In 1951, a new building for the Chinese Baptist Mission built at 2030 Grant Ave. With the help of the Home Mission Board, the property for this Church was bought and opened on December 22, 1951 when Miss Etheridge and Miss Gillispie Ministered the Chinese congregation.
During Rev. Ray H. Singleton’shis pastorate, the mission became an autonomous church. The recognition Service was held on August 9, 1964 at 2 P.M. with the First Baptist Church as its sponsor.
Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones, Give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
< Psalm詩篇 29:1-2 >
With Rev. Neri’s guidance and prayers, El Paso Chinese Baptist took a giant leap and began a large addition to the church’s structure by adding a gym/ activity center. Rev. Neri saw the need for such an addition due to the growth in the young people at the church. With prayers and many blessings, construction began in July 2004.
Ａctivity Center Construction
Brief History and Church Event 教會簡史與慶典
El Paso Chinese Baptist Church History
The congregation, which today is the El Paso Chinese Baptist Church, was constituted on August 9, 1964.
In 1930, Mr. and Mrs. J.Y. Garbern moved to El Paso and joined the First Baptist Church. They first strongly to spread the gospel of Christ to the Chinese people living in El Paso, the Chinese Mission, Which had halted for many years due to the various factors, was reopened.
In the spring of 1936, It was decided that the people could best be reached through the children, so a language school was formed in the home Mr. and Mrs. Garbern. The first class met on June 30, 1935 with 29 children and young people in attendance. The story Christ was presented to them along with their regular school work.
On the following Sunday, the Sunday school was organized with the original 29 plus 12 adults. The first Presbyterian Church supplied the literature and the members of the First Baptist young people’s Department brought each Sunday’s devotion and gave a social activity each monthly. This was the first home of the Baptist Chinese Mission at 711 N. Mesa, also the home of Mr. and Mrs. J.Y. Garbern.
In 1936, the Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas accepted the mission as its project. The Union sent Mrs. May Robinson to her mission field on May 1936. With her coming, the classes were moved to the basement of the first Baptist Church.
In 1939, upon Mrs. Robinson’s retirement, the Home Mission Board of Southern Baptist Convention took over the sponsorship of the Chinese Mission. That same year the Mission was moved to the former location of the Baptist Spanish Publishing House at 800 Myrtle Avenue.
Rev. Shan Yan Lee of China, also the Chinese-Work Coordinator for Southern Baptist Convention, became the first pastor and missionary of the Chinese Baptist Mission in El Paso.
From 1940-42, Miss Viola Campbell became head of the Mission and was succeeded later by Miss Mary Etheridge and Miss Lois Jordan who were in charge when the mission moved again. In 1951, a new building for the Chinese Baptist Mission built at 2030 Grant Ave. With the help of the Home Mission Board, the property for this Church was bought and opened on December 22, 1951 when Miss Etheridge and Miss Gillispie Ministered the Chinese congregation. They left in 1954 to continue preaching the word of God in Arizona.
The Home Mission Board then sent Rev. Wai to be the pastor in 1954 and continue until early 1956. At this time, the Rev. Cheung Lok-Tin was called and served the Chinese people of this Church. Attendance grew in the church because of Rev. Cheung’s sermons which were given in Chinese then in English. Three years passed when finally Rev. Cheung received a call for him to minister in Houston. He has since retired as the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Houston. Rev. O’Neill came to fill in his place until 1962 when the Chinese Mission called the Rev. Ray H. Singleton to be the pastor. During his pastorate, the mission became an autonomous church. The recognition Service was held on August 9, 1964 at 2 P.M. with the First Baptist Church as its sponsor. Mr. Neil Jones came to serve the church from 1968 to 1969 and Mr. Mike Hegwood from 1969 to 1971. Rev. Joe Stephens served as pastor from 1972 to 1975. Later, Warren H. Fowler pastured the church until Oct. 11, 1981.
On July 20, 1982, the Rev. Isaac Chan, with his family, arrived from New York to become the first full time pastor since the church was constituted.
In October 1982, the church adopted the Grace Spanish Mission, located in the Father Pinto Building downtown, as its project from the El Paso Baptist Association. The following October of 1983, with the co-sponsorship of Scotsdale Baptist Church, we started a new project, the Truth Chinese Baptist Church, 10015 Lockerbie, serving the Chinese people in East El Paso. However, this mission lasted only a few years.
In the first year of the Rev. Chan’s service, he contacted the Texas State Convention and the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention for the release of the deed of the church building to the Grant Ave. Baptist Church for the full responsibility for her own property.
Rev. Chan left Grant Avenue Baptist Church in 1986 answering God’s call to another Chinese church in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Rev. James West came to serve as interim pastor the church in 1986. Even though he was hired to serve as interim pastor, he served with his full heart as if he was a full-time pastor. He and his wife, Bobbie West, were a great blessing to Grant Avenue Baptist Church.
Under Rev. West’s guidance, Grant Avenue Baptist Church became El Paso Chinese Baptist Church in 1989 during the church’s 25th Anniversary celebration. Rev. West left El Paso Chinese Baptist answering God’s call to serve the G/F Community Centre in Hong Kong in 1992.
Rev. James Yang answered our prayers in August of 1992 when he and his family arrived from Canada. He served as the second full-time pastor in the church’s history. Under his guidance, there was a large increase in the number of baptisms and services to the Las Cruces Chinese community flourished. His enthusiasm for working with the Chinese people of El Paso and Las Cruces was infectious. He and his wife, Lily, were wonderful community leaders. Rev. Yang left El Paso Chinese Baptist answering God’s call to serve in Houston, Texas.
Rev. Dr. Glenn Saul came to El Paso Chinese Baptist in 1995 to serve as interim pastor. With his help and prayers, he left El Paso Chinese Baptist upon Rev. Timothy Lee’s arrival to El Paso.
Rev. Timothy Lee came with his family to serve El Paso Chinese Baptist arriving from Las Vegas, Nevada in 1996. Rev. Lee served as full-time pastor until he answered God’s call to serve in Southern California.
Dr. Jesse Bryan came to serve El Paso Chinese Baptist as interim pastor while the church searched for another full-time pastor. Dr. Bryan retired from the Baptist Publishing House in 2002 and now lives In Longview, Texas to be with his family.
In January 2002, Rev. George Neri came to serve El Paso Chinese Baptist church from Northern California. With Rev. Neri’s guidance and prayers, El Paso Chinese Baptist took a giant leap and began a large addition to the church’s structure by adding a gym/ activity center. Rev. Neri saw the need for such an addition due to the growth in the young people at the church. With prayers and many blessings, construction began in July 2004.
HISTORY HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2004-2014
It is an honor for me to work together with Mae Yee Quon, a life-time member of our church, and to be Associate Pastor of El Paso Chinese Baptist Church during this time as we celebrate fifty years of ministry in every corner of the great city of El Paso. These historical highlights are gratefully and prayerfully written to capture a glimpse of a journey that began for all of us in the heart of God.
The last ten years have come and gone with lightning speed as God continues to write the History of the El Paso Chinese Baptist Church. Because we are His church, He has orchestrated every blessed moment of ministry and fellowship writing His story in the hearts of many who have heard the Good News of Christ and accepted the Gospel Message and invitation of God’s salvation.
From 2004 to the present year of 2014, God has been faithful through the ministries of dedicated and faithful servants that He has called upon to serve the Body of Christ. They have come with the full capacity of their spiritual gifts and desire to give God all the glory and honor and praise for His leadership, provision, and prosperity to the life of His church, the people of God. We all owe a great debt of gratitude to many of those who have gone before us.
Glory be to God in the highest. History brings people together and records and preserves relationships between God’s people and His servants. The following is a brief summary of Pastor, preachers, who have served the Lord and His church for the past ten years.
The church experienced a season of building, when under the direction of Pastor George Neri, (2002-2004) and a vision from God, new construction was started for a much needed multi-purpose facility to include a well-equipped kitchen for meal preparations, to conduct activities, events and have fellowship gathering. The new Church Gymnasium became a reality when it was completed in August, 2005. This blessing from the Lord has provided many opportunities for ministry during the past ten years and will continue to meet those needs and more for the present and future life of our church.
In 2003, El Paso began to experience a rapid growth of Chinese Restaurants throughout parts of El Paso. Pastor Neri saw an opportunity to spread the Good News and began weekly Bible studies with different Chinese restaurants after business hours. As a result, several people accepted the Lord and were baptized at our church.
As a natural segue with an increase in numbers of families with children, Pastor Neri started the Faithhope Chinese Language School in 2003 to provide Chinese classes in Mandarin. The purpose of this school served to continue our evangelistic outreach to the Chinese Community as well as help maintain the children’s primary language at home. The school continues to serve our community by providing Mandarin classes for the young children to adults, members and non-members in our community.
In June 2006, satisfied with the completion of the gym, Pastor Neri heard God’s calls to continue his missionary work. He resigned from the church to continue his evangelistic ministry in the Philippines where he and Mrs. Neri currently reside.
In August 2006, Pastor Luis Olan became our interim pastor serving both the English and Chinese congregation until a permanent pastor was hired.
Jody Shu , our next pastor was hired October 1, 2007. He came to us by way of Ambassadors for Christ in the Bay Area. He served our Chinese congregation, and Pastor Olan the English congregation. After year and a half Pastor Shu resigned on June 30, 2009.
June 28, 2009, again Pastor Luis Olan accepted the church’s invitation to be interim pastor until a permanent Pastor was called. He carried out the church’s programs and served both the English and Chinese congregation.
In November 13, 2009, Dr. Chien Wu, a retired pastor from Rosemead, California agreed to be our interim pastor for the vacant pulpit for one year. His focus was ministering to the Chinese congregation. In 2010 Dr. Wu resigned to continue his mission in Alaska.
Pastor Luis Olan became the interim pastor to continue God’s work until Jesse Hur became the permanent Pastor and Pastor Olan our Associate Pastor.
In October 7, 2011, Pastor Jesse Hur became our current pastor, bringing with him experiences from Honduras, Costa Rica and Orange County, Calif. Working collaboratively with Pastor Olan and the Deacons, a yearly theme was posted in the gym for the congregation to visually see the direction and goals of our church. The first theme, Sowing Plowing(2012) ,Watering Building(2013), and Pruning Thriving(2014).
在2011年10月7日，胡牧师成为了我们当前的主任牧师，带着他从洪都拉斯，哥斯达黎加和加州奥兰治县的经验，与鲁易士牧师和执事们协同工作，每年的主题被张贴在体育馆的会众直观地看到的方向和我们教会的目标。第一个主题，松土 撒种（2012年），浇灌 建造（2013年），整枝 茁壮（2014）。
Interestingly, the two pastors are bilingual, Pastor Hur speaks Spanish, Mandarin, and some English, and Pastor Olan speaks Spanish, and English. They are able to share ideas and collaborate in English or Spanish.
As a side note, in the last nine years, Pastor Olan has steadfastly and faithfully served our English and Chinese congregation in his role as interim, and/or Associate Pastor as we changed pastors over the years. In 2008, he started the Wednesday night home Bible Study, meeting in various members home, which continues to the present. In that same year, he met with several Chinese women who were interested in learning English. He used this opportunity to reach out to these new Christians by teaching them to read English using the Bible. He reports that the women were shy at first but as they gained confidence in their reading ability, they volunteered to pray in English and led other women to join the group. They continue to meet every Tuesday morning.
Recently our church underwent some much needed renovations both inside and outside. Outside, a new 8 foot brick wall was built around the front property with gates that could be locked. This new construction provided an aesthetic upscale appearance and gates for safety to serve as a deterrent against vandalism. New plants were added to the landscape after the grass was removed.
Inside, refrigerated air was installed in the sanctuary (2011) and recently (2014) in the fellowship hall. The front foyer increased its square footage by expanding into the old pastor’s office to create a larger reception area for entering people. This summer, the church approved a new construction to create additional classrooms and storage. Construction will begin as soon as possible.
Our Pastors serve a unique and diverse English/Chinese population. The challenge to preach in the people’s primary language has been the church’s dilemma for many years. An innovative way to meet the congregation’s need was to develop a joint bilingual worship service. Technology was implemented into the service using TV monitors that televised the songs, Bible text in English/Chinese, thus eliminating the need to open books. At sermon time, the congregation would go into separate areas to hear the sermon in the language of their choice.
Several of our young youth members belong to our Musical Branches, in which they play for our worship service. A great way to serve the Lord through their talents.
George Yee, our oldest member at 95, remembers the church in its early years in 1931, at age 12, when our then mission started on Myrtle Street. He has observed God’s love and grace in the many changes as our church evolved from a mission to a full-fledged church. He praises God for the privilege of seeing God in His glory as He has blessed our Church.
There is so much more work to be done, as we open our eyes to the opportunities and possibilities of mission and ministry. Let us continue “to communicate how God’s Word is relevant in today’s world. We must not only be willing to meet with God personally and daily, but we must carefully listen for His leadership through the Holy Spirit, and then we must be willing to do exactly as God commands.” Mr. Yee reminds us, “ When Jesus calls us to follow and obey, his calls come with the promise of protection, guidance, and sustenance.”
These are exciting times to walk in the light with God in obedience and in the truth. Let’s celebrate and give God the glory!
Happy 50th Anniversary! 教会50周年庆快乐！
Pastor Luis Olan 牧师鲁易士·欧蓝
Mae Yee Quon 关余美娟