A DREAM CAME TRUE!
CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF MARSHALL´S HISPANIC OUTREACH
Note: This article is taken from the 2020 Summer issue of the Missionary Messenger Magazine
By David A. Montoya
Our story begins in 2013, when Pastor Mary Kathryn Kirkpatrick shared with me a project the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Marshall was planning to start.
This project was a contemporary worship service and she wanted to know if they could count on me. My immediate response was “Of course! Count on me!” After this conversation I continued my life in Houston, Texas. My family and I lived there for many years and were well established and working for the Lord at Nueva Vida, a Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
After three years without much news from the Marshall Church, pastor Rusty Rustenhaven told me during the Trinity Presbytery Summer Camp in June 2016, that he would call me the following week to let me know about the project Pastor Mary Kathryn had mentioned three years ago. When Pastor Rusty called me, I couldn’t believe it. He told me that the contemporary worship service project had been approved by the Session and he needed me to move from Houston to Marshall as soon as possible and start working on the new project.
I had a full-time job in Houston and, besides, my wife and I had applied for the purchase of a new house which was almost finished. Before making any decision, we decided to visit the church in Marshall to get a better understanding of the project and the proposals they had for us. We visited the church twice and as we returned to Houston after the second trip, my wife spoke the words that I was waiting to hear from her to be 100% sure that God’s plan was the Marshall Church. She said to me, “The Lord is calling us, let’s move to Marshall.”
We began to make all the preparations to move from Houston. We shared the news with our friends from Nueva Vida Church, I presented my letter of resignation at my job, and we requested the cancellation of the house loan/closing date. On August 12, 2016, we moved to Marshall following God’s plan, a plan that we did not know, but a plan we were sure was the best. While we were adjusting to all the changes, in October 2016, we launched the contemporary worship service. It has been a blessing for the church and has allowed us to continue growing and reach more people in the city.
Since we moved to Marshall, I talked to Pastor Rusty and Pastor Mary Kathryn about the idea of starting a Bible study in Spanish. They talked to the session and, after some meetings we started praying and seeking for God’s guidance. It took many months of prayer. We visited some schools looking for Hispanic parents waiting for their kids in the afternoon, we talked to some Hispanic families through different activities we have at church, and we invited all of them to church. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the response we were expecting. Even when we set up a time for the Spanish Bible study and we invited many people; we (me, my wife and both pastors) ended up praying outside the building asking God to continue guiding us.
In February 2018, I had to make a short trip to Colombia. While I was there, my wife took Sarah (my youngest daughter) to the library. Sarah started playing with a little girl and her mom came to talk to my wife; what a surprise! They were Hispanics! God’s plan is always perfect. My wife invited her to join us for the Bible study, she accepted and the following week she came to church. We officially launched the Spanish-language Bible study! After that, I have no words to say how blessed we are; our small group continued growing by having families and people invited by the lady my wife met at the library.
Around the summertime in 2018 we had a solid and growing group of Hispanic families attending Bible study. We then saw the need for a Spanish language worship service. We prayed and continued asking for God’s guidance and, in October 2018 we launched the Spanish-language worship service. A dream came true! We are reaching the Hispanic community in town, we have a Sunday worship service, Bible study, marriage enrichment meetings, Christmas parties, and more with a core group of 54 people, including children. Finally, our biggest blessing is to declare that even if we speak two different languages and even if we belong to two different cultures, we are one church. Praise God!