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Tiny Parksley Spanish Attracts 300 to Evangelism Service

Story by Taashi Rowe; Photos by Ruben Ramos
Published 2/2/2012

Anibal LHansell, Parksley Spanish company’s pastor, performs a baptism.

Chesapeake Conference’s Parksley Spanish company is located in a tiny rural town midway through Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The congregation has some 20 members. How then did this small congregation manage to attract some 300 people to a service where noted evangelist Alejandro Bullón spoke? Friendship and prayer, says Anibal LHansell, the church’s pastor.

“One of the challenges we have is that my district is the southernmost district in the conference, and the closest other Spanish church to Parksley is more than an hour and a half away,” said Lhansell. “So it was kind of difficult to have another Spanish church or district work with us.”

Still, in preparation for the service, Lhansell charged each one of his members to give a prayer card to at least 10 people. Through these cards, the church planned to build friendships with 200 people. The cards told these potential friends that Parksley Spanish members would be praying for them three times daily. Members visited their friends weekly and replenished the cards. The cards, which did not mention Bible study, would sometimes include encouraging words or Bible passages and a reminder that the recipient was on the church’s prayer list.

When it came time for Bullón to visit the area, church members invited their new friends to attend. “We had no idea what to expect, but were excited that an evangelist was coming to our little church,” Lhansell recalls. “We went out in faith and made the invitation, and we prepared dinner for after the service. We made provisions for a 150 people.”

That night, as scores of people streamed into the auditorium, “We just felt that God moved in a miraculous way. He ‘parted the Red Sea,’” Pastor Lhansell said, his voice still tinged with excitement.

“This is the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen,” shared Ruben Ramos, assistant to Columbia Union Conference president for Multilingual Ministries. Ramos, who attended the service said, he was deeply inspired by how “wonderfully church members worked with the community.”

That night four people were baptized. Today 22 people are studying the Bible, 12 of which have already decided to get baptized. Church members hope to have 30 people join the church this year and more than double their membership. And why not? After seeing the mighty way in which God has already worked, “there is absolutely no doubt that with God all things are possible,” Pastor Lhansell said quoting Matthew 19:26 (NIV).

Evangelist Alejandro Bullón appeals to attendees to accept Jesus as their Savior.

Some 300 people, more than 10 times the number of Parksley Spanish members, attended the evangelism service.