Kentucky Church Reaches the Nations Nearby by Ministering to Hispanic and Burmese Americans

Bellevue Baptist senior pastor Greg Faulls (right) and Bellevue’s Hispanic pastor, Jesus Amaya, are pictured at the church’s 17th annual Hispanic Festival in August. The event featured soccer, food, music and preaching. Submitted photo

Bellevue Baptist Church in Owensboro, Ky., takes literally the command to make disciples of all nations. Many times, the nations are in the neighborhood.

“For a while at Bellevue, we had five services with four different languages,” pastor Greg Faulls said.

Under Faulls’ leadership, Bellevue has become a multi-ethnic church, ministering to Hispanics as well as Burmese people, including people from the Chin and Kayin (Karen) tribes. Last October, the church’s culture was illustrated in an unusual incident.

A 20-year-old woman who was born in America but then moved to Mexico relocated to Owensboro for a job opportunity. She was befriended by a Burmese Christian who attends Bellevue. Although the Burmese woman was not proficient in English, she began to share Christ with the Mexican-American woman.

“She knew the Mexican-American woman would not be able to understand the language in our Burmese service, so she took her to the English-speaking service,” said Faulls, who ultimately led the visitor to the Lord. “So you had a Chin woman who knew very little English sharing Christ with someone proficient in Spanish and English, and a Caucasian English-speaking pastor led her to Christ.”

Experiences such as that fuel the desire of Bellevue to continue its desire for missional engagement of its members on a local, national and global scale.

“God really gave our people a vision for other ethnic groups,” Faulls said. The vision began in 2002.

“We had members who noticed a number of impoverished Hispanics in a nearby apartment complex,” Faulls recalled. “We started a ministry fair and we had people providing furniture and other items. But more than that, they showed much care and kindness. We began a Bible study for them, and at that time we were the only Protestant church in Owensboro doing any ministry to that ethnic group.”

The need to begin a worship service for the Hispanic population became evident. In the summer of 2003, Jesus Amaya and his wife and two children came from Texas to Owensboro where he served as a summer missionary for Bellevue.

Dozens of people were led to Christ. Amaya went back to Texas, and for two years Bellevue kept that service going. Then Amaya finished school and returned to Bellevue and has been on staff for 14 1/2 years.

“The attendance has fluctuated over the years,” Faulls said, “but lately it has been averaging about 90 people.” The fluctuation is the result of members constantly leaving to plant new churches.

With Bellevue’s growth came facility needs.

“We quickly realized we would grow out of our facility, so we were able to relocate to a 72,000-square-foot facility on an 86-acre tract in the fall of 2008.”

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Source: Baptist Press