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Perspective - February 2009
Do you ever seriously consider those who have dramatically invested in your life for Christ? This is one of my passions - remembering godly men and women who have invested their lives in me that I might be the person God would have me be.

Do you ever seriously consider those who have dramatically invested in your life for Christ?  This is one of my passions - remembering godly men and women who have invested their lives in me that I might be the person God would have me be.

Recently I participated in the memorial service for Dr. Oscar I. Romo who in 1965 arrived at the Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) to lead ministries among ethnic/language groups in the United States for Southern Baptists.

I first met Oscar at Jenness Park, California Southern Baptist Convention's camp in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, during a language missions conference. He had a keen interest in reaching the lost. His desire was that everyone, even those who did not speak English, would have an opportunity to hear the gospel and respond. At the time, I was serving as pastor of First Spanish Southern Baptist Church in Pico Rivera, a small congregation, excited at the potential of reaching our community for Christ. Oscar was a vibrant encourager.

He was ahead of his time. New words in Baptist terminology surfaced during his tenure: ethnic church growth, refugee resettlement, catalytic missionary, kaleidoscopic church growth, Lazer church growth, United Nations ministry, Ethnic Leadership Development (now Contextualized Leadership Development) and many others. He saw the United States, not as a melting pot, but as a mosaic, with each piece important to the beauty of the picture.

At his invitation I joined the HMB language missions staff. As a result, my love for missions grew exponentially, as I watched the networking, passion and compassion of Oscar Romo. Many times he would travel to Cuba or another international destination and return with an empty suitcase because he would leave his clothes behind for pastors or others in need. That is known by only a few who knew of Oscar's deep devotion and compassion.

I was elected to serve as executive director of CSBC in 1994. At that time he encouraged me to "stay focused and reach everyone for Christ."

He was an influencer. Every SBC agency has been impacted in some way by the life of Oscar Romo.

Whom has God placed in your life to influence/mentor you? If you can, I encourage you to let them know about their influence and thank them for investing in your life. I pray that you also will thank God for them.

Last Published: February 3, 2009 7:17 PM