There is a fairly diverse population of immigrants at Tenth. The SPEAK (South Philadelphia English at Kirkbride) program continues to serve many by teaching English with the primary goal of sharing the gospel. Through collaborations with missionaries here at Tenth, we continue to welcome international students to more events, and recently we held a conference on cross-cultural communication to better equip congregants with sharing the gospel.

The Hispanic Ministry celebrated its first year in October. In addition to our weekly service, we hold a mid-week Bible study, celebrating what God has done and the hope we have in Christ (Hebrews 10:25). We see new attendees every week. Our primary goal is the advancement of God’s kingdom (Mark 16:15). We laugh, weep, and always pray (Romans 12:15).

The Hispanic Ministry is comprised primarily of families from South and Central America. Due to harsh economic conditions, social instability, and the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, some were destitute before starting their journey. Many fled their homes leaving everything, including siblings and elderly parents, hoping to find a means to provide for their loved ones. The trek for many took months while enduring laborious walks over mountains, through jungles, and across rivers with young children. Some were kidnapped, robbed, and victims of extortion. Some were temporarily separated from their family members and were witness to the casualties of others while traversing through foreign terrain. Most came seeking asylum in the United States.

Once reaching the United States, many were transported to a Philadelphia refugee shelter. After a brief period, many were able to leave these crowded conditions. However, not yet having completed the process of obtaining permission to work, they found themselves having the responsibility to pay for rent for their families with no sustainable income.

Despite these significant challenges in daily life, this congregation continues to grow. Sunday mornings often start with joyful words of exhortation via text message like, “Good morning, brothers in the faith! Today there is a Bible service.” Prior to being given a SEPTA transit pass one family would walk with their two-year-old for three hours to come to worship; another wheelchair-bound congregant faithfully travels by multiple buses to come and worship God (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). Several need to leave church early to go to work.

God is indeed rich in love and mercy. Refugees in the ministry pray together and contribute to one another’s needs. They share clothing and baby food and also invite others to enjoy events in their homes. They joyfully serve while preparing meals at times on Sundays and assisting in other outreach events. Some have welcomed other immigrants needing shelter to stay in their homes despite already having very crowded living conditions. Others create and share videos of the joy they have found here at Tenth.
Many families are now gainfully employed. But others walk the streets daily looking for work. Some have not asked for anything, others have needed to be transported to the hospital, or have needed food or clothing. Many times, the requests are urgent. Families are without food; others are unable to pay rent and lack bare necessities like warm blankets or appropriate bedding. Some endure illnesses and do not know who to call or how to navigate the system for medical care. Most ask for help in finding employment.

Despite significant obstacles, many faithfully come to worship God with us twice a week. For most, our order of service is unfamiliar, yet they come seeking to grow in their faith. Recently, many within the ministry participated in a membership class and were subsequently interviewed. On March 17, Tenth welcomed twelve new members from five different Latin American countries as new members.

Spanish-Speaking Tenth members being received by the congregation.
Members of Tenth’s Immigrant community being received as members of Tenth Church in March 2024

Please pray for the many that have been coming. Tenth’s immigrant community is the Project of the Month for April. Your financial contributions are helping to supply for basic needs—like food, transportation, clothing, and rent—and to facilitate their participation with us in activities at Tenth. It is our hope that you will continue to consider joining us as we joyfully bear witness to Christ and witness ourselves the great goodness of our Heavenly Father. Please contact Joe Park for more information on how to get involved.

© 2024 Tenth Presbyterian Church.

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