Five years ago, there were only two Hispanic Canadian Baptist churches in the entire province of Ontario in Canada. One of those churches was located on the west side of Toronto.
“What we thought was that on the east of Toronto, there was no Hispanic church at all,” said church planting missionary J.D. Fasolino. “There is a large population of Hispanics here. We knew that. We did our research, but it was actually bigger than we thought.”
Toronto has the largest Hispanic population of the major metro areas in Canada, nearly 100,000 people.
Some of them are Christians when they come here, Fasolino explained. Yet, their work schedules and living arrangements often make it difficult for them to remain connected to their faith.
“They feel so separated from what they used to do, going to church and having a relationship with God,” Fasolino said. “So, even those who know God stop their relationship with God.”
Fasolino, a 2020 Annie Armstrong Easter Offering Week of Prayer missionary, planted a new church in Toronto called Emmanuel Baptist Church East. There, he focuses on reaching the Hispanic population as part of the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) Send Network.
Of the 5.9 million people in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), roughly 25 percent do not affiliate with any religion. The evangelical presence is between 3 and 4 percent of the population, and the religious makeup of the city includes significant Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist populations as well.
“Toronto is definitely one of the most multicultural cities in the world,” said Fasolino. “You can find people from every nation in the world.”
There is a Chinatown, Koreatown, Greektown, Little India, Little Italy and Little Jamaica.
For Fasolino’s part, his church has between 12 and 15 different nationalities represented.
“We have people all the way from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, Chile, Peru,” Fasolino said. “That not only impacts our area where we are, but our church has an impact on the whole world” as these people share the Gospel with their friends and family back home.
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Source: Baptist Press