By Harold Tabor
The world in which we live is an ever shrinking globe. This process of the world getting smaller has accelerated in the twentieth century largely by advances in international travel and communication media. Radio messages can be transmitted anywhere around the world in a matter of seconds. Television via Telstar transmits live coverage of news events. Aircraft transport more people at an increasing rate of speed and number of available flights.
Every Christian recognizes that all men are created “in the image of God” and yet man is in bondage to sin of every thought of the imagination. Before the Lord ascended into heaven, He gave the church a command to evangelize the world. Matthew 28:18-20 has often been called the “marching orders of the Church.” Every Christian should be reminded that men are “the offspring of God” (Acts 17:28) and that men are divided into two classes: the saved and the lost. He must also realize that he has the responsibility of taking the gospel to all men everywhere. This means men “of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Rev. 5:9). There is also a sense of urgency. Our lives are short and truly “the harvest indeed is plenteous, but the laborers are few” (Matt. 9:37).
We should be well aware that English is the most common language of the world.” This is especially true of Christians. We have English-speaking missionaries in Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, Norway, England, Africa and perhaps others. It would be wonderful if we had English as the language of the world and missionaries in every country. However, we do not. Besides this, Spanish is spoken almost as widely as English.
There are some twenty countries in the world where Spanish is the language of almost all of its citizens. Eighteen of these are Latin American republics plus the commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the nation of Spain. In these countries alone, there are well over 200 million native Spanish-speaking inhabitants. The United States has about ten million people whose native language is Spanish. Many of these live in Florida and Texas. The general use of Spanish as a second language is increasing. One estimate states that by the year 2000 A.D., 22 million Americans will speak Spanish.
There are many millions of people who have some knowledge of Spanish through school, self study programs, travel or personal contact in the neighborhood. There are many linguistic similarities to Portuguese, Italian and French which make it attractive as a second language for many people of the world. Even native English-speaking people can usually get the idea of a written paragraph. Spanish is an “easy language” because its pronunciation is simple or similar to English. The grammar is also relatively regular and uncomplicated. Many college students choose Spanish for their language requirement.
The point is this: With the exception of the Spanish works in Florida and along the Mexican-American border, conservative brethren have had only a couple of foreign missionaries in Spanish-speaking countries. If the Latin American Republics continue to grow at the present rate, it is estimated that there will be 600 million people by 2000 A.D. Mexico alone is expected to have over 70 million people by 1980 A.D. If these estimates are realized then the potential of Spanish as a world language is most impressive and our missionary efforts need to be awakened toward the vast number of people without Christ in these areas.
I pray that some elderships will investigate the possibilities of doing work among the Spanish-speaking people of the world, for “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29:18). I also pray that there will be a number of gospel preachers or Christian families who will prepare themselves by learning Spanish and join those now working among the Spanish-speaking people. “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth laborers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:38).
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XVI: 28, pp. 12-19
May 18, 1972