Today I called my parents for the first time in about a month. That looks so horrible in print! They now live in SC, but for the past 8 years or so, they have lived as missionaries in Mexico. Yes, they went to language school and learned a new language and culture in their early fifties! They built and helped with several ministries in Mexico before their pastor asked them to move back to SC and start a Spanish ministry in their sending church. My parents prayed for quite a while about this move, as they did about the move to Mexico several years ago, wanting to follow the Lord's will exactly. God led them back to SC, and yesterday was their first service in their Hispanic church.
Daddy was very pleased with how things went yesterday. Their sending church has several Hispanic families, many of them related to each other, already coming faithfully, even though they don't understand English fully. They knew they needed to be in church, and the English-speaking church is what was available to them. Yesterday afternoon - possibly for the first time in the US - these precious people went to a Gospel-preaching church where their native language was spoken. One lady's husband came to church for the first time just yesterday, because he couldn't understand English (I don't speak any Spanish, but I've sat in on several Spanish services as part of our ministry in the US - you can't imagine how tedious it is to sit through a sermon that you can't understand!). Their American pastor was deeply moved to see these people, whom he has ministered to the best that he can, responding to the preaching in their native language. One of the ladies told my dad that even though she can understand English, when she hears the sermon in Spanish, "it goes in deeper." How that touched my heart! And how it breaks my heart that there's a wide-open mission field in the US, but not many men are answering this call to reach immigrants with the Gospel. There are so many ethnic groups within the US that we could begin reaching the world just by reaching those within our own country!
Many people don't see the need to support home mission projects in the US. They have a strong vision for missions to the rest of the world, as they should, but they are short-sighted when it comes to the US. Maybe they should drop in and talk to the 15 or so Hispanic people in upstate SC who now have a church where they can learn in their own language from a pastor who has lived in their country for a few years and understands their culture. Pray for these folks, and for more men to answer the call to reach the people within the US - and pray for the people of America to catch the vision of home missions, especially the pastors!
My parents have a website. It's a work in progress, but it will show you the ministry they had in Mexico and the new one just starting in SC. I hope you'll drop by The Holdens' page and get to know them and pray for their work!