>Chicago Heights Spanish Ministry: Blessing and Challenge

>A Spanish speaking ministry aiming to plant a church in Chicagoland is being blessed in spite of unique challenges.

“The Lord has done wonderful things through our Spanish church plant to bless a lot of Spanish speaking people in the Chicagoland area,” writes church planter Rev. Valentin Alpuche. “The greatest joy is to see people being transformed by the power of the gospel.”

The El Pacto de Gracia (The Covenant of Grace) group has been growing steadily. Two students from Mid-America Reformed Seminary are currently attending and hope to spread the gospel within Hispanic populations following their graduation.

Although these men and others are committed to the Reformed faith, not all of those who attend are willing to make a commitment to Christ and the church. A further complication is that many of those who attend are illegal immigrants, which presents challenges for the work, particularly in the area of membership. Rev. Alpuche shares prayer requests for the work.

“Our primary requests are that the Lord continues adding more people to our congregation, for the already attending to commit fully to God and the congregation, especially with a view to becoming members,” Rev. Alpuche says. “Especially we struggle with the fact that most of our attendees are illegal, and we pray for wisdom to know if they should be accepted as members.”

Rev. Alpuche and his wife, Betty, are from Mexico and additionally request prayer that God will grant them “green cards” so they may avoid having to continually re-apply for visas.

Under the supervision of the elders at Faith United Reformed Church in Beecher, IL, and under the sponsorship of five Classis Central URCNA churches, El Pacto de Gracia has provided Spanish teaching and preaching since January of 2008.

Rev. Alpuche reports, “Since then the Lord has opened doors for the good news of salvation to be proclaimed to a permanent increasing Hispanic population in Chicago Heights and the surrounding neighborhoods.”

Although many within the Hispanic community come from a variety of religious backgrounds, predominately Catholic, El Pacto de Gracia presents the gospel from a distinctly confessional Reformed perspective.

“All the teaching and preaching we do in our church plant is from a solid orthodox reformed confession,” says Rev. Alpuche, “because we believe that the reformed tradition as it is expressed in our reformed confessions is the most faithful expression of the Christian life flowing directly from the Word of God (OT and NT) as the supreme and perfect norm for our faith and practice.”

A variety of groups meet each week to study the Bible. On Sunday mornings, a class of older children meets and women is currently studying the Heidelberg Catechism. On Sunday evenings, younger children meet for instruction and a general Bible study is currently examining the Lord’s Prayer. Men meet on Tuesday evenings and are currently examining the book of Ephesians.

Rev. Alpuche broadcasts Spanish language Bible studies that are heard on a local radio station (1470 AM) on Saturdays at 9:30 am and Sundays at 1:00 pm. Every month, the ministry sends hundreds of copies of the radio Bible studies to people in several Latin American countries.

“If you happen to know any Hispanic interested in learning the Scriptures,” says Rev. Alpuche, “let us know and we will be more than happy to send you copies of our Bible studies, either CDs or by email.”

The ministry is working toward posting the studies online in the near future. El Pacto de Gracia’s website is: http://www.faithwebsites.com/elpactodegracia.

Those desiring to help support the work financially may contact Rev. Alpuche at 219-577-5881 (valentin1975@hotmail.com) or Clerk Brian Sluiter at 708-372-2624 (brian@lmteam.com).

This article appeared on page 13 of the December 15, 2010, issue of Christian Renewal.

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