In conjunction with Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s week of intensive courses through the Hispanic Programs, the International Mission Board (IMB) hosted a dinner for Dallas-Fort Worth area pastors and church leaders on Jan. 11 to encourage local churches in gospel advancement overseas.
The Hispanic community is “part of the current, present and future of the Southwestern family,” John D. Massey, dean of the Roy J. Fish School of Evangelism and Missions at Southwestern Seminary, told the participants. He encouraged all attendees to “be faithful to the calling God gave you with the help of Southwestern Seminary.”
Oscar Tortolero, who was born in Venezuela and serves as the Hispanic Church Mobilization Strategist for the IMB, challenged the pastors and leaders in attendance to unite and send Hispanic missionaries all over the world.
“Hispanics are able to go to places where other cultures cannot go and we need to send our own missionaries to reach the nations,” Tortolero said, while noting there are 7,283 different ethnicities worldwide. “We have the privilege and the urgency of taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to the unreached people of the nations through praying, giving, going and sending,” he added. He challenged the leaders and pastors to consider sending at least one missionary in two years because of the great “need we have in our SBC churches to mobilize and send more Hispanics to the nations.”
Tortolero encouraged the Hispanic leaders with a message based on Romans 10:14-15 emphasizing the urgency of sharing the gospel with the 2 billion lost people in the world. He said the nations continue to come to the United States and there is a vast mission field of internationals waiting for those who will bring the good news of Jesus Christ to them. Tortolero challenged the leaders to ask themselves two questions: “Why do you think God has you living in such a time as this, and how are you going to use the life God has given you?”
He said he is praying for Christians to unite and mobilize to share the gospel. “There is no news more important, glorious and urgent than to share the gospel,” Tortolero added.
The dinner brought together a group of international Christians to listen to the Word of God and spend time in prayer and worship. Dirce Cooper, a Japanese Brazilian opened the time with prayer and the Southwestern Seminary Hispanic Band, whose members represent four different countries, led the gathering in worship.
Amanda Dimperio, director of globalization with the IMB and former missionary to Peru, Bolivia and Mexico, spoke about young Christian organizations seeking the assistance of the IMB to enhance their missionary efforts in places where not everyone can go and establish a Christian presence.
“We must consider how to help lay the foundation to sustain an effective missionary presence and implementation of the missionary task,” Dimperio said. “Only the Holy Spirit can change a heart, but He has chosen people through which to proclaim His message.” She wants to raise an international army of equipped believers and send that missionary force to the nations, she said.