By Al Lowe
Contributing Writer 

Spanish language services now offered in Allentown church


August 10, 2010

The Spanish speaking service that is regularly held at Hilltop United Methodist Church, Allentown, shows a lot of enthusiasm.

The Hilltop Church allows a Pentecostal congregation called Jesus Is Coming to hold their services there Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 7 p.m. This is under the direction of pastor Dan Silva and in cooperation with another Spanish congregation, Lion of Judah, under pastor Joel E. Garcia. Bi-lingual services are sometimes held Sundays.

"This area needs men of God. We want to work with the community," Mr. Silva, 48, of Beechview, said.

"It is an independent congregation that formerly met at Mr. Silva's home. We believe that God brought us together. God sent them here," said Rev. Sue Hutchins, pastor of Hilltop, who noted Mr. Silva regularly passes out literature about his services to motorists and public transit users.

At a typical service on Sunday, July 25, more than 20 participants sang and prayed with great gusto.

Mr. Silva said he regularly comes to the Hilltop Church at 4 a.m. to pray and he felt "real sad" when he arrived at church late one day. It was due to bad weather that his home lost its electricity and a family member later reset his alarm clock at 3 p.m. instead of 3 a.m. He apologized to the congregation.

He mentioned later that sometimes two, three or four others come to the church in the wee hours of the morning to join him in prayer and once he was surprised to see 32 others in attendance at that early hour.

"We have to be like sponges and absorb the word of God," Mr. Garcia told the others during the service.

Some members of the congregations of the two churches later said they had personal experiences where they feel God answered their prayers.

Christian Ivan Jimenez, 16, of Knoxville, plays the keyboard and drums and sings. He also offers music lessons to other members of the church.

His father, Gustavo Jimenez, a construction worker, taught him to play music. Christian was greatly elated when his father, who had been very ill, recently came out of a coma.

Maria Ines Decorrea, 39, of Carrick, prayed for eight years to have her three children – a boy, 21, a girl, and a girl, 17, come from Paraguay and join her in America.

It finally happened, as the three made separate trips to come live with her.

"America is the country of opportunity," her friend, Alma Bahena, 35, of Beechview, said. "It has been good to us." She came here from Mexico.

"Everything we do is for the glory of God," Ms. Decorrea said.

"The dreams that God gives us will come true," Mr. Garcia, 43, of Carrick said.

Mr. Silva's current goal is to speak on the radio so he can attract more churchgoers. "One of our biggest problems is that we can't advertise because we don't have the funds or resources," he said.

He is employed building kitchens for a granite company. He said he overcame hepatitis and other personal problems thanks to the aid of God.

He feels that the congregation's prayers were answered when he was able to find a supportive church that permits to him to hold services. "The church that prays together stays together," Mr. Silva said.

Those interested in helping or joining the church can reach Mr. Silva at 412-812-4793 or Mr. Garcia at 412-448-9067.


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