A sojourner is one whose permanent residence is in another nation in contrast with the foreigner whose stay is temporary. (New Bible Dictionary, IVFP, 1982; H.M. Carson) In many ways, with our citizenship being in heaven, we are sojourners in this world. Certainly Jesus was a sojourner on this earth, particularly in His years of wandering in Egypt. God has long been concerned about the foreigner in the midst of God’s people and the Judeo-Christian tradition has long valued hospitality and concern for the traveler and the guest. Nowhere is this more needed than in the Hispanic communities of the United States. In response to requests from church leaders in some of the largest Spanish speaking churches in Southern California, Every Generation Ministries is launching the Sojourner Project to establish a Hispanic National Ministry Team to see Hispanic children transformed in Christ through His church.
With the Spanish speaking population eclipsing 25% of the total population, the need is enormous. The Sojourner Project will establish a Hispanic National Ministry providing innovative leadership development training for children’s workers serving in Hispanic churches and create and distribute Spanish language Bible teaching materials for those workers.
We humbly request that you consider a gift towards this project.
The immigration of Spanish speakers into the United States has been one of the most significant developments in the last fifty years. The size of the Hispanic community in the U.S. continues as does its influence. The Hispanic population of the United States has grown to 50.5 million making up 16% of the total population. This makes the United States the second largest Hispanic country in the world. Only Mexico (111 million) has a larger Hispanic population. Over 50% of the under 18 population in the State of California is Hispanic. Slightly over 48% of the total population of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties are Hispanic. Within this growing segment of the population, 68% consider themselves to be Roman Catholic and a growing 23% identify themselves as Evangelical Protestants.
Within the fast growing Hispanic population are a significant number of children. The U.S. Census Bureau cites the following:
Distribution of Children by Race/Ethnicity, 1990 and 2008
The increase in the number of Latinos in recent decades is remarkable. The number of Latinos under age 18 doubled - from 8 million in 1990 to 16 million in 2008 - and moved ahead of the black children population for the first time. The number of non-Hispanic white children actually slipped over the same period - from 44 million to 42 million. Consequently, Latinos make up a growing share of the population under age 18, from 12 percent in 1990 to 22 percent in 2008. They are now the second largest racial and ethnic group after non-Hispanic whites. Latino children are projected to account for nearly one-third of children nationwide by 2030.
Many Latino children benefit from a strong family environment, but face economic and social problems related to poverty, living in poor neighborhoods, and their parents' immigrant status. In the larger Southern California communities, the Latino barrios continue to struggle with gang violence, drugs, alcohol and the negative aspects of the machismo culture.
In the midst of this ever changing immigrant landscape are the Hispanic churches seeking to transform the lives of children in Christ. Struggling with generational language issues, nationalism in a typically diverse Hispanic congregation, minority social status and lack of training, Hispanic churches are asking EGM for help in developing children’s ministry that will impact the lives of Hispanic children in the United States. The Sojourner Project will establish a Hispanic ministry here in the U.S. that will provide:
Þ Innovative leadership development training to children’s workers in local Hispanic churches.
Þ Culturally appropriate Bible teaching resources for children’s workers serving in Hispanic churches.
New Bible Dictionary, IVFP, 1982; H.M. Carson