This week, Faron Thebeau checks in to tell us about his new mission work. Faron left the Texas Association to plant a multicultural church in his home state of Missouri. We miss him greatly, but are thrilled by the prospect of great things for which the Lord will use the Thebeaus.
Thirteen years ago I felt the Lord calling me into Hispanic ministry. I had been very content pastoring in Missouri but the pull on my heart was persistent and the Lord began to open doors in Texas. For the last eleven years it has been my privilege to fulfill that call by pastoring Primera Iglesia Bautista Libre in Weslaco, Tx. When I arrived in Weslaco, I did not fully understand the molding that God would have to work on my heart. I had been diligent to prepare myself to speak the language but I had not understood that I would have to learn a new culture as well. I learned the language very quickly, but learning the culture was a long but fruitful process.
I feel very blessed to have spent the last eleven years in the Rio Grande Valley. The impact on my life has been tremendous. I met my wife while I was there and God gave me my children. In addition to these obvious changes, God began to change the way I view culture. It is only now looking back that I can see God was preparing me for the next step in my ministry.
Culture is a hot button issue in our society. It seems that not a day can go by without hearing of some disturbance between generations and races. Indeed, it seems like there is no end in sight to these tensions as each side becomes more entrenched in their view each day. This has a detrimental effect on the church as it serves to introduce schisms in the body of Christ. Martin Luther King Jr. observed many years ago that the most segregated hour in the United States of America is 11:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. I cannot help but feel like Satan is pleased by this division.
It is for this reason that I have felt the call to plant a multicultural church. I was contacted by the Missouri State Mission Board about the possibility of planting such a work in Rolla, Mo. Rolla is a small town with a population of slightly less that 20,000 but it has the highest percentage of foreign born residents in the state of Missouri. This is mainly due to Missouri Science and Technical college that calls Rolla its home. It is amazing to see the amount of diversity in such a small town. On Labor Day I took our kids swimming at the local pool and while we ate lunch, speaking Spanish at one table, the tables on either side of us were speaking Chinese and Arabic. There are many good churches in Rolla but none that has successfully evangelized the diverse foreign population. This is what Abi and I feel called to do.
We plan to use our experience in ministering among two distinct cultures and apply it to learn to minister among the diverse population here. We have chosen the name Mosaic for our church as we hope to take the many distinct backgrounds and blend them together to raise one voice of praise to Jesus. Only in Him will we find true unity. We held our first meeting of the launch team last week and had an initial commitment of fifteen people. Among them were a Guatemalan family, a Philippine, a Mexican, and a young lady who works at the college as a liaison to foreign embassies in order to recruit foreign students. We thank God for this blessing and ask for your prayers as we continue to work to meeting the burden God has placed upon our hearts.