Sitting on couches overlaid with colorful quilts, university students from Dallas Baptist University and the University of Sao Paulo each sang to the tune of "Amazing Grace" in their own language. I was one of the individuals in the room who identified with the Brazilian students, being from Spanish descent; however, I differed in the language in which I sang. To hear voices raised singing in English, Spanish and Portuguese was a beautiful picture of God's glory in both the unity and diversity in the Kingdom of God. The same beauty is reflected in Texas Baptist congregations across our state.
When I entered college, I began attending a bilingual Baptist church in Fort Worth. The multigenerational differences seen within our own congregation demonstrated the beauty of diversity and unity in the Kingdom of God. The more seasoned generation within our church differed from the younger generation in that Spanish is more commonly spoken than English.
Beyond the language differences, the culture that some of the parents and grandparents grew up in was one of another country. The children and adolescents of the church are largely born and raised in the United States, growing in the knowledge and culture of our nation today. Despite these generational, cultural and linguistic differences, we were nonetheless a unified church; a group of people who desired to grow together in the knowledge and wisdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
In a course I took during undergrad on the history of Baptist churches, I took special notice of the formation of the Hispanic Ministry within Texas Baptists. I have seen firsthand the labor and fruits of this ministry within the recent years. Along with its dedication to serving the Hispanic Baptist churches in Texas, the Hispanic Ministry remains a vital branch to the Texas Baptist tree.
A tree has many braches, yet each branch has the same roots and bears the same fruit. Similarly, each branch of Texas Baptist ministries bears its own fruit of different shades and sizes; however, we are all giving life to the work of our Lord, firmly rooted in our faith in Christ.
In all our service and ministries, we ought to continue serving the community, groups and people God has called us to serve. To embrace the cultural, generational and other differences is emitting one facet of the iridescent light of Christ. The important matter is that we are all radiating the love and light of Christ as called to according to His Word.
By sharing the different cultures and stories we each have been given, while working for the same purpose, our Texas Baptist family can continue to grow and bear the best fruit for the glory of our God. Texas Baptist service and fruit will be used to reveal the diversity and unity in the Kingdom of God.
Written by Irene Reyes. Irene grew up in Mesquite where she graduated high school and continued her education at Dallas Baptist University. Upon completing her Bachelors, Irene desired to further her education and is now studying for her Masters of Public Health at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth. She hopes to utilize this knowledge in urban and oversea missions. When Irene isn't in the library studying, she likes to ride horses and gaze at the country night stars.