WEEK OF PRAYER: Hispanic church's 'miracle' partnership

EDITOR'S NOTE: This year's Week of Prayer for International Missions in the Southern Baptist Convention is Dec. 2-9 with the theme "Every Church. Every Nation." The theme undergirds the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. The offering, in tandem with Cooperative Program gifts from Southern Baptist churches, supports international workers in seeking to fulfill the Great Commission. Gifts to the Lottie Moon offering are received through local Southern Baptist churches or online at IMB.org/lmco, where there are resources to promote the offering. This year's goal is $160 million.

JACKSON, Tenn. (BP) -- Daniel Tuchez remembers the day he got the call. The International Mission Board's director of Hispanic mobilization called and said, "I need you to pray about this city in Southeast Asia, because it is going to be opening up, and maybe there are opportunities,'" recalled Tuchez, who serves as pastor of Iglesia Bautista El Shaddai in Jackson, Tenn.

Daniel Tuchez, who serves as pastor of Iglesia Bautista El Shaddai in Jackson, Tenn., is known to be "very good at mobilizing other pastors and giving them a vision," according to IMB mission mobilizers, who have partnered with Tuchez. A native of Guatemala, Tuchez has a heart to take the Gospel to people in hard-to-reach places.
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It was a big deal. But the call itself wasn't a surprise. In the years before, Tuchez had accompanied IMB's Jason Carlisle on many trips.

"The very big blessing is that Jason is not just challenging us to go to Latin America," said Tuchez, who is originally from Guatemala. "He wants us to be cross-cultural people who reach people in the last frontier."

So Carlisle encouraged Tuchez and offered him training through the IMB, and Tuchez started going on trips to the other side of the globe, partnering with IMB workers in different parts of Southeast Asia. Then Tuchez started encouraging other Hispanic pastors to go too -- he's taken pastors from several states with him over the years. "He has a real calling and a burden for Asia," Carlisle said. "He's very good at mobilizing other pastors and giving them a vision."

Therefore, four years ago when IMB worker Edwin Feather* set out to plant churches in every part of a large city in Southeast Asia, Tuchez was there. His team wasn't just the first Hispanic missions team to come partner with the IMB worker there -- it was the first team, period. And in the years since, they have seen God do amazing things. Six pastors travel to the city each December and host a Christmas party for the children and perform outreach in the different neighborhoods.

The people of Southeast Asia have worked their way into the heart of Daniel Tuchez, pastor of Iglesia Bautista El Shaddai in Jackson, Tenn., as he has taken trips to partner with International Mission Board church planters there.
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One of the Hispanic churches adopted an orphanage, offering to provide food for the children and support for the two young Bible institute graduates who cared for them. But there was a catch -- the church wanted the orphanage to be used for church planting.

So far, it has produced three churches. And in this tough-to-reach city, more than 200 have professed faith in areas of the city where the Gospel hadn't appeared to prosper.

"God is moving Hispanics to America so that they can know Him, then He is mobilizing them to go on mission to the world," Tuchez said. "He is using our church to reach Tennessee and plant churches here, but he is also using us to reach Asia. God is wonderful, and we are thankful for what He has done. It really is a miracle."

Carlisle said Tuchez's passion and investment have been a major boost for Feather's work in Southeast Asia. "Daniel has been running with it," Carlisle said. "He caught the vision, and that's making a difference."

Pray for

-- IMB workers and churches to continue to form partnerships to take the hope of Christ to unreached people all over the world.

-- God to continue to call up Hispanic churches to engage the world with the Gospel.

*Name changed.

IMB staff released this story. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally.
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