Spanish Outreach Publishing Work

Spring 2016
Written by John & Michelle Dennison - West Phoenix, U.S.A.

Last year, Instituto Cervantes reported that there are currently more Spanish speakers in the USA than in Spain. The 41 million Spanish speakers in the USA equal the total number in all of Central America. The number is even higher if we count the 11 million people in America that list themselves as bilingual.

Regarding the gospel, the Hispanic community represents a huge opportunity both because of the number of souls that could be reached, but also because of their general respect for the Scriptures and a more open ear for the gospel right now. This is especially true for newly arriving and first generation immigrants north of the border.

Therefore, we should not be surprised at the growing list of Spanish speaking assemblies, outreach works, and new works in the USA and Canada. We pray that God will raise up more workers and perhaps even call workers from Spanish-speaking countries to come over and help us in this land of opportunity.
Personally, Michelle and I will be forever grateful for the burden in the Orangewood (formerly Sunnyslope) assembly to reach out to the over 1,000,000 Hispanics living in the Valley of the Sun. We had the joy of working with them when God saved souls and established the Assembly in West Phoenix in 2002. We moved away to Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico to be involved in a new gospel work there from 2005-2010, but moved back to the assembly in Phoenix, as our boys entered their university studies.

Over the past five years, we have divided our time into four main areas. First, we have tried to help the assembly here in W. Phoenix in the gospel and teaching. God has graciously blessed the assembly with some numerical and spiritual growth. Two years ago, we had the joy of Leonel and Ieimy Chavez commending to Mexico where they currently serve the Lord in new works in Guasave, Sinaloa, and in El Vergel, Chihuahua. This is great for the work in Mexico, but, in Leonel's absence, it has required a greater involvement on my part in oversight responsibilities until the Lord raises up others.

God has given us a group of around 30 young people at the meetings, so we try to fill their time with an extra Bible class on Saturday. We hold these in English as we try to balance the primary languages of the parents and the preferred language of the children, which is one of the great challenges in all works with immigrants. The need for meetings in English will increase with time and with each generation, and yet the opportunities in the gospel and the need for teaching believers in their native tongue is essential as well. We ask God for wisdom and courage to keep us balanced as we navigate these challenges and transitions. As I write this, I beginning a short series of meetings in Spanish in West Phoenix on Future Events, as we pray for the salvation of some of the believers' children and a nice group of visitors that attend regularly.

Our second area of focus over the past several years has been to visit and support different Spanish assemblies and works in Mexico and the USA. It is thrilling to see God's work growing south of the border with four new assemblies and multiple new works that have begun, especially in the last two years. I count it a privilege to have been invited to help with series of ministry meetings, conferences, and a few gospel series in Mexico.

But not all works turn out the way we hope they will. After a year of weekly meetings in a rented building in Nogales, Mexico, two smaller Seed Sower text distributions, and two brief series of gospel meetings, we feel it is time to focus elsewhere and end our trips to Nogales. It has been a joy to share in the work there with Tim Woodford and Marcus Cain, but the original contacts and the different ones we made during our time there have moved away, or interest has waned. It is solemn and sad to be a "savor of death unto death" (2 Corinthians 2:16) in a community, but we trust the Lord to guide us elsewhere in the gospel and perhaps lead us or others to Nogales some future day in His will.

Our third focus has been to try and help in a few English conferences or have weekends of ministry in English assemblies primarily in the USA and Canada. Of late, I have found it encouraging seeing so many young folks attending conferences and showing genuine interest in the Word.

Our fourth exercise has been to continue to help in the Spanish publishing work called Publicaciones Pescadores (Fisherman's Publications). We are greatly indebted to our sister Eleonor Mosquera, who does the manuscript preparation and graphic design work. We are thankful that this past year God enabled us to produce and distribute a dozen new tract titles, some new book, and booklet titles, personalized calendars, and a new generation of our hymnbook.

Michelle and I are grateful for all God's kindness that we have enjoyed over the past 25 years in the work of the Lord. We genuinely feel there is so much still to learn and so much that could be done in the gospel and for the edification of God's people. We count it a joy to share in his work with so many laborers and pray that God will continue to guide us in our little service for him.

Spring 2016
Written by John & Michelle Dennison - West Phoenix, U.S.A.