Fort Payne Hispanic church hosts sixth annual International Food Festivalcomment (0)
September 26, 2013
By Julie Payne
A bright blue sky provided the perfect backdrop for colorful balloons and streamers strung along tents on the campus of Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana (First Hispanic Baptist Church), Fort Payne, on Sept. 14.
The savory smells drifting through the air silently announced it was time for the church’s sixth annual International Food Festival.
Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana, a mission church plant of DeKalb Baptist Association, hosts the festival each year in an effort to reach its community.
Each tent at the festival represents a different country, and cuisine from six countries — El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, Colombia and the United States — was offered this year.
“They have a great variety of foods” at the event, said Ken Clement, director of missions for DeKalb Association.
Members of churches in DeKalb Association, which included Second Baptist Church, Fort Payne, and Liberty Hill Baptist Church, Collinsville, served as volunteers at the festival and assisted with face painting for the children.
Chris Murdock, pastor of Ruhama Baptist Church, Fort Payne, and a friend of Adel Robayna, pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana, attended the International Food Festival and noted that the food was provided free of charge by the members of Robayna’s church.
“The people who make up the congregation brought ethnic dishes from their country,” Murdock said. “The food was great.”
In addition to the delicious cuisine options to sample, games and inflatables were provided for children on the church’s property.
Participants also enjoyed music and a parade of flags that showcased the countries represented in the church as well as a worship service. Adel Robayna’s son, Annel Robayna, pastor of Iglesia Cristiana Dulce Refugio, Foley, spoke about the Church and used Philippians 2:1–11 as his text.
Clement said about 100 people attended the service, and the sanctuary was “pretty much full.” As a result of the service, one young person accepted Christ.
Adel Robayna, who is from Venezuela, began serving as the pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana nine years ago, Clement said, noting the church averages about 100 people on Sundays.
“It’s really flourished since he has been here. He’s really done a fantastic job,” Clement said.
Murdock noted that in the last 12 months, 476 people have come to faith in Christ through the Hispanic ministries of DeKalb Association. The association also has a Hispanic mission church in Kilpatrick.
Murdock wasn’t at all surprised at the festival’s large attendance, noting that it was “very typical” based on the church’s past events. “There’s always somebody saved and there’s always a good turnout,” he said.
DeKalb is one of at least 27 associations in the state helping support a Hispanic ministry, church plant or church.