Pastors Richard Wesley Sr., left, of
(Photo: Jerry Tyson News-Sentinel)
African Baptist Pastor finds Galt on Internet
By Ross Farrow
News-Sentinel Staff Writer
minister Richard Wesley Sr. needed someone to speak at the National Pastors
Fellowship Conference in western
search engine here, a few clicks there and Wesley found Galt. For reasons
perhaps only God and Al Gore can explain, Wesley found Rob Patterson, pastor of
lives in third-world conditions in a country torn by civil war strife and
operating without electricity and running water. Inhabited by freed slaves
after the American Civil War,
Although Liberians generally go without electrical power, some locations have portable generators. One such place is an Internet cafe where Wesley communicates by e-mail and surfs the Internet.
at the Internet cafe in
only that, but Wesley came to Galt and collected more than $10,000 to build a
and Wesley, senior pastor of Greater Love Bible Baptist Church in
"It's by God's providence that I came in contact with Pastor Rob by way of the Internet," Wesley said.
Patterson said he was careful after being approached by Wesley for the first time. After all, even among churches, people can be dishonest and threaten harm, he said.
"I had people in my church who were very leery," Patterson said. "I checked out for Internet scam possibilities." Patterson scoured the Internet to find out if there was any negative information about Wesley or his church, but he couldn't find Wesley anywhere in cyberspace.
Patterson found other individuals in
As it turned out, the person Patterson e-mailed happened to be at Internet cafe at the time. The man asked aloud if anyone knows Richard Wesley. It turned out that Wesley was at an adjoining table that very moment.
Patterson had no doubt that Wesley is an honest man, honest enough to invite him to Galt and stay for a month at his house.
"When we met, it was like we knew each other a long time," Patterson said. "His heart came through in his e-mail messages."
Two weeks ago, Wesley told the Galt First Baptist congregation about life in his country. Patterson, a long-time believer that people should look globally rather than just their own community, emphasized the importance of understanding how the United States could fall victim in war time of services we take for granted, like electricity and running water.
the two services at Galt Baptist on March 1, the congregation contributed
$4,500 in offerings toward a new church in
And through Patterson's next-door neighbor, Mattie Shepherd, Wesley was invited to tell his story at a recent Galt Sunrise Rotary Club meeting. Rotary member Al Luna contributed another $1,000 to Wesley's cause on Friday.
who conducts services in his living room home, has collected about two-thirds
of the $15,000 he needs to build a church in his town. He will speak at
Sunday's service at First Baptist,
Patterson will visit Wesley in late June and speak at the National Pastors Fellowship Conference, which Wesley chairs. Wesley's goal is that the conference will be held at the new church -- the dream started in Galt.
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