September 14, 2023
God is at work through a church plant reaching the growing Hispanic population in West Michigan
One year ago, church planter Pablo Lee started visiting the local prison to fill a ministry need. This summer, two people who were formerly inmates celebrated their baptisms in Lake Michigan.
Pablo was serving as a missionary at All Nations Seminary in Mexico when he felt God call him to plant a church in Michigan. He connected with Resonate Global Mission and confirmed there was a huge need for a church plant that ministers with the growing Hispanic population in West Michigan.
Pablo moved to the area and started spending time in the community to meet people. He struck up a lot of conversations at the laundromat. He led Bible studies at greenhouses and farms for the many seasonal workers who spoke Spanish. He learned that many people didn’t know very much about God or the Bible.
“I evangelized one-by-one,” he said.
But planting a church is tough work. It takes a community to start and sustain a church plant. With support from Resonate and a number of local churches—including Pablo’s calling church, Beaverdam CRC, as well as Borculo CRC and Immanuel CRC—Pablo started Iglesia Todas Las Naciones. The church meets for Sunday worship in Immanuel CRC’s building.
Three years ago, the church started with ten members. Now, there are seventeen members with fifty to sixty people joining for worship on Sunday mornings.
The way God is working through Hispanic families who were nominal Catholics, who knew very little about God and the Bible … through Pablo’s ministry, they’re learning who God is as they study the Bible. They’re coming to receive Christ as their Lord and Savior and growing in their faith. That’s a blessing we see happening.
And then one year ago, God opened a door for a new ministry opportunity. The chaplain at a local prison told Scott Geurink, a Resonate local mission leader and Pablo’s coach, about a need—there were inmates in the prison who only spoke Spanish. He was looking for someone to lead Bible studies in Spanish. Scott mentioned the need to Pablo, and Pablo stepped up.
“All of them kind of struggled with drinking issues, depression, or anxiety,” he said.
Pablo met with them to get to know them. He shared Bible verses with them, and as they showed an interest in Christianity, he started to go more in-depth. Two of them decided to follow Christ in prison. And when they were released, they joined Iglesia Todas Las Naciones. This summer, they were baptized along with three other members of the church.
One of the men who was baptized, Manuel*, is originally from Guatemala. He had trouble controlling his anger and ended up in jail. When Pablo met Manuel, Manuel was depressed. But he was interested in the gospel, and as Pablo and Manuel studied the Bible together, Manuel knew he wanted to give his life to Christ.
That is a great thing God is doing in his life … he’s learning a lot of practical things about loving people and doing devotions.
Now out of jail, Manuel meets with Pablo twice a week for discipleship. He also accompanies Pablo on visits to meet people and get to know them better.
“He asked to be my disciple,” said Pablo. “I do a lot of visitation. He’ll go with me. He says to me, ‘How can we pastor?’ That is a great thing God is doing in his life … he’s learning a lot of practical things about loving people and doing devotions.”
When Manuel was baptized this summer, nearly 20 members of his family joined for the celebration! They shared with Pablo that they noticed a huge change in Manuel's life—for the better.
Scott Geurink, who coaches Pablo, is encouraged by how God is working through Pablo and the church he planted.
“The way God is working through Hispanic families who were nominal Catholics, who knew very little about God and the Bible … through Pablo’s ministry, they’re learning who God is as they study the Bible,” said Scott. “They’re coming to receive Christ as their Lord and Savior and growing in their faith. That’s a blessing we see happening.”
Please pray for Pablo’s ministry and this church plant. Pray for the believers who were baptized this summer—that they would continue to grow as a disciple of Christ and share their faith with their family and friends.
*Name changed for privacy