The Spanish Work In Miami
St. Petersburg, Florida
The Lord willing, I intend to switch my energies to Spanish work full-time by the end of this year. The faithful Hispanic brethren of Miami have welcomed me with their typical warmth and charm. They will be my co-laborers, tutors and family in this work.
As a child, I heard my father Wayne Partain preaching the gospel to small Hispanic churches. I still remember the songs we sang, the sights, the sounds, and the smells that were part of my childhood. During the twenty years that I have preached in English, my heart has never been very far from the Spanish work. In the late '70's I worked in the Miami area surrounded by Cubans and discovered a growing interest in my heart. I have never been able to forget the vastness of that barely touched field.
The complexion of the Hispanic community has changed dramatically since 1979. Wave upon wave of immigrants have come from Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador as well as Colombia, Venezuela and most of the countries of South America. The Anglo community has dropped by one-fourth but the Latin Community has increased by two-thirds so that .-ow they are half of the population numbering about one mil,,ion in Dade County alone. "Balseros" are floating ashore daily . . . 1300 last year. Whole communities are 70 to 90 percent Hispanic: Sweetwater 93 percent (mostly Nicaraguan), Hialeah 87.6 percent, Hialeah Gardens 82 percent, Islandia 76.9 percent, West Miami 79 percent. These are some of the prominent examples.
Brethren, these people by and large have relatives in Central and South America with whom they are in close contact. Miami is the hub of the wheel of the Americas extending to New York and Chicago northward, and to Chile and Argentina southward. Like Ephesus in Asia of the New Testament, this is a strategic place from which to spread the word to all of Latin America. On my last visit to Miami I talked to a young Guatemalan who is close to obeying the gospel. He told me that the gospel had really changed his thinking about his former way of living and that when he went to visit his family next year, he was going to go as a brother in Christ.
This is a fertile field. Walk down the streets and you can hear radios on, tuned to religious programs. There are four Spanish stations that carry such programs and their rates are cheap by American standards ($125/hour). They read. They are not uneducated. Many of the schools of their countries are advanced compared to ours. Gospel teaching in the mass media has a better reception among the Hispanics, I believe, than among the Anglo population.
Brethren, my interest is not only in the local work in Miami. Scriptural teaching materials are very scarce. Those that are available are doing a tremendous job. Mature gospel preachers cannot be everywhere that they are needed to help other struggling brethren wrestle with false doctrines and critical issues as they come up but the written word can. It has a life of its own. It can be there if competent teachers will write and distribute these materials. Also, with God's help I want to help train others to fight the good fight. In recent years many churches have been established or pulled out of liberalism and they cry out for help. They need visits, gospel meetings, exhortations to be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the faith. I want to help.
Who will help me? I need to find support from faithful brethren. Let me discuss this work with you. I am entering this work for a long term. Let me know if you are interested in this work.
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 23, p. 709