Evangelist underscores Jesus 'who makes the difference'
ST. LOUIS (BP)--Standing speechless at the altar, nearly 75 people kneeled, held hands, cried and prayed under evangelist Alberto Mottesi's outstretched arms. It was a message in a universal language the evangelist spoke -- a message of love, compassion and the power of God.
What made it more poignant for this group was that Mottesi spoke not only the gospel's language of love, but he spoke it in his native Spanish, reaching out to Hispanics with compassion and a yearning for them to heed the call of "Jesus -- who makes the difference."
Mottesi, a California-based evangelist, delivered his message at the 15th annual reunion of the National Hispanic Fellowship of Southern Baptist Churches, June 8-9 at Fee Fee Baptist Church in St. Louis.
"There is no limit for the power of God," said Mottesi, preaching June 8 from Matthew 28:18. "I want to assure you that everything you desire in your life, you will find it in the Christ who is the King of kings and Lord of lords."
Recalling a story about a young male homosexual who was redeemed and changed in Christ after a run-in with street preachers in Mexico, Mottesi urged the audience to remember first the powerful promise of the gospel.
Afflicted by various illnesses and at the depths of despair, the man was loved, affirmed and discipled by those who had compassion for him.
"You can change radically in your personal life and in your family life," Mottesi said.
A second promise Motessi noted is that the earth will be filled with God's glory. Whether in Honduras, in Colombia or wherever people are, God can reach people, Motessi said.
"Jesus who loves you has the hairs on your head counted," Motessi said. "If you need direction ... Jesus has all the authority."
Preaching from 1 Samuel 17 the previous night, Mottesi said there are giants in the land and, just like David, people must challenge those giants and overcome them.
The five giants, he said, are Satan, dirty minds, sex, sin and fear.
"Eschechen Esto," said Mottesi, gesturing to the dozens of young people in the crowd, "Youth! Listen to this!"
There is hope in Jesus and he can change lives, Mottesi emphasized. Noting that salvation comes through simple faith in Christ, he exhorted the people of God to take his life and power to win millions of Hispanics to Jesus.
Offering an altar call to which dozens responded each night, Mottesi and members of the Hispanic fellowship offered counseling and encouragement.
Leading music for the celebration was Mabel Moriyon, director of music for the fellowship, along with Primera Praise of Primera Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, and Ingrid Rosario and Jaime Dheming of New Orleans.
Workshops during the fellowship's Sunday afternoon session included "How to go forward with your finances and without debts" led by Andres Panasiuk of the Atlanta-area Crown Financial Ministries; "How to go forward with families in this world in crisis," Texas evangelist Samuel Otero; and "Practical strategies to plant churches and enhance existing ones," Bobby Sena, manager of the SBC North American Mission Board church planting group's Hispanic unit.
Southern Baptist entity representatives from LifeWay Christian Resources, International Mission Board and NAMB brought greetings to the participants, as well as a representative from Woman's Missionary Union.
Sena recognized the fellowship for planting 340 new churches over a period of four years.
"Hispanics are a vital part of what we do as a denomination," Sena said. "The fellowship's emphasis on evangelism and church planting are an important part of being participants in partners in the harvest."
Translation was provided by Daniel Sanchez, Herberto Becerra, and Eliseo and Alicia Aldape.