Serving in The Bronx in New York City, it is pretty common to hear from Puerto Rican friends that they are moving to Florida, and more specifically moving to Orlando. When we think of missions among Latin America diaspora, we might think of Houston, New York City, Los Angeles and rightly so, and when someone brings up ministry among Latin Americans in Florida, the conversation quickly goes to Miami and for good reason. But add to that conversation, the metropolitan area of Orlando in Central Florida.In 1980, the Latino population in Orlando was around 4%. By 2010, Latinos made up approx. 25% of Orlando. The fastest growing population segment in Orlando are Puerto Ricans, and after Hurricane Maria hammered Puerto Rico 200,000 Puerto Ricans resettled in Florida. In the outlying areas of the city the agricultural industry hosts significant numbers of workers from Mexico & Central America. And Orlando has had a long history of attracting migrants from Brazil.
Orlando is a dynamic mission field. While its the most visited city in the nation, Orlando is also one of the fastest growing urban areas in the United States, and today it is a city that is young, internationally diverse, and on the move. And it is a hub for Latin American communities in the Southeast U.S.