Every Sunday, early in the morning, the Hernandez family wakes up, gets dressed and prepares to make the hour-long drive to serve the small town of Mexia, Texas—a community they pray for daily.
Who knew that a few years earlier, in the middle of planning for his retirement, Jose Luis would receive a call from God that would change his plans?
Out of obedience, his family moved from Fort Worth, Texas, to Itasca, a small rural town in the Lone Star state, to plant a church in Mexia, an hour away from where they now live.
Jose Luis says he lacked experience working in rural areas. Still, after brainstorming with Laura and persistently seeking wisdom through prayer, he sensed a divine calling and embraced the challenge.
“We didn’t know anyone,’ Jose Luis explained. ‘So, we started working to get to know the people in the area.”
Twice a week, they walked the streets of Mexia, and they prayed for opportunities to share the gospel. And every Sunday, they visited different churches to learn about the community.
“We went to gasoline stations, stores, laundromats and restaurants. We used these places to talk to people and start conversations about any topic, which would eventually lead to sharing the gospel,” Jose Luis explains. “If you let them talk, they will tell you their stories and problems. They often need someone to talk to about their hardships.’”
Jose Luis didn’t do this alone. With his wife, Laura, they prayed, shared ideas and challenged each other on ways to share the gospel better. They began to hand out tracts in the different locations around Mexia. Sometimes the family would play music in parking lots.
“We also held up a sign that read, ‘How can we pray for you?’ at a tractor supply store.
It seems incredible, but there are a lot of needs. One day, a lady stopped, got out of her car and ran to hug my wife,” Jose Luis shared. “This woman was going through a divorce and felt desperate and alone.”
God moved people and provided many opportunities for the Hernandez family to share the gospel and provide encouragement for those seeking hope. When Jose Luis and Laura began to pray that God would provide a place so they could continue doing evangelistic work, God answered their prayers!
While sharing tracts at the local Walmart parking lot, they met four young people. One of the men asked Jose Luis if he would lead a Bible study in his apartment. This Bible study eventually laid the foundation for a new church, Iglesia Bautista Alcance Hispano (Hispanic Outreach Baptist Church).
When asked what God has taught them as they stepped out in faith to share the gospel, they responded, “The time is critical. We need to obey the Great Commission. It doesn’t matter where you go. God will always be with you. There are always people to share the gospel with and we have learned that obedience is the key.”
“Another key is prayer,” Jose Luis adds. ‘This wouldn’t have happened without praying for the power of the Holy Spirit to convince and change people and for God to bring them to us to share His Word.”
Published May 22, 2023