The Hales' Story

"We have been members of First Baptist Church Duluth for a little more than a year; transitioning from our previous church which we were members for 25 years. A multicultural church is not what we were looking for and was not what drew us to the church. We were drawn by the people who immediately reached out to us and welcomed us. We loved the music and the presence of the Holy Spirit during worship. We quickly grew to respect Dr. Hearn as a mission minded pastor who lives what he preaches and is highly visible in various activities.

We joined without knowing much about the multicultural vision Dr. Hearn has. Yet, we knew this to be a church that is following the will of God. One Sunday during communion, the message was translated into four languages for everyone in the service to hear. While I did not understand one word of Korean, Spanish, or Gujarati (an Indian dialect), I did understand that the message was the same, no matter what language was spoken. We all worship the same God!

After joining the church we attended a new members’ class led by our associate pastor along with a Korean ministry intern; Pastor Tom Rhe and his wife, Cindy Rhe. We quickly became good friends with the Rhe family. We have lived in Duluth for 15 years and this was the first minority family we had ever become friends with. My question is; why? Why had we not crossed this bridge earlier? 

While participating in one of the church cross cultural small groups, our eyes were opened. One of the most memorable things said was that “eleven o’clock is the most segregated hour in America.” How could this be? One of the primary messages of Sunday morning is “love your neighbor.” How ironic that the same church parking lot used on Friday night football games that attract all cultures, could be used on Sunday morning to service a monocultural church service. This was a reaffirming moment; that Dr. Hearn and his vision is the direct will of God for our church. God is the God of ALL people.

Heaven will be filled with all people groups- that believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God who came to save us. It all boils down to the Great Commandment; “love your neighbor.” Our neighbors happen to be very diverse and it has been a blessing to worship and learn side by side."