By Jayna Richardson
Andres and Gail Carranza have a vibrant local ministry to the Hispanic community in the US. But their ministry isn’t confined to just the families in their church and neighborhood—their outreach touches Spanish-speaking homes throughout Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and even Central and South America. How is it possible that one couple can have such an impact?
Andres and Gail first became aware of the needs of Hispanic families in the US during Andres’ 16 years of service as a caseworker for the Department of Human Services. The Carranzas began working with couples and serving churches for a number of years before they were introduced to FamilyLife.
“When we saw the materials of FamilyLife, we knew right away that these were the resources we wanted to use and teach,” said Gail.
They joined FamilyLife in 2014. Over the years, God has blessed their efforts and led them to many people in need. By using FamilyLife resources and a strategy combining events, small groups, and training, they’ve seen God work miracles in countless lives and hearts, and they’ve seen their volunteer team grow to include three other pastoral couples who help to coordinate events, prayer, and small-group trainings. They’ve also trained 13 certified speakers from Illinois and Indiana and have held more than 50 seminars and trainings in over 30 churches in the region.
Andres and Gail organize marriage and parenting events in local churches, marriage seminars for pastors, couples’ dinners, Like Arrows showings, and women’s conferences. Andres also speaks on a Spanish Christian radio broadcast, and they have appeared on TV to discuss the condition of Hispanic families in the US.
Sharing the gospel is a natural part of the Carranzas’ ministry efforts. At a church in Chicago, after sharing a message on marriage, they had the opportunity to have lunch with a young man who’d been struggling with alcoholism for several years. As they talked and prayed with him, he received new life in Christ. Also, at a recent couples’ dinner, the Carranzas included an invitation to come to Christ. Of the 34 people who attended, 19 indicated salvation decisions. They also look for opportunities to share the gospel at local parks and in the course of their daily lives.
Some of the Carranzas’ plans and methods had to change when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Some sources indicate a 34% increase in divorce in 2020 due to the stresses of the pandemic (http://www.psychologytoday.com). The Carranzas have promoted an increased emphasis on prayer in this difficult time, and they’ve adapted some of their messages to speak to the issues couples are facing due to COVID. Topics focus on strengthening faith and relieving stress through prayer and Bible study, improving communication, and resolving conflict. Technology has allowed them to continue sharing their messages and resources when they can’t meet in person.
Andres and Gail regularly collect feedback from the couples who attend their events, and they’re always encouraged by positive responses like these:
“I learned that there is still hope for our marriage.”
“I would [like to] host other seminars to help other couples find healing.”
“My marriage has been in crisis, but I have learned that we can be triumphant.”
Their ministry continually has opportunities to grow as more and more couples are looking for ways to reach out. A pastoral couple from Wisconsin told them, “You are an answer to our prayers. We have been praying to be able to develop ministry to families.”
The Carranzas also recently met with a pastor from Peru who told them that he had been looking for materials to use to minister to families for ten years.
“It was a blessing to be able to provide him with FamilyLife’s resources in Spanish,” said Andres.
The needs within the Hispanic community around the world are great—but Andres and Gail serve a great God who is using them in a powerful way to bring help and healing.