Ministering to the immigrant community

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by tinytim, Aug 1, 2006.

  1. tinytim

    tinytim
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    I was just wondering if any of you have been successful in reaching the immigrant community. We have a lot here that no church is trying to reach... I see this as an opportunity for our church and Christ's Kingdom.

    God has placed a burden on our hearts for these people, but we are not sure where to start...

    Do you have any suggestions?
     
  2. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Pray for them.

    Be their friend.

    Share the Word of God with them.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  3. tinytim

    tinytim
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    Thanks Joseph.

    I have been doing this..
    What is the best way to show them they are welcomed at our church, when other churches are shunning them?
     
  4. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Pray for them.

    Be their friend.

    Share the Word of God.
     
  5. LeBuick

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    Invite them to fellowship. Start with one or two and let it grow. Don't force it.
     
  6. gb93433

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    They will not come to your church unless you are a friend to them first outside of your church. Be in it for the long haul. Don't do the "hit and run."
     
  7. El_Guero

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    1. Which language group(s) are you trying to reach. I.e., what country are they from?

    1a. This impacts language resources that are available.
    1b. This helps you with the culture you are trying to reach.

    2. ESL classes are a natural starting point - and you don't need to know the other language.

    3. Remember to just love on them. Love as Jesus did and not as we do.

    4. After school (afternoon & evening) VBS) is usually a winner - if you get the word out.

    5. Pray for a man/family of peace - you will need inroads into the community.

    6. Time, time, & real time. Immigrants are not a mcnugget ruined generation. They do not go from the door to a decision with a mere "would you like to supersize that?" They will take the old fashioned welcome over and over to build the trust that all people need.

    God bless & praying for you.
     
  8. tinytim

    tinytim
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    Thank you , and excuse my ignorance but what are ESL classes?
    They are from differing countries, but mostly Mexico.
     
  9. Psalm 100

    Psalm 100
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    ESL = English as a Second Language.

    We're exploring ministry to that group also. In addition to the other suggestions, if you can find such a person, find someone from their country that's a second generation citizen to help. He'll be able to more closely identify with the language barrier, the isolation issues, the cultural issues, etc.
     
  10. El_Guero

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    No. Please do not make that mistake. Do not choose a man because he is a second generation native.

    Choose a man because he is the man of peace that God wants to work through in His ministry.

    I don't want to come on too strong nor too weak on this - but, a patronized second generation speaker will not be able to reach his people - because they are NOT his people - he is a second generation. He can reach the second generation - this cannot be understated.

    I am working with others (like myself) that understand the differences in generational issues within the latino culture*. We agree - if we do not raise up 'native' or 'indigenous' leadership soon, the 'mexican' church in america (USA) is in trouble.

    I cannot explain a lifetime of learning and feeling in any number of posts - just trust me on this. Please choose the men that God is wanting to work through. And then remember - we do not think the way that you think. We just don't - your ways are weird to us. Please remember that I am Tejano. I am not Mexican.


    *Latino is used generically here of ALL hispanic americans and of all language levels.
     
  11. El_Guero

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    I had a better and more passionate plea about working with immigrants, but the cookie demon ate it.

    Remember to find men and families of peace. Try to find families of peace from each culture group (or at least each country).
     
  12. tinytim

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    Thank you El Guero, and all that has posted above.
    Someone else has suggested ESL, so I am looking into it.

    Another question that may show my ignorance...
    What is the proper term to identify this group?
    Hispanic, immigrant community, migrants, latinos, etc.

    I don't want to offend them.

    Like I said, we have some that have come to our church, and one in particular is very interested. He didn't have a Bible, so we bought him a parallel Spanish/English one yesterday.

    The strange thing is, (well not strange, because it is of God!),
    2 months ago, I started to get a real burden for this group. I had heard others, including some Christians make the usual prejudice slurs that we have all heard, I saw how cashiers at Walmart treated them.

    Then I realized there is not one church, not ONE, in a 20 mile radius that is reaching out to them. That just broke my heart.

    That was 2 months ago when I just shared it with a couple leaders in our church. I just asked them to pray and seek God's will in this. If God wants to use us, we are willing. Or if not use us, I just wanted God to use someone that can reach them.

    Well, 3 weeks ago, we started having visitors. And they just keep coming back. I am now trying to learn Spanish. I had a class in HS, but didn't think I would ever need it, so just did what I could to get by.

    Anyway, thanks for any suggestions.
     
  13. Psalm 100

    Psalm 100
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    I apologize. I guess I wasn't very clear in my comments (sometimes I don't even understand what I'm saying :laugh: ).

    Of course, the first priority should be a man called by God with a desire to reach your group. My reason for suggesting a second generation person was because he would still remember his parent's struggle to "fit in", and at the same time, be a generation into the US culture. In my experience here in the south, most hispanic areas do have one or two families of second generation folks who help the newcomers.

    But, as always, the first priority should be to find someone called and willing.

    I grew up in El Paso, and my I spent most of my weekends visiting my friends families in Juarez. I grew to love the culture, the language, and most of all, the food:tongue3: . Any ministry to the Hispanic people here is important to me.

    I wish you and Tiny the best, and pray God increases your efforts beyond your dreams.
     
    #13 Psalm 100, Aug 3, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 3, 2006
  14. El_Guero

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    Tim,

    I am gonna ask you a big favor . . . ignorance is ok as long as you promise not to patronize . . . Fair? Not patronizing is my favor. Patronizing is what has really crippled Mexican society. But, that is a different story.

    ;)

    If you haven't given him the Bible yet, may I suggest that you find something that you can tie the gift to? Even more so than Anglo community, when given something there is the expectation that it will be given in the future . . . i.e., the next 'Mexican' will expect a Bible just for visiting a couple of times.

    It does work that way. So, please tie gifts and events to special occasions.

    Maybe if you could ask, "It would be nice if there could be a Bible-study for Mexican Americans in the future. And you have been coming regularly. If God were to allow* you to help with a Bible study, would you help with the Bible study?" You have just led the man in a very Mexican way to say yes without making him say yes. Now you can go the rest of the way with something like, "Would** you read a Bible if you had one?" Again expect a yes. "I thought so, you seem interested in doing what God wants. Someone in the church was led by God to give you this Bible. Would** you use this gift to honor God?" You have bonded the man to yourself through the spirit of God's will.


    * Si Dios permite "If God permits" (or) Si Dios quiere "If God wills" - indicate the sovereignty of God in all events. Unlike reformed theology that talks about God being sovereign, God is sovereign in Mexican theology - even if one is a satanist. I cannot explain it, but even the weather forecasts in Mexico use if God permits, tomorrow we will have _____ .

    ** Notice the use of subjunctive in English. This is the Mexican thought process. We are not 'responsible' for 'things', 'things' just happen. So the 'if you could, would you ___ ' is a natural thought process for the Mexican mind. You will sound Mexican without knowing Spanish.

     
  15. El_Guero

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    Unfortunately, there is no English equivelent to 'identifity' the Latino (or hispanic) population. This is because each people group is from a different dialect and uses a different term for themselves. If the group is Mexican, then Mexican will work. If they are combined from different countries then I typically use hispanic until I hear them use latino and then I switch.

    Do not use Chicano. Just don't. And don't call yourself a 'gringo'. If you are a 'gringo' then I won't help.

    Remember that a Mexican is like a Texan. Pride of who they are is very important to them. Your biggest problem will be in learning how to lead the very, very proud within the group to not dominate the rest of the group. When you see it, it could very well make you angry. If it does, then promise me you will laugh and say, "that is so Mexican!" Usually, the overly proud (what we would call arrogant) Mexicans won't stay too long in the group - they just rub all of the other Mexicans the wrong way.

    Me personally, I usually ask if they are from Monterrey . . . I don't know if you can be natural enough to play off of the insult without offending . . . if you can be, I will teach you the rest. And you will laugh. Mexican is soooo Mexican. Sooooo Mexican that we have an expression for that. Pure Mexican. Puro Mexicano.

    Do not think that a tejano is a Mexican. Most tejanos do NOT relate well with Mexicans. Here in the DFW (Dallas) area, people are constantly making this judgement and then they wonder why it does not work.

    The worst group of people to make this judgement are often second generation Mexicans. They can be proud of speaking English when the 'not so smart' mexicans cannot. 2d gen Mexicans can be a difficult group to lead from . . . But, the ones that 'get it', get it! But, my experience is that they are usually already leading . . . So, if you have a 2d gen Mexican that is already a leader - go for it. If you have to grow a 2d generation leader, it is work.

    Do not mistake Mexican with anything else. Puerto Ricans will not like being called a Mexican, but they expect it (they expect this from all of the hispanic hiearchy of countries, the country in america which is the top of the hispanic hiearchy is Mexico).

    OK - a Mexican will let you call him almost anything. This is your country - not his. Work from Mexican to hispanic to latino. Hispanic is the most general "latin america" is "hispanic america" in Spanish. But, Americanized hispanics often prefer latina because of the cultural identification with latin music.
     
    #15 El_Guero, Aug 3, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 3, 2006
  16. El_Guero

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    Joking . . . In our culture joking is an art, a science, and sometimes almost brutal. "Pica, Pica" (you might be familiar with pica de gallo hot salsa?) is the 'bite' of the rooster. I use bite over peck, because there is an almost predatory nature to our joking. If you have ever killed chickens by hand (or 22) you probably get the picture immediately.

    You are not expected to be 'able' to joke in this manner. In fact, it would be awkward, because you are not expected to joke this way. But, over time you will be able to play upon the backdrop of their style of humor.

    If you remember last year the big mess about the mexican cartoons depicting black characters in a derogatory manner. Mexicans could not understand why anyone would be offended. Mexican humor is tough sometimes.

     
  17. tinytim

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    Thanks for the insights.. this is exactly what i am looking for.
    You have been a great help.
     
  18. tinytim

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    No I'm not into patronizing either... can you give me some examples of things that have been done to patronize the Mexicans?
     
  19. LeBuick

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    Just ask them, it's better to ask so you be right and show your interest than to guess and be wrong. I usually joke with them like, "where you from Vato?"

    I bet now you know how Jesus felt when he said the harvest is truly plentous but the laborers are few. Everywhere you look there is kingdom work to be done but we are usually content with hiding inside the walls of the building.

     

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