Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Hispanic church gets building after 20 years in ministry

11/10/2021

Gloria Guajardo, Bishop James Nunn, District Superintendent Diana Northcutt and David Guajardo stand together at the groundbreaking for La Vida en Abundancia. Photo taken from church’s Facebook.

La Vida en Abundancia, or “Life in Abundance,” is getting a building for its vibrant Hispanic/Latino ministry 20 years after its first service.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Oct. 25. Diana Northcutt, the Cimarron District’s superintendent, was the pastor at Laverne when the first Hispanic/Latino service was held. She said the congregation has been very active since the early 2000s.

“This is 20 years in the making,” Northcutt said. “Our intention is to make it a regional church so we can train people at Laverne and deploy them around the panhandle to reach populations of Hispanic folks.”

David Guajardo has led the ministry for the last eight years. He said the church baptizes up to 50 people a year and frequently has groups go into the community to help with home repairs, translation, English as a second language classes, immigration paperwork and other needs.

“We want to open our doors to all people, no matter what religion,” Guajardo said.

The multilingual congregation hosts a Spanish language service and a mixed language service, though Guajardo says people will sing in other languages as well.

“I have two worship teams. They play piano, guitar and drums,” Guajardo said. “I also want to open the doors so that youth can come in and, if they want to, learn an instrument. They can go in our church and learn over there and, you know, use it for the church.”

Northcutt believes La Vida en Abundancia has empowered the Hispanic/Latino population in and around Laverne. She also believes the church’s new building is invigorating other churches in the Cimarron District to find ways to be involved or support the ministry.

“There are so many people who think the church in the panhandle is dying, but it’s simply not true,” Northcutt said. “This is only one example of the ministries that are taking place even in the midst of covid.”

Northcutt hopes that having a permanent location for La Vida en Abundancia will allow the district to send more Hispanic/Latino people to licensing school.

“We were already sending one person into ordained ministry, and I’m getting ready to send five people to licensing school to continue empowering Hispanic ministries in the panhandle,” said Northcutt. “They’re so excited to be in ministry with those who have not heard it. This building is a permanent reminder how strong the church can be when it’s given the opportunity to do so.”

Guajardo said the church is working on a video and website to help promote the church and raise funds for the building. Northcutt said she hopes construction is completed by next spring or summer.

“It’s so exciting. We’ve said that over and over again,” Northcutt said. “God is in the midst of this. Be prepared for great things coming out of this church.”

 

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