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Prayer is the Answer for Allegheny East Spanish Churches
Story by Taashi Rowe
Ramon Escalante, Allegheny East Conference’s coordinator for the Council of Spanish Churches, embraces a newly baptized couple.
When members of Allegheny East Conference’s Bethel, Redención and Philadelphia I Spanish churches knocked on the doors of their neighbors in Philadelphia, they had one simple request: May I pray for you? To their delight, many of their neighbors were happy to receive these prayers. “We offered prayers to our English-speaking and Spanish-speaking neighbors and I don’t recall anyone saying, ‘no,’” said Alejandro Zapata, pastor of the Bethel church.
Why offer prayer? “We were concerned about our community and wanted to help them somehow,” said Ramon Escalante, who coordinates the conference’s Council of Spanish Churches. “We knew the best way to help was to put it in God’s Hand. And He gave us the idea to simply pray. And many church members got involved because everybody can pray.”
Many neighbors freely shared their burdens and pains with church members, who offered to return again. When they returned, church members offered Bible studies, invited their neighbors to evangelism meetings and gave away baskets of food and evangelistic literature. When they returned to their neighbors’ homes, several had stories of miraculous answers to prayer.
Of those who accepted invitations to Bible study or to the “Con Jesus, Si Tu Puedes” evangelism meetings, 45 were baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. While church leaders gave credit to the three churches coming together in unity and working for the Lord, they also know that the new members joined the church because of prayer.
Escalante was frank. “Our past evangelism meetings normally yield some 15 baptisms. But prayer opens doors without prejudice and lots of friendships were formed. It was really as a blessing,” he said.
Zapata agreed. “Offering Bible studies alone only works sometimes,” he says. “But the door opens most often when we offer prayer because I think the Holy Spirit works on the person’s heart.”
The churches are already planning several more prayer-oriented outreaches in preparation for spring and fall evangelism meetings.
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