It was my privilege to serve as the presiding officer for the West Coast Hispanic Conference on Saturday, August 10, 2019.
The conference convened at 9 a.m. with a ‘Concert of Prayer’ in the beautiful and historic Templo ‘Belen’ Church in Los Angeles, California. Templo ‘Belen’ was built in 1906 and is currently pastored by WCHC executive council member, Rev. Pablo Jarquin. The church could not have been more accommodating and welcoming to the 204 registered delegates in attendance.
Conference Superintendent Bishop Adam Villarreal and his executive council adopted the word ‘Arise’ as the theme for this year’s annual session.
In his well-articulated State of the Conference Report, Bishop Villareal instructed us that the word ‘Arise’ means, “to get up from a lying or sitting position” or to “go to the next level, a higher level.” The Spanish word for ‘Arise’ is “levantate.” Expounding on Isaiah 60:1, Bishop Villarreal said “that God is challenging us through Isaiah to arise because our light has come, and the glory of Jehovah has been born upon us. We are being pushed to stand up because we can see our communities won for Christ. Our passion must be to see a generation living with the promise of God alive in their hearts.”
He continued by saying that “we have been challenged to arise, leave our comfort zones, and illuminate our communities, defending justice, grace, and truth in our communities and churches, not allowing us to fall or to remain in conformity. Soon, God will do something very special in WCHC. We are going to arise and shine like never before and attract the attention of the people in our communities with our message that still transforms human beings (Romans 1:16). It will be at that moment that we really accelerate the coming of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:9).”
Bishop Villarreal reported that God has been faithful and honored the step of faith that the conference took when he became their full-time conference superintendent in November 2018. He has visited all of the WCHC churches this year and has ‘enjoyed wonderful fellowship with the pastors and their spouses.’
He was also pleased to announce that the WCHC has purchased their very own ten-acre campground. The beautiful property is located in Wrightwood, California. He invited pastors and church members to go and spend a weekend at their campground.
In concluding, he asked for their prayers as they continue moving forward. “My prayer is that our churches of 25 members will grow to be churches of 50 members, those with 50 members will grow to be churches with 100 members, and those with 100 members will grow to be churches of 200 members.
In that no one received clergy credentials, each executive council member was given 15 minutes to speak/preach on the topic of, “Our Time Has Come, Let’s Arise and Shine!” They did a great job and miraculously honored their allotted time.
Following lunch, I had the privilege of preaching; I am always, humbled by God’s anointing. At the conclusion of my message, Bishop Villarreal gave an impassioned challenge to the teens and young adults present that ‘felt a call from God’ to take the challenge like Isaiah did and say to God, “Here I am, send me!”
It was an honor as the presiding officer to recognize the following conference attendees and guests:
- Bishop Noe Rodriquez, former conference superintendent, and GBA member
- Bishop Freyman Valdez, former conference superintendent, GBA, and COB member
Adam and Elvia Villarreal are wonderful people. I have known them since I began my service at the GMC 31 years ago. Adam served on the first Intercultural Ministries Council that Bishop Leggett appointed when we served in EVUSA together. Adam is a prince of a man with a very gentle spirit and a powerful prayer warrior.
Praying that the Lord will give Bishop Villarreal the ‘desires of his heart’ as he faithfully serves this part of our IPHC family. He is a good shepherd of his flock and a good man!