We're marking Hispanic Heritage Month with a series about Hispanic leaders from diverse Hispanic nations in the CRC. Follow along on the Office of Race Relations' Facebook page all month!
Here's Pastor Edwin Olguin's story:
"When I started in DeMott, Bethel CRC was our parent church that provided the funds for the church plant, along with classis and local farmers. The people that they wanted to reach worked 12 hours per day or more the entire week. So the ministry needed to be done differently. I visited them at their homes and during break while they were at work. It was difficult work, and I was doing it without a team. There were two people that walked with me during that time, Viviana Cornejo and Alejandro Pimentel, both from Michigan. The challenges of planting a church without resources and without a team are real in our contexts. I still keep in touch with those who met the Lord in DeMott through daily devotions by phone. My prayer is that Anglo churches of the area would open their hearts and lives so Hispanics can join with them as part of the Body of Christ."
Pastor Edwin Olguin is just one of the many Hispanic Americans with a calling to serve as a leader in the Christian Reformed Church. When asked what he loves about being Christian Reformed, Pastor Olguin responds, "I appreciate being part of an organization that is willing to listen and sometimes is willing to give up past programs and in favor of better ones.
The CRC has the wisdom to listen and look for solutions, as well as the capacity to work towards them. It is these gifts that have allowed the denomination to remain stable despite the years and conflicts. I am sure that those same gifts will allow this valuable organization to continue doing the will of the Lord."
Pastor Olguin has also experienced challenges as part of the CRC: "It seems difficult for our denomination to open their minds, their hearts, and their lives for Hispanic congregations to truly become part of the Body, and not just as a foreign and alien body that somehow needs to be fed. I hope that the Consejo Latino, which is made up of Latino pastors and leaders (diverse in age, gender and nationality) can be a way to better integrate Latino ministries into the denomination. It was hard for us when Libros Desafio was closed, because we were proud of that ministry, but were not consulted about the plans to close it. I still dream about becoming one church, unsegregated by language and culture. In spite of that, the Lord keeps being faithful to His children."
Today, Pastor Olguin leads Amistad Cristiana, an RCA/CRC church in Sioux Center that celebrated their 22nd-anniversary last week. The congregation is truly intercultural, with México, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panamá, Colombia, U.S., Canadá, and Perú all represented. Services are telecast to three small towns, and Bible studies are held in four towns, as well as one in the dairies. Their services are translated simultaneously into English.
The CRC Office of Race Relations staff praise God for the gifts that Pastor Olguin brings to the Christian Reformed Church!