Members of Oklahoma Hispanic churches gathered Sept. 12-13 at Oklahoma City, Rivers of Living Water to celebrate the Hispanic State Evangelism Conference (HSEC). The emphasis for the conference was “Open your eyes and look at the fields, for they are ready for harvest,” (John 4:35b).
Alan Quigley, church outreach team leader for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO), said more than 700 Hispanic believers from across the state attended the conference.
“What a joy is was to be a part of the Hispanic Evangelism Conference at Oklahoma City, Rivers of Living Water,” he said. “The church members volunteered and readied their church to receive those who came. Their building was packed to the point of standing room only.”
Those who attended were encouraged to look for ministry opportunities to reach the growing Hispanic community in Oklahoma. Louisiana Pastor Gonzalo Rodriquez was the keynote speaker and gave basic principles for the church to be strengthened and effective in outreach.
“The conference was carefully planned, and its theme created awareness and challenged us,” said Cesar Garcia, pastor of Oklahoma City, Rivers of Living Water. “The speakers brought inspiration to our hearts to be obedient to the mandate of the Lord to be witnesses in the power of the Holy Spirit.
“The music was quality and was presented with excellence. It was the perfect complement to the focus of the conference. The music for the youth was wisely chosen, and I am sure they also accepted the invitation to raise our eyes to see the fields that are ready for harvest.”
Jesus Pacheco, ethnic evangelism specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO), was commended for his leadership of the conference.
“Jesus Pacheco did a great job in the planning and development of the event. His attitude of service was contagious, so that the entire team would serve with dedication and excellence in each aspect of execution of the event,” Garcia said.
“Jesus has been working with the Hispanic churches to establish a strategic plan for reaching all the Hispanics in Oklahoma,” Quigley said. “The challenge to evangelize was very clear, and the churches’ response was encouraging.”
The top 10 churches in baptisms were recognized, with a total of 153 people being baptized in the past year. Hispanic churches were challenged to baptize 500 by 2015, according to the goal set by the Hispanic task force, and to baptize 3,000 people by 2020.
“I’m praying with the Hispanic churches of Oklahoma to reach their goal of 500 baptisms in 2015,” Quigley said.
Marta Elisa Caceres, director of the Robert Haskins School of Leadership, shared a report on the women’s breakout session she led at the HSEC.
“The theme was ‘Lift up your eyes and see,’ based on the Naaman story and the little young slave girl who had the solution for Naaman’s problem,” she said. “Not just for his physical problem, but for his spiritual problem as well. This young girl has to lift up her eyes to contemplate the need of actually her enemy. That wasn’t of any importance to her because she saw the need and decided to share the good news even with her enemies.”
Caceres challenged the women who attended the session to follow the young girl’s example of faithfulness to God in sharing their faith.
“The response was amazing. Everybody in the room made a decision to go and lift up their eyes to find where God wants them to share their testimony with their ‘enemies.’”
Pacheco was pleased with the results of the two-day conference. He shared how encouraged he was with the wide-array of age groups who were represented and with the hospitality of Oklahoma City, Rivers of Living Water.
“The HSEC is a family event with ministry provided for children, youth and adults,” said Pacheco. “People enjoyed the fellowship and the training provided. Rivers of Living Water is an excellent host church, and their leadership worked very hard to contribute to make the conference a success.”