A few months ago, I was asked to lead Bible study for men at AD (Alternative Directions). AD is a non-profit agency in our Burton Heights neighborhood. Men are sent to AD by the state court where they are to fulfill court-mandated probation hours. There they live with very limited freedom for several months, until they complete certain probation requirements. The Bible study began with two or three men arriving in early September of 2016. Today, up to 16 men find their way to our meeting room weekly desiring to learn about the life of Jesus. We often run out of time due to our rich discussions. For confidentiality purposes I can’t share names, but I will share a short story with you. In April, five of these men decided to spend their free hours at En Vivo Church for the first time. I shuttled them to our Sunday evening gathering. Then, I watched as these men worshiped God with open hearts and arms lifted. On the way home, one of these men loudly proclaimed, “I can’t wait to bring my family to this church!” This same man has since graduated out of AD and is preparing to be baptized at En Vivo Church.
The neighborhood of Burton Heights is multi-ethnic and bilingual. And so, we strive for En Vivo to be representative of its community. Lately we have witnessed a visible growth in ethnic representation in worship. The presence of Anglos, African-Americans, and Latinos is nearly equal among attendees. We sing a blend of traditional and contemporary worship songs in both Spanish and English. We are continually becoming a place where the unchurched feel welcomed, and believers can worship in the spirit of Revelation 7:9&10, “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne… crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God…’”
Besides our monthly Sunday worship, En Vivo now meets for Bible study on Wednesday evenings. Together, we dine on tacos and devour Scripture. Recently, a women’s ministry has emerged at the request of younger ladies wanting to connect with ladies further along in their walk with Christ. It’s called Juntas: Ladies Together. Indeed, this is an exciting time for us!
Thank you for the financial support and prayers you give for En Vivo Church. As a reminder, you can give to En Vivo through the webpage of our parent church, Madison Square Church. In fact, giving has become one step easier than before. Visit www.madisonsquarechurch.org/giving-options. Under “giving options” you’ll find a link to make an epayment, where En Vivo is listed as designated fund to support. You can, of course, still mail a check to us at our address.
Thank you for your continued support. Please pray with us as we make plans for summer outreach, including an ESL (English Second Language) training for our immigrant neighbors. Also, pray with us for the resources to do Sunday worship at least twice a month. Again, thank you for your support. The harvest is plentiful in Burton Heights.
Rev. Ricardo Tavárez