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Spanish-language magazine marks 50 years of commitment

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–Nuestra Tarea, the Spanish-language magazine of missions and ministries published by Woman’s Missionary Union, is marking its 50th year in print this February.

With its recent format changes, including broader content and profiles of Hispanic church leaders, Nuestra Tarea (translated: Our Task) is a bimonthly 64-page resource to encourage and engage Hispanic churches in missions.

“Today Nuestra Tarea focuses on the Hispanic church as a whole,” said Steve Murdock, editor of the publication. “We now have pastors and other male leaders who read the magazine. We realized many basic ministry needs of Hispanic churches were not being met, so we expanded the format to include departments such as church planting and evangelism, pastor’s corner, children’s ministry, youth ministry, worship and book reviews. This gives the entire Hispanic church something valuable in Spanish that will enhance their missions and ministries.”

The first issue of Nuestra Tarea was published in 1955 as a 32-page publication featuring Bible study, missionary news, resources for officers, mission study and support, community missions information and assistance for organizational leaders. Since that first issue, the prayer calendar — listing North American and international missionaries by their birthdays — has been part of Nuestra Tarea.

Seed money for developing the publication was provided by the Southern Baptist Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board).

(In 1940, the first printed Spanish-language missions programs were published by the Convencion Bautista Mexicana in Texas. These materials were translated from another WMU publication, Royal Service, in an effort to help Hispanic women in Texas model expand their missions activities and projects.)

“With the rapid growth of our Spanish-speaking population, Nuestra Tarea is more vital and relevant in our churches today than ever before,” said Wanda S. Lee, executive director-treasurer of WMU, an auxiliary of the Southern Baptist Convention.

“Since 1955, this publication has been the premier Baptist missions magazine for Hispanic churches, and we are excited about the future,” Lee said. “WMU is committed to partnering with our Hispanic brothers and sisters as together we seek to engage Christians in a missions lifestyle.”

Among the features of the magazine’s 50th anniversary issue is a profile of Hispanic entertainer Jose Luis Rodríguez, a singer/actor known for his Christian worldview.

Most readers of Nuestra Tarea live in the South and in Texas, two areas that have seen tremendous growth in the Hispanic community. However, subscribers of the magazine also live in several northern and western states and as far away as Canada and Puerto Rico. In 2000, according to the Census Bureau, 32.8 million Latinos resided in the United States, comprising 12 percent of the nation’s population.

In other initiatives for Hispanic churches, WMU began conferences for Spanish-speaking women at the two Baptist conference centers, Glorieta (N.M.) and Ridgecrest (N.C.), in 1975 and a writers’ workshop for Nuestra Tarea and other Spanish resources in 1977.
Brett McArdle is a writer for Woman’s Missionary Union. To learn more about WMU in Spanish, visit www.wmu.com and click on “Información en espanol.” To order Nuestra Tarea or other Spanish materials, visit www.wmustore.com or call WMU customer service toll-free at 1-800-968-7301 (para espanol, marque el 1).

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  • Brett McArdle