Verdi and Esthela's Story
"For several decades, my wife Esthela and I worshipped in Spanish speaking churches in New York and New Jersey. Upon the birth of our first granddaughter we moved to Georgia to help out with the family. We began our search for a church among the Spanish speaking congregations in the Atlanta area. We decided to visit an English speaking church and found the service and message more to our style of worship. We became members of that church and actively participated in the ministries offered. In time we moved to Duluth and visited the First Baptist Church. The church was in transition of leadership, searching for a new senior pastor.
Upon our first visit to First Baptist Church Duluth we experienced a friendly congregation. The Minister of Adult Education gave us a brief overview of the church and its ministries. When Dr. Hearn was called as pastor we returned for another visit and attended a Sunday School class. We were immediately welcomed like family. They embraced our ethnicity and invited us to lunch to “break bread” with them after the service. We were invited to a class BBQ dinner the next day. We had never experienced such friendliness and acceptance. We listened attentively as Dr. Hearn delivered his messages and found him to be on point. We were now seriously considering joining the congregation. Scanning the sanctuary each Sunday, I began noticing members of different ethnicities and countries. For me this was a message FBCD is a welcoming church for all God’s family. After a few more visits, we decided to become members!
My wife and I became involved in several ministries and participated in the outreach efforts to the large ethnic community surrounding the church. The existing ethnic makeup of the church was small in numbers so we wanted to aid in their increase. Another thing we liked about the church was how welcoming the members were to visitors and to fellow members. This displays true Christian love. First Baptist Church Duluth called a Spanish speaking missionary to do outreach to the local community. Esthela and I became involved in this outreach. Additionally I observed the church making concerted efforts to reach out to the Indian and Korean communities. Dr. Hearn began a multicultural course, taught in his home, to help members to become cognizant of the cultures around us. Esthela and I participated in the very first course. Now, this is an ongoing offering for our church family.
Additionally, the church has begun to honor other cultures by celebrating their holidays with membership involvement. First Baptist Church Duluth is truly a congregation of members who love Christ and our diversity shouts it for all to hear!"