Posted by lward
Wednesday, August 4, 2004 - 06:55
Viewed 924 times
Romeo Talamera was a young boy in the Philippines when he discovered a calling that would both uplift and uproot him.
Born and raised a Catholic, a 12-year-old Romeo was "introduced" to a different interpretation of the Bible by a family friend.
"I learned about salvation by grace, not by rituals. I learned about pleasing God by works," recalled Romeo, who spent eight years in the seminary and then served in the Philippines before coming to Bakersfield three years ago to plant his church.
"This is a beautiful community," said Talamera, who also spent a year working in Los Angeles. He lives in Bakersfield with his wife, Nita Buena, and their four children.
"I discovered that this was a place where I could establish a flagship; a place suitable for my purpose," he said.
According to Talamera, the FACC is one of a number of local Filipino churches of varied denominations. All of the pastors keep in close contact. While the FACC currently ministers to 71 individuals, Talamera estimates that there are approximately 4,000 Filipinos in Bakersfield. Most FACC members emigrated from the Philippines and speak the native language, while others are either married to Americans or are second-generation Filipinos who only speak English.
Talamera notes that many Filipinos in the church are either migrants or work in the medical field.
"The migrants are lonely and far away from their families. We also minister to a lot of nurses and doctors," he said.
The FACC holds worship services every Sunday at 11:30 a.m. Discipleship lessons and prayer meetings are held frequently throughout the week.
Talamera's goals for his church are to see it grow to 150 members and to have a number of these members become missionaries.
"I'd like to equip missionaries to go from Kern County to Asia and other parts of the world. I'd like people to go back to their homelands and share what they have discovered," said Talamera.
The FACC is spearheading another ambitious project, Operation Love.
Designed to reach out to more than 10,000 Filipino-American migrants in Bakersfield, Delano and other neighboring cities, Operation Love envisions a roving RV equipped with medical doctors, nurses and dentists sharing the love of God and the Gospel among the poor and needy.
"We're currently praying for an RV and driver, provisions to maintain operational expenses, medical equipment and more volunteers," said Talamera, who manages to retain the easy smile of a young boy while shepherding his people with the wisdom of a man.
"I think it's important to preserve the Filipino culture, but also to help people move forward by providing direction and enlightenment," he said.
Filipino-American Community Church
2550 Jewetta Ave., Bakersfield, CA, 93312
637-0533 and 319-2170
A Reflection by Pastor Romeo
Think: When was the last time you were confronted by a great need?
Beside the pool (John5:1-9a). The invalid's only wish was to find a chance to take a dip into the pool -- just one chance. The water of the pool in Bethesda was believed to be therapeutic. But because of his handicap others got ahead of him whenever it was time to bathe. Jesus took notice of him and asked, "Do you want to get well?" On the surface Jesus sounded mean or insensitive. Doesn't he know the man's need? But if we consider how much this person had suffered, we will understand why it was necessary for Jesus to help him realize what he wanted. Jesus' question was a prelude to a great awakening. Jesus' question was an invitation to live -- where self-pity is buried and misery overcomes. Jesus offered the man a new beginning. The man's response (vs. 7) suggests that his faith was alive, that a ray of hope has survived in his heart. That was enough for Jesus to pronounce his healing.
Prayer: Lord, help me to show compassion to people in need today.