Latino Evangelistic Ministries came into being as a result of several factors. In a sovereign way the Lord brought together people and churches to meet the need of the burgeoning Latino population in Southern California. In Los Angeles Avenue 54 Bible Chapel had a group of Latinos who met in their facility. The elders saw the need of someone who could come to minister to those people in Spanish and help them develop as a church. Regular prayer was made for someone to help in the Spanish work.
Meanwhile in 1978 Richard and Nancye Yarrall returned from Colombia to their homeland, New Zealand, for a brief furlough. (The Yarralls had been missionaries in Colombia since 1970.) That brief furlough turned into a period of two years as soon after they arrived in New Zealand the Colombian government cancelled their permission to return. During that time a news clip on the Cubans who were leaving Cuba on anything that would float caught the Yarralls’ attention and made them aware of the need of all the Latinos who were leaving Latin America looking for a new way of life in other countries. At that moment a vision was born of the Yarralls coming to the USA to minister to Latinos, in bringing the gospel to them and seeing men and women equipped to return to their homelands in Latin America as messengers of the gospel. With that vision two things took place, the Yarralls realized that the next step in life would be to enter North America to work with the Latinos and soon after that the Colombian government granted permission to return to Colombia. The Yarralls returned to Colombia for another term but believing the next step in life would be to work among the Latinos in the USA.
The aim of the Yarralls was to work in Miami, but that didn’t work out due to problems with an attorney in Florida. However, along the way the Yarralls received a letter from a brother in Los Angeles inviting them to come and work among the Latinos of Southern California. That invitation was like the call that Paul had of “the man of Macedonia” (Acts 16:6-10). Richard and Nancye believed through that invitation the Lord called them to Los Angeles. Richard and Nancye came to the Los Angeles in 1989 and commenced working with the Latino community. Emmaus Bible Correspondence courses were used as a means of reaching Latinos with the gospel and then teaching them the Bible. As time went on the opportunity came to preach by radio and reach even more Latinos with the gospel. During that initial period the Yarralls commenced working with the Spanish group at Ave 54 Bible Chapel. With a growing work the elders at Ave 54 Bible Chapel along with Richard saw the need to incorporate, and so Latino Evangelistic Ministries was founded in 1992, as an evangelistic tool to serve the Lord among Latinos. LEM also gave a platform to be able to present the gospel and teach the Bible among Spanish speaking people in Southern California and beyond by way of people, literature and radio.