Hispanic Ministry

A Vision for Mexico

In 2002 Loren and Donna Yoder and Lenn and Debbie Miller each approached DNI about work in Mexico. They had a similar idea–an orphanage and church plant. The Yoders had more interest in the church plant and the Millers in the orphanage. At that time, neither family knew each other, nor had any idea of their similar visions. The board sensed God’s leading hand at work and approved the formation of a new ministry team in Mexico.

The Millers moved down in 2003 and began language study while the Yoders waited for their house to sell. After the Millers finished language study, the Yoders moved down and started their year of language while the Millers started looking for property for the orphanage. A property was purchased and construction began. At the beginning of 2006, the orphanage opened its doors and received its first child. Around the same time, the Yoders began holding church services in their living room. 

Light of Hope Orphanage - Choix, Mexico

As the years have passed, the Light of Hope Orphanage team has grown considerably. There are now over 10 single staff and 2 couples that serve at the orphanage. The orphanage has its own Christian school, various agricultural projects, and a well drilling rig. The orphanage’s vision is to provide genuine care for hurting children, equip them with educational skills needed for life, and help some find a forever home through adoption.

In 2019, the orphanage oversight was transferred from DNI to the Voluntary Ministries Board, another BMA entity. The ministry of the orphanage seems to fit better under their vision to provide VS opportunities for young people. 

Iglesia Seguidores de Cristo - Choix, Mexico

The church plant that started in the Yoders’ living room eventually became an established church in Choix under the name of Seguidores de Cristo (Followers of Christ). Another sister church was also established in a small village 25 minutes away from Choix. Local leadership was eventually installed in both churches and in 2020, the Yoder family returned to the States–15 years after they had moved to Mexico. The churches are no longer under the direct oversight of DNI, but DNI continues to provide mentoring and input for the local leaders.

DNI’s continued vision for Mexico

DNI continues to have a vision for Mexico, and is seeking God’s will about the next step. The vision is to partner with the churches that were planted to continue spreading the Gospel across Mexico. We are exploring the possibility of launching another church planting team in partnership with the local church, Seguidores de Cristo. In this exploratory phase, a vision is emerging for Veracruz, Mexico among unreached indigenous peoples.

Iglesia Palabra de Vida - Harrisburg, PA

Meanwhile, a vision for Hispanic church planting in the United States is gaining momentum. It was back in 2010 that Rod and Christa Schwartz and family moved to Harrisburg, PA after serving with the DNI church plant in Mexico for nearly three years. They bought a house in the heart of a large Hispanic population in Harrisburg, PA which also happened to be the area with the highest crime rate in the city. When asked if they planned to start a church, Rod confidently said that was not in their plans. But God had something different in mind!

After seeing the spiritual needs in their neighborhood and recognizing their need for help, the Schwartzs followed God’s leading to start Urban Lighthouse Ministries in 2014. ULM started out as a kid’s Bible club and community outreach project and as God continued to move, a Sunday evening Bible study emerged with their Hispanic neighbors. This eventually became a Sunday church service after several ladies came to faith and Palabra de Vida was born.

Around the same time, some of the Hispanic mothers started asking Christa, who was homeschooling their five children, if she would homeschool their children as well. The local school was one of the worst in the state, where drugs and violence were commonplace. A few years later in 2016, through a series of miracles and unexpected twists and turns, Lighthouse Christian Academy opened its doors to meet the educational needs of their Hispanic community. Today, their vision is to help start more Christian schools that serve Hispanic church plants in the US.
The church plant, Palabra de Vida, has continued to grow and in 2023, two Hispanic brothers were licensed to serve on the church leadership team.

Iglesia Vida en Cristo - Corona, NY

It was in the middle of the COVID pandemic that Iglesia Vida en Cristo was born in Corona, NY. Being one of the pandemic hotspots, the already existing church, Life in Christ Mennonite Church, was able to meet the urgent needs through food boxes from Blessings of Hope and Christian Aid Ministries. The majority of the thousands of contacts that were established in the community were Hispanic, and many were asking for spiritual help.

Ian and Marci Miller, who had moved to NYC to serve on the DNI Admin team, felt a burden to meet the need. Ian spoke fluent Spanish, having grown up in Mexico as the oldest of the Miller family at Light of Hope. He and Marci had served a couple years in Harrisburg with Rod & Christa at Iglesia Palabra de Vida and their experience gave them an even greater vision for the Hispanic community of Corona. Life in Christ had a vision for years to reach into the Hispanic community and Henry & Deb Blank had started a Bible study in their living room a few years earlier. Deb spoke fluent Spanish, having grown up in Honduras. These pieces came together and in the height of the COVID pandemic, Iglesia Vida en Cristo opened its doors. The church continues to grow and has a vision to reach the predominantly Hispanic population of Corona, NY.

Iglesia Vida Abundante en Cristo - Bradenton, FL

Bob and Myreya Miller prayed for a house in the Sarasota area that would be close to their children and in a Hispanic neighborhood. In 2021 the Lord answered both requests in Bradenton, FL. Having been involved in church planting across Latin America for many years, they felt a burden for their Hispanic neighbors. Through much prayer, a church plant was born. Michael & Tiffany Hoover moved to the community to help and Iglesia Vida Abundante en Cristo was born in 2023.

Concilio de Iglesias Biblicas Anabautistas (CIBA)

It was in 2021 that Bob Miller, Rod Schwartz, Allen Roth, Ruben Miller, and Ian Miller met for the first time to officially establish a Hispanic advisory committee. The purpose of this committee was to provide advice and direction to the Hispanic church plants that were emerging in the United States. This was formed with the blessing of the BMA Council of Overseers, who saw wisdom in forming a separate alliance of Hispanic churches. The advisory committee eventually became more established and in 2023 officially became the Concilio de Iglesias Biblicas Anabautistas (Council of Biblical Anabaptist Churches), with 3 charter member congregations–Iglesia Vida Abundante en Cristo in Bradenton, FL, Iglesia Palabra de Vida in Harrisburg, PA, and Iglesia Vida en Cristo in Corona, NY.

The vision is to see a network of mutually accountable Hispanic congregations, with a conservative Anabaptist hermeneutic, spread across the United States and possibly throughout Latin America.

For more information about the vision for Hispanic church planting, please contact us and we will put you in touch with the right person.

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