This is a message given at FUEGO!, the 2014 NavVida Hispanic Network National Conference, August 31, 2014.
Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.
There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.”
(Exodus 3.1-4 NIV)
When Liset and I came from Cuba in 2006, one of the jobs I worked was in the air conditioning business. The job consisted mostly of helping my boss install air conditioning systems, testing systems for proper functioning, and so forth. So, when the air conditioner of the apartment we were renting in Hialeah had a problem, I wasn’t worried; I was confident I could handle it. When I checked the system I found out that the condensation drain tube was clogged.
On the job we use gas to unclog the draining tube but since we didn’t have any gas at home, I used water. I connected a hose to the faucet and told my wife to “let her rip!” Water started to flow and the drain tube slowly unclogged. I felt like Superman.
Then, my neighbor appeared in the doorway. “Hey, what are you doing?”
I said, “You know, I am unclogging the air conditioner drain system; I know a lot about this, because I did this for a living.”
While I was talking my neighbor started panicking and asked me to turn off the faucet.
“Why?” I asked.
He said, “Because you’re flooding my house upstairs!”
Oh man . . . I felt so embarrassed. My faced turned red. He’s telling me how he was sitting on his couch all relaxed and then saw the water running out from his air conditioner. But the funny thing is, God used that ridiculous embarrassment for His glory.
That day was the beginning of a great friendship that resulted in a family won for Christ. How did this happen? God was at work in their lives. They saw our lifestyle and eventually there was a moment when they wanted what we had.
This family is one of the many in Miami Dade County. In the city of Hialeah, 94 percent of the population is Hispanic.
The percentage of Hispanics in Los Angeles and Long Beach is 45 percent
New York and Northeastern New Jersey, 24 percent
Laredo, Texas, 95 percent
San Antonio, Texas, 56 percent
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Latinos are the nation’s largest minority group and among its fastest growing populations. In 2012, the Latino population was 53 million, making up 17 percent of the U.S. population. By 2050, it is estimated to reach 132.8 million, constituting approximately 30 percent of the U.S. population at that time.
But the good news is that God is moving among the Hispanics, and when you see the Father at work, that is His invitation for you to be part of what He is doing. And so, the first thing that I want us to take away from this is that God is not only at work around you reaching Latinos but….
1. God wants you to be part of what He is doing.
And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus 3:9,10 NIV).
In this passage we see that God is not deaf to the cries of those who suffer: “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering (verse 7). Verse 8 communicates His resolution and heart to deliver them.
God chooses Moses to execute this project. The heart of the assignment was to go to Egypt and deliver Israel from the hand of their slave drivers.
Wikipideo states, “The Bataan Death March, which began on April 9, 1942, was the forcible transfer by the Imperial Japanese Army of 72,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war after the three-month Battle of Bataan in the Philippines during World War II.” Forced by their Japanese captors to march 55 nightmarish miles throughout the thick Philippine jungle, only 54,000 of the 72,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war who participated in the Bataan death march reached their destination.
Some of the survivors, known as “ghost soldiers,” then lived in misery at the Cabanatuan prison camp. In January 1945, U.S Army rangers and Filipino guerrilla forces launched a mission to rescue the soldiers, going behind enemy lines to attack the camp. The 30-minute assault surprised Japanese opposition and led to the liberation of hundreds of prisoners of war with only a few American causalities.
This mission to recue these prisoners of war is a picture of what Christ is calling us to do. We are God’s army with the mission of setting the captives free to live for God.
Think about these statistics in the Hispanic community:
Hispanics have the highest high school dropout rate of any ethnic group in the United States (6.7 percent).
Teen pregnancy among Hispanics in the United States is the highest of any ethnic group.
According to organizations like WhyIslam.org, Latinos are one of the fastest growing segments of the Muslim community.
According to The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) 35 percent of Hispanics in America now call themselves born-again Christians. Pew Research put the number at only 13 percent.
That is about 34 million people—and maybe many more—who are unknowing captives and slaves to our enemy. Our task as Christ’s soldiers is to go behind enemy lines and set them free.
So, you know your mission. Your mission is the Great Commission. But, knowing that you are called to be part of the Great Commission is just the first step. It is then that you must go from the hypothetical to the difficulties of reality. Without a doubt, when you take this responsibility seriously . . .
2. You will have a crisis of belief that requires faith and action.
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt? And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3.11-15 NIV).
Moses had a crisis of belief when called by God to act. “Who am I that should go to pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
He hesitated in front of that huge task. He didn’t feel he was good enough for the mission.
I remember in 2000 when God asked my wife and I to go to Guatemala to be trained in counseling and discipleship. We stayed there for six months. After we finished the training we had to go back to Cuba to launch the ministry there.
At that very moment I had a crisis of belief. We had to decide if we would go back to Cuba where there was no freedom or opportunities for us as a family. We could have stayed in Guatemala or even go to the States. But finally, we decided to do what God was telling us to do and we went back to Cuba. We never regretted our decision.
God, through our ministry, touched thousands of people and the waves and impact of our ministry there are still touching peoples’ lives. Last year I had the opportunity to go back to the island and it was a great joy to see many of our disciples now serving God as pastors, missionaries, and leaders of the flock.
Most people have a crisis of believe when called by God.
Am I good enough for this?
Will people accept and understand my calling?
Am I prepared for this job?
Do I have what is takes?
You will have to make adjustments, perhaps learn the Spanish language and the Hispanic culture. It will be costly to you and those around you but the reward for your obedience and love will be greater than the costs because . . .
3. When you obey God, He will accomplish His work through you.
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground (Exodus 13.14-16 NIV)
Imagine the picture of Moses with the Red Sea in front of him and the Egyptians pursuing him and his people. He had a moment of doubt, he was afraid, but God was there and led him in what he had to do. The rest is history
The Israelites crossed the Red Sea and the Egyptians perished. That day Israel was delivered from the hands of the Egyptians forever.
I remember when my wife became Christian. She visited a hospital in Havana where one of her best friends was doing her internship as a family doctor. Liset saw a group of medical students chatting. She joined them, and eventually the topic of God came up. She shared with them how God had transformed her life.
Some of them asked questions, and others disagreed with her as she continued sharing her testimony. She went home and forgot completely about it. Eight years later she received a letter from one of the students, who was at that time one of the best pediatric doctors in Havana, telling her how grateful he was for meeting her that night because the words that she had shared softened his heart. Two weeks after their conversation he opened his heart to Christ and became a fully devoted Christian.
Moses’ history could be your history. The mission God called Moses to accomplish was to deliver Israel from slavery and form a nation. There was a need, and this need was to set Israel free from the hands of the Egyptians to be God’s chosen nation to whom the Messiah would later come and die for the sins of the world.
Today we have a need that creates a mission: 54 million Hispanics live in the United States, and many of them are unknowing captives and slaves to our enemy.
Our mission is to deliver them from captivity so they may know God and serve Him.
The Need of the Hour
In his speech, The Need of the Hour, Dawson Trotman [the founder of The Navigators] said, “Let me tell you what I believe the need of the hour is. Maybe I should call it the answer to the need of the hour. I believe it is an army of soldiers, dedicated to Jesus Christ, who believe not only that He is God, but that He can fulfill every promise He has ever made, and that there isn’t anything too hard for Him.”
Let me ask you: What do you think is the need of the hour for us as Navigators regarding the unreached Hispanic community? Let me share some possible answers to this question.
We need to:
Serve in places where the Hispanic communities are thriving, places like Florida, California, Arizona, Texas, New Jersey . . .
Mobilize labors to campuses like Florida International University in Miami, which has a Hispanic population of 61 percent, and South Texas College (McAllen, Texas) where 94 percent of the students are Hispanic.
Partner with the different missions of The Navigators in reaching Hispanics. Our various ministries need to recognize that the Hispanic harvest is plentiful and the labors are few and that without your leadership we will not be able to accomplish this calling.
Identify emerging leaders, recruit them and develop them as future Hispanic leaders for the network and the organization. These leaders do not need to be Hispanics, but have a heart for the Hispanic harvest.
Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Luke 10:2 NKJV).
Discover additional resources. We need to seek donors who will financially support the reaching of the Hispanic community. We need people on the field and people supporting us on the field.
We need you to reach out to those Hispanics who are captives to drugs and alcohol, pornography, premarital sex, Islam, gangs, and crime. Let me ask you; Are you willing to engage with us on this mission? Will you believe that God has sent us to accomplish this mission by His authority? If so, it’s time for action. Let’s believe!
And let’s do this!