IMG_1681         Al Arnold, a lay leader, put together a night to highlight St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico. St. Andrew is one of the new starts that are pilots of the LCMS’s Mission Field: USA program, a church planting initiative.

     This church plant was identified as a “Gospel Gap” in the Albuquerque circuit. It is a fast growing area of about 135,000 people. There are no existing LCMS churches in the target area. With no proper Law and Gospel teaching taking place in the target area, St. Andrew intends to bring the true and pure Gospel to the people.

     The target area is divided into older and newer parts. The older part is the South Valley and is established (hundreds of years). The people are mostly Hispanic and Roman Catholic. The newer part is Southwest Heights and a more suburban area and more diverse. In general, after going through the feasibility study of 2014 and the initial door to door surveying efforts, it was determined that the entire area is an extremely ripe mission field.

  IMG_1682   At the event, some of the local businesses and several local neighborhood people helped to grill food. They thought it was good for all to work together for the good of the neighborhood, and they served up over 120 hamburgers and 250 hot dogs. Exhibitors came to the night out: New Mexico Healthcare organization, a local dentist, and a small business owner from the neighborhood. St Andrew had a table for VBS registration.

     For entertainment, the evening of fellowship had a large stage. An individual soloist performed first and then a larger band later. The kids enjoyed three bounce houses.

   Many people came to St. Andrew as they left other events in the area, so members of St. Andrew were able to talk to many people. Al Arnold walked around at different times during the night through the lot where the event was held and each time he had counted about 90-100 people, so he figures that there were over 200 people who attended the event and found out about the new church, St. Andrew.

    Overall, Al Arnold thought that night was a great event. St. Andrew got positive feedback from the community. The night highlighting St. Andrew was a good outreach event. “But,” says Al Arnold, “ we still have our challenges and have to do a lot of canvassing and keep inviting people into the church for services and Bible studies where they can hear the true message of the Gospel that is meant for them and all people. We are planning to keep plugging away and hopefully an event like this has helped.”