YANKTON— When Restore Español Church launched in the days leading up to Easter, they became the first and only Baptist church reaching Hispanics in Yankton and the second Baptist church in South Dakota reaching Hispanics.
Pastor and church planter Maikel Noa has been working with Hispanics in Yankton for over a year. Last October he started leading small groups through Bible studies and just a week before Easter this year, Restore Español Church had their official launch.
“God is continually adding more people to the church. During our Easter service we had 47 people,” said Noa. On a normal Sunday, about 30 people attend worship service.
Noa moved to the United States from Cuba in 2015 as part of a family reunification request his father submitted. After living in Miami for a year, Noa and his family moved up north for better job opportunities. He started working as worship pastor at Northern Heights Baptist Church in Norfolk, Nebraska, while attending seminary. When he graduated, he took on preaching responsibilities at the church as the co-pastor.
Noa recalled, “My wife and I started to pray about what God had for us next and we felt stirred to plant a church in Yankton.” Northern Heights affirmed his calling and became Noa’s sending church.
For Noa, finding common ground with the Hispanic community in Yankton has not been difficult. Like him, they are mostly immigrants who moved to the northern United States with their families for better economic opportunities. Noa finds that most families hold jobs working in the restaurant industry, meat factories and the plumbing industry. The Hispanic community is mostly immigrants from Cuba as well as Mexico and El Salvador.
“The main challenge right now is to teach good theology,” said Noa. Many of the members of the Restore Español Church have the mentality that to be saved they must keep all the law perfectly.
“I spoke with a sister here at the church who was feeling very frustrated because she wanted to keep the commandments, but she couldn’t do it. I had to explain to her that on our own strength we can’t be saved, that is why Jesus came. They need to learn to rest in the Grace of God.”
Like his congregation, Noa cannot pastor and disciple using his own strength. “Pray that God gives me the wisdom to disciple their souls,” said Noa.
Published July 26, 2023