Western Oklahoma Church Grows with Spanish Work
by: Stafford North from information supplied by Art Nine | October 16, 2017
The church in Shattuck, Oklahoma, is now called the Gage Shattuck Church of Christ because about five years ago the church in Shattuck combined with the church in nearby Gage. Like churches in many smaller places, they were declining in membership and thought they could better work together as one congregation. Three and a half years ago, they were having about twenty in attendance on Sunday mornings.
About that time one of their elders made a trip to Mexico and another trip to Nicaragua to help people in those places, and then it dawned on him that he really didn’t need to go so far away to help Spanish-speaking people.
Because of a local hog farm, work available at Braums, and the need for farm and ranch workers, a large number of Spanish-speaking people were right on their doorstep. Why not start a work with them. In nearby Laverne there was a Spanish-speaking man who was a faithful member of the church and they got him to agree to help them start a work among the Spanish speaking people. He contacted two other families in Laverne who were members of the church who started coming.
Not everyone at the congregation was ready for this move to make changes in the congregation but most accepted the plan and wanted it to go forward.
One of the elders employed some Spanish-speaking workers at his farm and needed a translator. He found that the daughter of one of the workers could speak to the workers for him. This young woman wanted to become a U. S. citizen and he helped with this and she was able to achieve citizenship. Through this contact, eventually she and her sister were both baptized into Christ.
The brother from Laverne continued to bring people to church and the number of Spanish-speaking members and attenders began to grow. The brethren developed a plan that would help those who did not speak English and which also would help unify everyone. When they met together for worship, they would sing a song in English and then the same song in Spanish. The prayers would be done the same way and so would scripture reading and communion. Then those attending would separate into two groups for the sermon and closing activities. Once a month, they would use a translator in their morning service. Every Sunday they would all have breakfast together prior to Bible classes and once a month have lunch together. Twice a year they would also have a cookout. In these meals, they could learn to like their respective foods and have good fellowship together. The Bible classes for the children could all be in English because the children learned English in school.
A Spanish-speaking preacher visiting a daughter in Texas spoke several times and also visited in homes in Laverne spreading the good news of the gospel. His personal contacts were a very good draw for non-Christians. He had to return to his home country, but the church has almost completed their work to get him the proper visa so he can return and work with them.
The church has also found other ways to build good relationships. They, for example, attend school sports and music activities which many of the Spanish-speaking locals also attend.
So far, fourteen Spanish-speaking people have been baptized and others are regularly attending. The total number at worship on Sunday morning has grown to more than fifty. The church in Shattuck has found the Spanish-speaking people to be loving and willing to help. When an ice storm damaged the trees around the home of one of the elderly members of the church, about twenty-five Spanish-speaking members went to her house to help clean up. So members of the church share in service, in fellowship, in worship, and in reaching out to others with the gospel.
Churches from Woodward, Arnett and Minco have helped financially with this work. On the first Sunday in October, a group of twenty-five came from the Memorial Road congregation in Oklahoma City to help build a playground fence for the children and to conduct a VBS which was well attended. In a memorable moment, on this Sunday, the mother of the two daughters who were earlier baptized made the decision to become a Christian and joined her two daughters in Christ.
For more information about this work, contact Art Nine at firstname.lastname@example.org.