In the heart of South Carolina, a remarkable movement is taking shape, led by Rev. Edinson Camacho and his wife, Lilian. Their work involves building a network of Hispanic churches designed to address the unique challenges faced by the growing Hispanic population in the region.
The story of the Camachos’ journey in ministry began six years ago when they were working with Greenville Multicultural Church, and felt a call toward leading a network of other churches responding to the growing cultural need around them. Rev. Edinson Camacho shares, “God called us to open several churches in the South Carolina Upstate.” Their mission was clear: to create a network of churches that catered to the spiritual and practical needs of the approximately 120,000 Hispanic people in the Upstate region.
The journey began with their first small group in Greer, where they laid the foundation for their initial church, named “Conexion de Fe” (Faith Connection). Their vision didn’t stop there. They were subsequently called to open and revitalize two more Hispanic ministries in other cities, including Duncan, with plans to expand to two additional cities. They embraced the Master’s plan and focused on discipleship and consolidation for new believers, helping believers grow closer to God and closer to each other.
Being an immigrant culture, the Hispanic community faces a unique set of challenges upon arriving in the United States. “They are very disoriented when they come to the United States,” Rev. Camacho acknowledges. Their network’s mission, therefore, is to make the church a place of love, refuge, and guidance, helping newcomers adapt to their new home and daily life.
Lilian Camacho emphasizes the struggles many Hispanic immigrants face due to the relentless pursuit of economic stability. “People come to the U.S. hoping to have a house, a car, and to send money back to their home countries,” she explains. “This often leads to a seven-day workweek, making it challenging for them to attend church regularly.”
In an effort to minister to these hardworking individuals effectively, the Camachos aim to create a culture that values work but also emphasizes the importance of rest and spending time with God. The challenges are multiplied for single mothers with multiple children who must provide for their families, often leaving them with little time for spiritual activities.
The Camachos’ community-building efforts are comprehensive and tailor-made to address the unique needs of the Hispanic population in South Carolina. Their network contains Immigrant Connection Sites, and corresponding connection opportunities where newcomers receive guidance on their rights and life path. This ministry plays a crucial role in helping people navigate their new reality and develop a sense of belonging.
Their church’s discipleship plan includes education for those who may not have strong reading and writing skills. “Some of the people who come to our church don’t come with a reading level from their countries,” Lilian Camacho explains. “We have to read to them and answer their questions.” Providing certificates of completion as individuals progress through the program incentivizes them and helps them feel a sense of accomplishment.
The Camachos also strive to fill the educational gap that newcomers might experience, bridging the disconnect they might feel when trying to understand American customs and the English language.
The Camachos’ work is far from complete, and they remain committed to expanding their ministry and making a lasting impact on the Hispanic community in South Carolina.
In just a few short years, Rev. Edinson Camacho and Lilian have laid the groundwork for a network of Hispanic churches that serve as beacons of hope, support, and guidance for the Hispanic population in South Carolina. Their unwavering dedication to addressing the unique challenges faced by newcomers to the United States is an example of meeting spiritual and tangible needs through faithful ministry.
For more stories of how God is using The Wesleyan Church, visit wesleyan.org/news.