally, sponsored by the National Fellowship of Hispanic Southern Baptist Churches, marked the end of week-long evangelistic crusade in which eight Hispanic churches in Phoenix and the surrounding area made 137 evangelistic visits resulting in 183 professions of faith.
Augusto Valverde, president of the fellowship, directed the program.
“I believe we are having a fiesta,” he told about 600 people at the rally. More than 25 pastors and denominational leaders from across the United States attended, as did representatives from at least seven of the 14 Hispanic congregations in Phoenix.
Sharing the numbers of decisions made throughout the week, Daniel Molina, pastor of a Hispanic congregation in Phoenix, said the results were less than anticipated but still significant. In addition to the 183 professions of faith reported, he said there were six rededications and three commitments to special service. Molina’s report was received with cheers.
Jose Moreno Anaya, a fellow Phoenix pastor, said according to the U.S. Census Bureau there are 3.3 million people in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix. Of those, 25 percent or 825,000 individuals are Hispanic.
The number of Hispanic churches in the county and other Arizona cities and towns has grown rapidly in the last few years, said Moreno, who told listeners he was happy to see God’s “blessing” in growing the Kingdom through efforts like the previous week’s crusade.
Francisco Nunez of Texas, one of the Hay Vida en Jesus crusade leaders, welcomed the new believers present and challenged them to tell others the story of their encounter with Jesus while it is still “fresh” in their lives.
Interrupting the “fiesta” at one point, Nunez brought to the attention of the worship leader that Alicia Solano, a local church member was taken to a hospital emergency room. Valverde then led the rally participants in a spontaneous prayer.
A combined choir from Phoenix churches and the praise and worship team and choir from the Iglesia Bautista La Roca in Tucson took turns in leading the congregational worship and contributed with special music at different times during the program. Mabel Moriyon, minister of music at First Hispanic Baptist Church in Plantation, Fla., was the pianist and music leader for the program. During the celebration, several individuals spoke about their experiences during the weeklong evangelism effort.
Tania Raudales, a member of Iglesia Bautista Resurreccion in Miami, said she went to witness in a home where the wife had recently lost her husband and several neighbors had gathered to pay their respects. Raudales said she and members of her group shared the Gospel with the group and 11 people accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.
Marco Colina, a pastor from Littlefield, Texas, said he was encouraged by the enthusiasm present in the church where he went and in the knowledge that they were going out in the name of Jesus. Most of the people he witnessed to came to know Christ as personal Savior, he reported.
Colina attributed this feat to the 15 prayer partners he asked to pray for him daily back home. As a result of his experience, Colina said, “the hunger to win souls has increased in my person.”
Richard Vera, pastor of Immanuel Church in Denver and first vice president of the fellowship, brought the message. Vera preached in Spanish while Frank Macias of Phoenix translated his sermon into English.
“A new day is here,” Vera said. “This celebration marks the dawn of a new day for Hispanic Baptists and there are challenges waiting in the future.”
Preaching from Isaiah 43:19-20, Vera said there are promises, purposes and pronouncements from God for this new day.
“This is not a day to sit down,” Vera said. “With 38 million Hispanics in the U.S. today, most unsaved, it is time to stand up for the new day.”
Following the message, Vera extended an invitation and several made a profession of faith in Christ.