[College Place] July 19, 2009
The Upper Columbia Conference Hispanic Camp Meeting, July 17-18, in College Place, Wash., refreshed and encouraged everyone attending.
Featured guest speakers included Bob Folkenberg Jr., UCC President; Ramon Canals, NPUC vice president for Hispanic ministries; Aldo Joel Perez; Dr. Mable Dunbar; & Elloy Espinoza.
Walter Pintos-Schmidt, UCC Hispanic Coordinator says, “While our attendance was lower this year because of the economy, our members are unified with hope and determination to preach the gospel.”
This determination is evident in their stories. Sabbath morning, Joe and Angie Alcoser shared with attendees the exciting things God is doing with their outreach ministry to high-risk teens.
Three years ago Joe and Angie wanted to reach out to the kids in their community, one that is home to a large gang population. “Nothing was being done for these kids,” says Angie.
At first they opened their home to the kids, providing a safe, positive environment for the neighborhood youth. In addition, they invited area pastors to come in and share with the kids how God has impacted and changed their lives.
It wasn’t long until Joe and Angie had more than 40 young people coming to their home each week. “Sometimes we had 55 kids coming,” says Joe. “We had to do something different because we just didn’t have room at our home for all of them.”
Joe and Angie moved their outreach ministry to the Pasco Ephesus Adventist Church where they have over 150 kids coming each week.
This growing ministry is making a real difference in the lives of area youth. “We keep the Thursday night meeting positive and non-denominational,” says Angie. “When kids ask us questions about the Bible or God we invite them to come to our Tuesday night Bible study.” So far 10 young people have made decisions to follow Jesus and be baptized as a result of these studies.
The camp meeting was time of revival and encouragement. UCC President, Bob Folkenberg Jr. says, “It was exciting to be there. It’s no wonder our Hispanic churches are growing. Lay involvement is high and there is excitement for the mission of our church.”