Thanks to a mission grant from the LWML Oklahoma District, Rev. Abiut Fajardo-Ruiz of Cristo Rey Lutheran Church in Oklahoma City now has a new tool for sharing the Gospel with Hispanics in his community: the Spanish Bible, bound together in one volume with Luther’s Small Catechism.
The Spanish Bible with Small Catechism is a publication of the Lutheran Heritage Foundation (LHF), a non-profit Lutheran mission organization in Michigan that translates and publishes Lutheran books for churches around the world.
By adopting the “Faith Alive: Spanish Bible with Small Catechism” mission project at their 2014 convention, women of the LWML Oklahoma District helped to cover some of LHF’s printing costs so that the Bibles can be given, free of charge, to Hispanic ministries throughout the United States and to Lutheran churches throughout Central and South America. Thousands of the 15,000 Bibles have already been shipped to LCMS congregations, food banks and social ministries like pregnancy centers.
LHF sent 48 of the Spanish Bible with Small Catechism to Rev. Fajardo-Ruiz, who looks forward to using them to teach adult and youth confirmation classes to the mostly Mexican immigrants who have settled in his neighborhood.
“There are some challenges in this ministry,” said Rev. Fajardo-Ruiz, who was a Lutheran pastor in Mexico before moving to the United States five years ago. “In Mexico, about 80 percent of the people say they are Catholic, but they do not go to church. The culture is to bring children for baptism or for confirmation or for their quinceañera, but that is all.
“They think our [Lutheran] church is like the Catholic church,” he continued. “When they call to ask if they can bring their children for baptism, I’ll say okay, but we need to talk about some things first.”
Rev. Fajardo-Ruiz uses his time with the parents to explain how the Lutheran and Catholic faiths are different and to teach the Six Chief Parts of the Small Catechism. “Usually they will have questions about the Virgin Mary and the saints, and I explain about these things, too,” he said.
Two new families have joined Cristo Rey already this year and are faithfully attending their Spanish services, along with 55-70 other worshippers. Currently, Rev. Fajardo-Ruiz has six students in his adult membership class and four in youth confirmation.
“My experience here in Oklahoma is that when people come from Mexico and other countries, they are more open to exploring other churches and what they teach. This is a great opportunity!” said Rev. Fajarado-Ruiz. “Our challenge is to make disciples and to teach about the Bible, so they know forgiveness of sins and salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
The Spanish Bible with Small Catechism is available free of charge to LCMS churches and ministries, and to pastors and individuals who need them. To order, contact the Lutheran Heritage Foundation at (800)554-0723 or send an email with your request.