How God is using Hispanics to reach Muslims

August 23, 2017

Many Latino and Hispanic believers sense that the Lord wants them to reach out cross-culturally. Hundreds have gone to foreign countries in North Africa and the Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia and elsewhere to share the good news of Jesus Christ with isolated unreached people groups. At the same time, Hispanics in the United States are recognizing the opportunities here to intersect with peoples from those far lands whom our sovereign Lord has brought to be our neighbors.

In addition, Hispanics and Muslims who have migrated to the United States share several commonalities, including:

  1. Struggle and adversity.
    Many have endured significant difficulties and challenges, pressing ahead for the sake of their families.
  2. Minority.
    Being a minority culture in the United States, they have experienced culture shock, homesickness and grief from the deaths of relatives far away.
  3. The challenge of learning English.
    This is especially significant for those who arrive as adults — learning a new language as an adult is difficult for someone from any culture.
  4. The experience of raising “third-culture kids.”
    Their children want to fit into their new surroundings so they learn English and make friends quickly, while parents also want them to hold onto their cultural values.

The natural response of someone new to this country is to find others from their same culture, who speak the same language and who understand and can help them. Hispanic believers have the same tendency to gather in churches with other Hispanics, being in community with those who make them feel comfortable. However, the Great Commission mandate to Hispanics and all other Christians is to step out cross-culturally, which means capitalizing on their commonalities with Muslims.

Hispanic believers can demonstrate interest in their Muslim neighbors through sharing meals, conversations about soccer, questions about traditions and mutual experiences of overcoming adversity. Some Hispanic Christians play soccer with Muslims, while others operate food banks serving many people including Muslims. Hispanic believers have enrolled in ESL classes with Muslims, and others have visited refugee Muslims in their homes to welcome them to the US. These actions can enable Hispanic believers to develop friendships with Muslims. Through these relationships, God can use Hispanics to introduce Muslims to the love of Jesus.

However, despite the commonalities, it’s not easy for Hispanic believers to reach out to Muslims. Language is a barrier — each one has to communicate through English. With some Hispanics, there is a level of fear. With some, the emotional and mental stretch of getting outside their comfort zone is a deterrent.

Oftentimes, even those who have a desire to reach Muslims feel unprepared or inadequate because they know little about Islam and are uncomfortable answering questions that Muslims may have.

Please pray for the opportunities that God is giving to Hispanic believers in the U.S. and right here in North Carolina. Ask for a powerful movement of prayer among Hispanics. Pray that many will respond to the prompting of the Spirit to reach out to Muslims, capitalizing on the many aspects that they have in common. Pray that Hispanics who respond will receive training and confidently interact with Muslims. Intercede for lost Muslims, and ask that the love of Jesus and the truth of the gospel will shine forth through Hispanic Christians.

The natural response of someone new to this country is to find others from their same culture, who speak the same language and who understand and can help them.

SPANISH TRANSLATION:

Cómo Dios está usando a los hispanos para alcanzar a los musulmanes

Muchos creyentes latinos e hispanos sienten que el Señor quiere que ellos hagan un alcance que cruce barreras culturales. Cientos han ido a países extranjeros en África del Norte y al Medio Oriente, Asia Central, Asia del Sur y otros lugares a proclamar las Buenas Nuevas a pueblos no alcanzados aislados. Al mismo tiempo, los hispanos en los EE.UU. están reconociendo las oportunidades que hay aquí para encontrarse con personas de esos países lejanos a quienes nuestro soberano Dios ha traído a nuestros vecindarios.

Además, los hispanos y musulmanes que han emigrado a los EE.UU. tienen varias similitudes, incluyendo:

  1. Luchas y adversidades.
    Muchos han sufrido dificultades y desafíos importantes, pero han seguido adelante por el bien de sus familias.
  2. Minoría.
    Por ser una cultura minoritaria en los EE.UU., ellos han experimentado un choque cultural, extrañan su país y sufren la pena de familiares que mueren lejos.
  3. El desafío de aprender inglés.
    Esto es especialmente significante para aquellos que llegan como adultos, aprender un nuevo idioma como un adulto es difícil para alguien de cualquier otra cultura.
  4. La experiencia de criar “hijos de una tercera cultura.”
    Sus hijos quieren adaptarse con rapidez a su nuevo ambiente para aprender inglés y hacer amistades, mientras que los padres también quieren que ellos mantengan los valores de su cultura.

La reacción natural de alguien nuevo en este país es buscar a otros de su misma cultura, que hable el mismo idioma y que lo entiendan y lo ayuden. Los creyentes hispanos tienen esa misma tendencia al reunirse en las iglesias con otros hispanos. Estar en comunidad con aquellos que los hacen sentir cómodos. Sin embargo, la Gran Comisión manda que los hispanos y todo cristiano salga para cruzar las barreras culturales, lo cual significa aprovechar lo que tienen en común con los musulmanes.

Los creyentes hispanos pueden demostrar interés en sus vecinos musulmanes comiendo juntos, conversando acerca del fútbol, preguntando de sus tradiciones, y hablando de experiencias mutuas al superar la adversidad. Creyentes hispanos ya están jugando el fútbol con musulmanes, y otros reparten comida a muchos que incluyen a musulmanes. Algunos se han enlistado en clases de inglés para amistarse con musulmanes, y otros visitan a refugiados en sus hogares. Estas actividades pueden facilitar que los creyentes hispanos desarrollen amistades con los musulmanes. Por medio de estas relaciones Dios puede usar a los hispanos para llevar el amor de Jesús a los musulmanes.

Sin embargo, a pesar de las similitudes, no es fácil para los creyentes hispanos alcanzar a los musulmanes. El idioma es una barrera, cada uno tiene que comunicarse en inglés. Algunos hispanos sienten un poco de temor.  La tensión emocional y mental de salirse de su zona de comodidad es un impedimento entre algunos. Con frecuencia incluso aquellos que tienen el deseo de alcanzar a los musulmanes se sienten inadecuados o no se sienten preparados porque saben poco acerca del islam y no se sienten cómodos al contestar preguntas que los musulmanes puedan tener.

Por favor, ore por las oportunidades que Dios está dándoles a los creyentes hispanos en los EE.UU. y más exactamente aquí en Carolina del Norte. Pida al Señor un movimiento poderoso de oración entre los hispanos. Ore que muchos respondan a la urgencia del Espíritu para alcanzar a los musulmanes, aprovechando los muchos aspectos que ellos tienen en común. Ore que los hispanos que respondan reciban preparación e interactúen con confianza con los musulmanes. Interceda por los musulmanes perdidos, y pida que el amor de Jesús y la verdad del evangelio brille mediante los cristianos hispanos.

Editor’s Note: John Davenport serves on  the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s Strategic Focus Team as strategy coordinator for the Triangle.

Nota del editor: John Davenport se unió a la Convención Bautista Estatal de Carolina del Norte en julio de 2017 como coordinador estratégico para el Triángulo.


by John Davenport 
/  Strategic Focus Team  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

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