Stan is a teacher whose “classroom” might be located almost anywhere in the world. Whether leading a workshop for pastors with almost no formal schooling or serving as a Visiting Professor with doctoral students in high-tech classrooms, Stan’s passion is to help church leaders become more effective servants of Christ, especially in the area of understanding and communicating the message of Scripture.
He writes – I was in Paradise on Pentecost. Really.Barbara sang like an angel. Alberto prayed fervently. Saúl and Rosie welcomed us graciously.
In the next room down the Paradise Baptist Church hallway, Aaron—the servant of God whose vision had led to the experience I was enjoying with Rosie, Saúl and the rest—Aaron was bringing his ministry to a close.
God had used Aaron’s father to begin Paradise Baptist Church as a fellowship group in the home of an African American family in 1944. What has been called the Second Great Migration was in full swing, and African American families were flowing out of the American South in response to opportunities in the West, Midwest and North. Over the years, the congregation grew and engaged in a wide range of ministries, launched from its location at 51st and Broadway, in South Central Los Angeles.
A generation later, Aaron saw the neighborhood around the church changing, as a steady stream of people from Mexico, Central and South America came to the city. God gave him a vision to reach beyond the congregation’s core African American membership to meet the needs of the new arrivals. So, in the mid-1980s, Paradise Baptist Church gave birth to what is now Iglesia Paraíso International Ministries (where even the name is a Spanish-English mix!). The churches share a building and more. A bit later on that Pentecost Sunday, they would all come together as one to celebrate God’s faithful work in their midst.
I’m glad I had a chance last weekend to catch at least a brief glimpse of this cross-cultural/multi-cultural/international/local mission (twenty years ago, we tried out “glocal” as a descriptor for this, but it didn’t catch on!). I was at Paraíso to encourage the Spanish speaking (and, yes, Spanglish speaking) congregation.
I was powerfully struck by the connection they share with Abraham. … (Read Stan’s entire journal at https://www.internationalministries.org/a-wandering-aramean-was-my-father/)