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Nearly 300 accept Christ during Hispanic crusade


SALT LAKE CITY (BP)-Nearly 300 individuals accepted Christ during the June 12-14 Hispanic crusade that wrapped up Crossover Salt Lake City, Southern Baptists’ evangelistic effort surrounding the convention’s 1998 annual meeting.
The strong response brought the total number of Hispanics accepting Christ during the entire Crossover campaign to about 750, according to Enio Aguero, ethnic/chaplaincy consultant for the Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention and principal coordinator of the crusade.
“That’s basically almost 44 percent” of the total 1,713 professions of faith recorded during Crossover, Aguero said, out of an ethnic group that makes up only about 10 percent of the area’s residents.
“We were able to do all that first of all by the grace of God, and secondly with a very limited amount of budget,” Aguero said. “One of the aspects of Crossover that I believe makes a difference for us on the Hispanic side … was the emphasis of prayer that we placed on it.”
Prayer efforts included 100 days of prayer, 40 days of prayer and fasting, and one four-hour prayer meeting May 30. Participation of local Hispanics in Crossover included block parties, sports clinics and other events in addition to the area-wide crusade. One bit of evidence of the effect of their prayers came with the weather, Aguero said. Rain was forecast for all three nights of the crusade, but it never came. Although two nights were held in an indoor auditorium at Skyline High School in Salt Lake City, the last night — featuring an extended concert and testimony by the Mexican pop star Yuri — was held in the open-air Franklin Quest Stadium.
Hispanics met for a joint worship service in the stadium that Sunday morning as dark clouds loomed. The Sunday school hour was spent in prayer for different aspects of the event, including the weather. Later, worshipers watched as the dark clouds settled over the nearby mountains, but not over the stadium. “At that moment we said, ‘God is going to do something even greater here,'” Aguero said.
Also, a visit by Yuri to a children’s hospital not only served as an opportunity for her to minister to the children, but also led to an invitation for Aguero to serve as a volunteer chaplain in the future
The response to the presentation of the gospel grew throughout the crusade, from six professions of faith the first night to 75 the second night and finally to 217 after the final service for a total of 298. Attendance for the final service was estimated at about 5,000.
The first two evenings began with music led by a praise band made up of Hispanics throughout the area, then a short mini-concert by Yuri — a popular recording artist in Mexico who only recently made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. William Ortega, a catalytic missionary for Hispanics in Utah, preached both nights.
On the final evening, Yuri gave her testimony in song for several hours, and Ortega gave the invitation as hundreds responded.
“Seeing those people going and saying, ‘Yes I want Jesus to touch my life’… I was standing way, way back. I was involved in too many things. But I found my wife, and it was probably the happiest day of my life,” Aguero said, his voice faltering with emotion. “All those long hours and times away from the family — it was worth it.”

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  • James Dotson