By Jack Reddan
Where would a fledgling start-up church, made up mostly of immigrants, be without the help of established churches with their willing and generous members? The answer, of course, is that it wouldn’t exist — at least not for long.
Familia de Fe Latino New Church Development is completing its fifth year with a called Pastor (Teaching Elder Walter Chuquimia) and its third year in a new and vibrant location in Minneapolis. In our community resources are always short — resources of all types, but especially people and people-hours. Many of our group work two jobs in order make ends meet (and some still send money “home” to help the extended family). Many of us don’t have much personal church background, so we need time for Bible study, Christian Education and learning how to be a church. That spreads us pretty thin.
Partner church members have been and are indispensable in leading our Vacation Bible School programs and our other neighborhood outreach activities, especially at Christmas and other festive times.
We really enjoy “cultural exchange” activities with churches and individuals where we can show off our foods and customs and music. We also benefit from opportunities to share our faith and tell how our faith comes out and supports our daily lives. There are high points, such as when family members can visit or join us, or when we have marriages and celebrations involving our children and adults.
As you can imagine, there are the low points and frustrations, too, as we deal with an unfamiliar language and with the bureaucratic nightmare process of immigration. We’re part of the USA community now, so we experience the same problems of unemployment and recession and housing that all of you experience. Of course, there are many times when we benefit from being here as well.
Partner churches and individuals have been fundamental in supporting us financially with their generous giving and by communicating their giving plans. These communications provide a basis for sound planning. In truth we need many churches to help generously to keep our budget afloat. We will continue to depend on significant financial gifts from churches as our grants from the denomination are reduced each year and will phase out in 2013.
We really appreciate your cooperation and support, and hope to find more and more ways to interact with you — we need mentoring in how to be church members. In exchange we can give you opportunities for hands-on mission experiences — think of it as foreign missions at your doorstep.
¡Dios les bendiga! God bless you all!