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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...



AGTV Video
Connections: Efraim Espinoza

A Growing Church

Efraim Espinoza is director of the Office of Hispanic Relations for the Assemblies of God and coordinator of Evangelio Pentecostal, the Spanish-language Pentecostal Evangel. Espinoza recently spoke with Pentecostal Evangel Editor Ken Horn.

evangel: Could you talk about your faith journey and how you came to serve in your current roles?
ESPINOZA:
I was raised in the Assemblies of God. I accepted Christ as my Savior, was baptized in water, baptized in the Holy Spirit and felt a call into ministry by the age of 12. Six days after graduating from Bible school in 1971, I was installed as pastor of  Templo Emanuel AG, a Spanish church. My wife and I were honored to serve this congregation in Crystal City, Texas, for 14 years. In 1985, I was invited to come to AG headquarters to work in the Sunday School Department. In 1993, I was invited to serve as coordinator for the Decade of Harvest office and subsequently We Build People discipleship office. In 2005 General Superintendent Thomas Trask saw the need for a full-time Hispanic Relations office and invited me to develop that position.

evangel: How did the Spanish-language Pentecostal Evangel become a reality?
ESPINOZA:
During the Decade of Harvest in the 1990s, the St. Louis General Council in 1995 involved a number of community evangelism outreaches. I approached the Pentecostal Evangel about developing a special outreach edition, and that became the genesis of our Spanish-language Evangelio Pentecostal. In 1996 we put together two outreach issues, and by 1998 we were on our current quarterly schedule. It’s been a subscription-based publication since 2000.

evangel: What kind of response have you seen to the magazine?
ESPINOZA:
Out of more than 12,000 AG churches, more than 5,000 report they have Hispanics in their congregation, so Evangelio Pentecostal is not just for Spanish-language churches. One of our early issues featured baseball player Tony Fernandez and caught the attention of one of our missionaries in Nicaragua. He used 50,000 copies in an outreach.

evangel: What is your vision for Evangelio Pentecostal?
ESPINOZA:
I want to see it grow as a resource addressing the needs of our Spanish churches, but I want to see its articles open doors so that individuals who read it can have a personal experience with Jesus Christ. One of the things I’m thankful we could do in partnership with the Evangel has been the salvation coupon in each issue. We get responses, as do you, from people who find the Lord through many different circumstances — people who might never go to church, but find the magazine in a doctor’s office, Latino store, or on a plane or bus, or even overseas when a reader mails the magazine to a relative in Latin America.

evangel: How do you see Hispanics growing within the Assemblies of God?
ESPINOZA:
At this time, we have more than 2,200 Hispanic AG congregations. We have experienced a steady growth in new Hispanic churches and ministries. Hispanics want to identify with their community, and what better community is there than a community of believers? There is an openness in all of our AG churches and pastors.

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Email your comments to pe@ag.org.