Crossover reaches Hispanic communities
INDIANAPOLIS (BP)--Despite morning downpours and flash-flood warnings, nearly 100 Southern Baptist volunteers staffed evangelistic block parties aimed at reaching Hispanics in metropolitan Indianapolis June 7.
Reaching out in the Greenwood and Cloverleaf communities as part of Crossover'08, volunteers from churches throughout the United States joined with two local churches, Madison Avenue Baptist and Cloverleaf Baptist, for the Crossover outreach prior to each year's SBC annual meeting.
At least a third of the volunteers were from Madison Avenue Baptist and another third were led by Williams Trigueros, pastor of Iglesia Bautista El Buen Pastor in Indianapolis. Trigueros is a native of Honduras and a student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
Kip Ferrar, the young pastor of Madison Avenue Baptist, did not have a dampened spirit as he worked to adapt to the contrary weather, working with volunteers to move the event's sound equipment to the church's basement. Members from New Beginnings Baptist Church in west-central Indianapolis also assisted with the block party.
The block party at the Cloverleaf Baptist Church also was hampered by the wet weather but pastor Larry Evans maintained an upbeat attitude. His church had worked hard in order to reach out, he said. Challenged by the low turnout of newcomers, he said the church would repeat the outreach under more favorable conditions.
Evans, who said his church is "surrounded by Hispanics," plans to offer a worship service and Sunday School in Spanish in addition to its regular services.
Several members from Immanuel Baptist Church in Highland, Calif., were on hand to help with witnessing at the Cloverleaf block party. Rob Zinn, Immanuel's pastor, noted his church is "concerned with reaching this community and will do whatever it takes" to make that happen.
Rome Draper, a volunteer from Immanuel Baptist, said he was impressed by "the heart this pastor [Evans] has for this community."
Ferrar, from Madison Baptist, said he believes that although the rain came and people may have felt the turnout there was low, "the Lord is the Lord of the weather. We are meeting together as brothers and sisters in Christ, praise the Lord!"
In the Greenwood community, where there are no Southern Baptist Hispanic churches in a community of about 8,000 Hispanics, Trigueros noted Iglesia Bautista El Buen Pastor is a pioneer work that began with two families less than a year ago.
Cary Hanks, Hispanic church planting and coordination missionary for the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana, said he is hopeful the work will continue.
Despite the rains, he said, "We talked to a lot of people this week."
David Raul Lema Jr. is director of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary's Center for the Americas in Miami and a correspondent for Baptist Press.