October 28, 2013

Los Angeles Hispanic Ecclesia

By Bro. Jim and Sis. Jean Hunter

The idea of preaching in Spanish in Los Angeles was conceived by brethren in this area who wished to disseminate the Truth among the burgeoning Hispanic portion of the local population. After leaving El Salvador we relocated here at the beginning of 1998 and began to advertise the Bible correspondence course in the Spanish-language newspaper. Later in the year we rented a storefront west of downtown and began inviting our postal students to public lectures on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. In addition, people frequently come in off the street to request literature and attend classes, so that to date we have welcomed about 860 visitors.

After the first baptisms came along in 2000 we adopted our present Sunday format of a breaking of bread in the morning followed by a public lecture and simultaneous Sunday school, then a light lunch, which provides a great opportunity for fellowship and for chatting with our friends. The Saturday-afternoon lecture morphed into an ecclesial Bible class; we added a second on Thursday evenings and CYC on Monday evenings. We also offer classes for children and young people during our ecclesial Bible classes, so that visitors with young families can bring their children, which they usually do. The demographics of the area mean that the adults need talks and classes in Spanish, while the youngsters want theirs in English. We now have 24 active members living in this area, while several have fallen asleep in Christ and others have moved to different parts of the US or returned to Latin America.

We were sorry to lose Bro. José Carlos Leiva in December 2012 when he moved back to El Salvador to be with his family. We recommend him with love to the Sonsonate Ecclesia, and pray that God will bless him there.

With sadness we report that Sis. Emilia Sánchez fell asleep in Christ last April at the age of 92. Emilia had recently returned from a trip to visit her family in El Salvador. Our sympathy is with all her family, but especially with those in our ecclesia–her son, Bro. Danilo Sanchez, her daughter, Sis. Delmy Castro, and two granddaughters, our sisters Jessica Sanclemente and Paola Martínez. Sis. Emilia was “grandmother” to us all and now sleeps in the hope of the resurrection.

On Saturday, July 20 we witnessed with great joy the baptisms of three of our interested friends at the home of Bro. Manuel and Sis. Celina Cervantes. Our new brethren are Ernesto Martinez (65), who began attending meeting in 2007 after walking in off the street; Celso Arellano (48), who requested the postal course in 2005 and began coming out in 2008; and Jesus Rodriguez Jr. (17), oldest son of our Bro. Jesús and Sis. Carmen Rodríguez and a member of our Sunday school and CYC since he was 7. The baptisms were witnessed by a large group of brethren and sisters and young people from most of ecclesias in Southern California, plus a number of our interested friends. It is our prayer that God will bless and protect our new brethren, keeping them in his ways until the return of Jesus.

We recently held a series of special lectures on the trial, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus and what it all means to us, and were encouraged by the attendance of 6 or 7 interested friends each week. At the moment there are 3 new young couples coming regularly with their families.

After having attended our ecclesia for nearly three years, Bro. David Lloyd has moved to San Diego to be near family. We thank him for his support and his example of perseverance (in learning Spanish!). He will be missed, but we know that the San Diego County meeting will benefit from having him there.

Bro. Jim and Sis. Jean Hunter

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