“For years, we made really good money,” says Carlos, whose family
owned a successful computer company. “We traveled all around the world. But
after a while, again and again, I had the same feeling of emptiness. I tried to
fill this emptiness by working 20 hours a day seven days a week.”
But it wasn’t until he met a Southern Baptist missionary who was starting a
church in his neighborhood that Carlos began to realize he was empty
Over the next year, the two families became friends, sharing meals together
regularly. During a Saturday morning breakfast at a restaurant in Santiago,
Carlos prayed with the missionary pastor to receive Christ as his Lord and
That missionary’s work has been multiplied through Carlos and his ministry
here in the North American mission field. Carlos’s prayerful commitment to
Christ was the first step on a journey that has since taken him and his family
from South America to South Carolina, Indiana, and now Kentucky to help start
Southern Baptist churches.
“I am a Christian because Southern Baptist missionaries from South Carolina
went to Chile to bring the gospel to our people,” Carlos says.
Now Carlos is the missionary.
Carlos serves Hispanic and other ethnic communities throughout
Kentucky—focusing on starting language church-type ministries and providing
oversight and coordination to language and ethnic work across Kentucky. “Most
of our work is among Hispanic and Korean people,” says Carlos. In his role
Carlos is learning where ethnic-language groups live in the state and starting
new works in those areas.
Carlos continues the multiplication process by identifying and equipping new
leaders within the Hispanic community. Four years ago he helped start the
Hispanic Baptist Bible Institute for the purpose of training Hispanic church
planters and pastors. Currently, 50 students—representing nearly every
Spanish-speaking country—are enrolled in the two-year program. After graduation
some will pastor existing churches and others will go on to start new
“Right now we are reaching only 5 percent of the Hispanic population in
Kentucky,” says Carlos. “We need to reach all of them, but we need more trained
Kentucky’s emphasis on Hispanics has gradually evolved over the past decade.
In the early 1990s most of the Hispanic ministry was geared toward seasonal
migrant workers who came to work in tobacco or on horse farms. However,
Hispanics increasingly are pursuing permanent jobs in all areas of industry.
And that means more and more Hispanic families are migrating to the U.S. and
“Not too many years ago, we had churches that closed during the winter
because there was no one to attend services. Now we have services all year long
and are beginning to grow congregations with roots in the community.”
Because of the growth in the Hispanic community, Kentucky Baptists have seen
an increase in church plants. With more than 70 churches and missions in the
state, they continue to plant one Hispanic church a month.
“This influx of people from a different culture opens the door to missions
and is an opportunity for Kentucky Baptists to be part of the Great Commission
by telling them the good news of salvation,” Carlos says.
Carlos asks Southern Baptists to be in prayer for the immigration status of
many church members. No Hispanic family is left untouched by this situation.
Carlos also is praying for God to raise up more pastors and leaders to join him
in reaching Hispanic communities with the gospel. “I could start 20 churches
tomorrow if I had the leaders. The harvest is ready, please pray for people to
come and share the gospel.”
Carol Pipes is editor of On Mission. Additional reporting by Joe
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC