Northwest Hispanic Ministry Report for March 2015 by Joe Strong
(NWHM, 701 W. Blackburn Rd., Mt. Vernon, WA. 98273)
I wish you could read the letters I receive from prisoners. Each week, I receive 1 or 2 from people who are scattered all over the state. My favorites are from my friend, Mr. Lopez, who is now in Walla Walla serving 22 years. His first letter from there, said that he was glad to finally arrive at a place to stay awhile. As soon as he got there, he was recruited to be a part of more than one gang. He wrote that he no longer has “Mexican Pride” nor does he want to follow any gang rules because he now belong to His Savior Jesus Christ. He ended his letter saying that he continues to be changing into the image of Jesus. His P.S. said, “tell the officers of the jail in Bellingham that I appreciated the way they treated me.” A few days ago, I sent Lopez two books in the Spanish language, a bilingual Bible and Berkhof’s Systematic Theology. Lopez had led several English speakers to the Lord using a bilingual Bible. We studied this theology book at Calvin Seminary.
I end up doing a lot of different things during each week. I spent a morning at the UW Dentistry School with a lady from our church who needed teeth pulled, a couple of hours at McDonald’s with a woman and her two children who are now living in the Mission in Bellingham. Our church helped a family who had a still birth child and had no way of paying for the cremation. I am now visiting the mother who is Anglo with the father who is Hispanic. I do advocacy work, talking to lawyers, social workers and welfare office visits. I visit the sick, spend time with disoriented people, write letters to immigration officials and encourage people struggling with addictions. I get telephone calls from lonely people. I pray with nearly all these people who are looking for help. God is very much alive.
I recently did a double wedding at our Amor Viviente Church in which everything I said had to be interpreted into Mixteco. It was very informal because many of the words in Spanish were hard to explain in Mixteco. Pre-marriage counseling was difficult. Mixteco is a dialect of a rural area in southern Mexico.
This coming April, Northwest Hispanic Ministry is doing 2 presentations to showcase the impact that we have in the areas we work. We want to invite you to come and join us. Circle the date of Friday, April 24 for our Mt. Vernon event at First CRC, and Saturday, April 25 for our Lynden event at 3rd CRC. Stay tuned for the times. We promise an interesting program plus a dinner.