September 15th through October 15th, the United States comes alive with vibrant colors, symbols, images, information, music, and decorations of a culture that is a vital part of America’s identity. The Hispanic culture of America takes pride in showcasing its traditions and highlighting the successes of Hispanic Americans who have been an inspiration. This time was chosen because the dates coincide with national independence days in Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras. This month-long celebration is meant to recognize not only Mexican culture but the Central and South American cultures located in the United States as well. According to the U.S. Census, the country’s Hispanic population increased by 43 percent between 2000 and 2010. What an increase in opportunity!
An opportunity to play a vital role in God’s ultimate purpose: to create a multitude that no one can count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language that stands before the throne and before the Lamb (Revelation 7:9, NLT), worshipping their Savior. Christians can embrace the Hispanic culture and introduce them to Christ’s redemptive love. While faith is of great importance to Hispanics, we cannot take for granted the opportunity to share the gospel. Many Hispanic Americans are still influenced by non-evangelical views and magico-religious beliefs that stem from Mayan and Aztec influence. In their study, “The Shifting Religious Identity of Latinos in the United States,” the Pew Research Center found that some Hispanics incorporate “indigenous or Afro-Caribbean practices into their religious experiences, such as seeking help from someone with special power to heal the sick, using incense or herbs in a ceremony for spiritual cleansing, or making offerings to spiritual beings or saints.”
As Christians, we have the responsibility of presenting Jesus as the only way, truth, and life and as the only access we have to our Heavenly Father. It is during this time of the year that many Hispanics think about their freedom and independence as well as life after death. The Day of the Dead is celebrated on November 1-2, where private altars and offerings are presented to the spirits of the departed as a celebration of their life. This presents an occasion for gospel conversations about being freed from sin, finding freedom in Christ, and the promise of eternal life.
Presenting the gospel to Hispanic Americans matters to us as Christians because we represent God’s kingdom on earth, and we are called to make disciples of every nation. In the book of Isaiah, we are blessed with a sneak peek of the multicultural church we will share in Heaven. The prophet Isaiah paints a beautiful picture in chapters 24-27 of the gentile nations coming up to Mount Zion for worship. Verse 6 of chapter 25 provides a view of the feast God wants us to share “In Jerusalem, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world” (Isaiah 25:6, NLT).
As you pray:
Pray for ministries that share the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Hispanic community.
Pray for Hispanic immigrants that have left their homeland in search of a better life, that they may find that life in Christ.
Pray for God to give us compassion for their journeys and a willingness to help.
To connect with WMU of Texas Hispanic Ministries Consultant Ruth Mendoza, email rmendo7[at]gmail.com.