Mountain View Conference Hispanic Membership Surpasses 100 Members
Story by Walter Cardenas
On a Sabbath morning in July 2005, an Adventist Spanish-speaking gentleman walked through the doors of the Moorefield (W.Va.) church. Communicating with him was limited because of the language barrier, but that day the members of this small church “realiaized that we may have other brothers and sisters from Spanish-speaking countries that would want to join us,” says Phyllis Jeffers, Moore eld church treasurer. “The next week we ordered four Spanish Adult Sabbath School quarterlies.”
One month later, Froilan Gabriel left a voice message on the church’s answering machine. He did his best to speak English, but no one could understand the message. The members prayed for someone to help them reach him. The next Sabbath, Quelman and Anita Quiroz visited from Winchester, Va. Members asked Quelman, who is bilingual, to listen to the phone message and call the Spanish-speaking family. The following Sabbath, Quelman and his wife returned, this time bringing the Gabriel family. Jeffers and another member, Wanda Dove, taught the Sabbath School class to the Gabriel children, despite the fact that the children didn’t speak English. The church began having bilingual services. This effort marked the beginning of the Spanish work in Moorefield and the Mountain View Conference (MVC).
In 2012 lay members of the Lewisburg (W.Va.) church began noticing many Spanish-speakers around the city. The Kester Erskine and Charles Gallimore families began to pray for the people and asked the conference to send help. The Argueta family, who had previously helped at the Moorefield church, moved to Lewisburg in December. Juan Carlos Argueta became a Bible worker and set the groundwork for the Spanish work in Lewisburg.
In 2013 Pastor Arturo Jeronimo and his family arrived at Lewisburg and started working with members to establish a Spanish-speaking congregation.
In July 2015, 11 theology students from the Peruvian Union University arrived in West Virginia to serve as missionaries for a year. These students moved to different cities in the MVC territory, including Moore eld and Lewisburg to support the work already in progress.
Through the support of the local church, student missionaries and pastors Heroes Sical (Moorefield) and Arturo Jeronimo (Lewisburg), both groups have grown. This past summer, the Lewisburg Spanish and the Moorfield Spanish congregations were organized as companies. Members of various churches in Charleston and Morgantown have also started working with the Spanish-speaking community and hope to have Spanish-speaking congregations in the near future.
As a result of these initiatives, more than 100 people worship in Spanish every Sabbath in the MVC territory. “Praise the Lord for dedicated people who followed the Holy Spirit’s leading and welcomed everyone, not only into the fellowship of the church but into their own personal circles of in uence,” says Larry Boggess, MVC president. “May God continue to open our eyes to meeting the needs of others with hearts of compassion, regardless of the language spoken,” says Larry Boggess, MVC president.
The next time you encounter a visitor walking through your church doors, what will you do? This could be an opportunity to create a new ministry or even plant a new congregation. Praise God for brothers and sisters who are willing to listen to God’s leading.