The small congregation at the Old Post Chapel numbered just over 20 on Sunday.
The chapel, whose foundation dates to the earliest days of Fort Hood, is the oldest place of faith on post today. The 70-year-old church witnessed something new last Sunday. The service was spoken entirely in Spanish.
“This is wonderful, to be here in the middle of Fort Hood,” Chaplain (Capt.) Monserrate Vergara Soto, said, “to be able to reach out to all the post with our preaching.”
This was just the second time a protestant service was offered in Spanish, the first being held on Dec. 8.
“The most important thing is that with this holiday season that there’s a king coming to forgive us,” Chaplain (Capt.) Efrain Rosario, who delivered Sunday’s sermon, said. “It’s a message of hope. That’s what we need nowadays.”
Rosario, a native of Cayey, Puerto Rico, is a recent addition to the Fort Hood community. He started active duty in October of this year. He served as a chaplain in the National Guard for 12 years prior to coming to the Great Place.
“So far, I really like it here,” he said, “I like this wide variety of people and cultures on this huge installation.”
Rosario said that he enjoys active duty but enjoys this latest addition of Spanish language services even more.
“This is a great opportunity for our Soldiers,” Rosario said. “It’s awesome to be able to worship and praise in your own language – to express all your emotions in your own words.”
Vergara Soto conducted the liturgy and said that he hopes that all of the garrison’s residents, regardless of faith or ethnicity, feel welcome during this holiday season.
“Me being from Puerto Rico, I have always prayed in Spanish, read the Bible in Spanish and worshipped in Spanish. It’s easier for me to do all those things in my native language,” Vergara Soto said.
“I think that for those whose native language is not English, they would prefer to worship God in their own language.”
Vergara Soto said there are a variety of faith resources available to Fort Hood Soldiers and encouraged them to reach out to the garrison chaplain team to find a congregation regardless of creed.
“I share the good news that you have a community at Fort Hood,” Vergara Soto said. “It doesn’t matter if your first language is Spanish or English or Chinese.”
Spanish language protestant services are conducted at 11 a.m. every Sunday.
“I invite you to join us every Sunday,” Vergara Soto said. “We are here to love you, to pray with you and to worship with you.”