RIVERSIDE — The 11-year-old Orangecrest Community Church started a third Sunday morning worship service Sept. 16 at the Orangecrest Community Center, where they are growing the congregation and developing future ministry leaders — but that doesn’t interfere with missions motivation.
“We’ve got two members who are IMB missionaries,” founding pastor Josh De La Rosa told the California Southern Baptist about “Jim and Becky,” the couple otherwise unnamed for security reasons, who serve with the Southern Baptist Convention International Mission Board. “We wanted to support their ministry and to mobilize our people to engage in international missions.”
The church, started in 2007 by Church of the Valley, now in Ontario Ranch, decided to go to Taiwan in 2017 to help the couple, who were involved in a church plant.
“I work with half the Chinese people group, those who live outside China and outside the United States,” Missionary Jim told the CSB, adding he doesn’t enjoy continuous travel. “We can do a lot via the Internet, but it also involves drinking lots of tea and building relationships with pastors and denominational leaders too.”
The couple live in Taipei, Taiwan. In the fall of 2016 the opportunity arose to help with a Mandarin-language church there, known today in English as Mu Syin South Baptist Church, which was started by the local Taiwanese staff from Taiwan Baptist Seminary, students and other local believers.
“They first prayer-walked multiple times, then found and renovated a storefront,” Missionary Becky told the CSB. The first worship service was in August 2016.
“Then outreach activities — some street witnessing and blitzing of the neighborhood with invitations — and ministry followed,” Becky continued. “That’s when we joined in to support what they stepped out in faith to do.”
She began an English Conversation Bible Study in September with a co-worker who hosted the group. An attendee not yet a Christian began advertising the study and it began to grow, as did the church as a whole. Within six months, two men were baptized.
Back in Riverside, where Orangecrest was growing to its current Sunday morning worship attendance of 600, Josh De La Rosa was praying about God’s direction for the church, still in rented space in a mission-style building, with weekly setup and tear-down.
As stated on the church website — Orangecrestcc.org — with God providing the growth, the church wants to be able “to serve the people He is sending and steward resources wisely;” to be permanent and visible “to communicate to our neighbors that we’re here to stay ... (and) to build an excellent, custom environment to enhance our great Kidzone programming impacting the next generation.”
With a six-person, full-time vocational staff and emphasis on spiritual growth through small groups as well as Sunday worship, when De La Rosa heard the IMB members had started a church in Taipei, he saw the opportunity to involve the congregation in international missions.
When the first Orangecrest team of 13 members traveled to Taiwan in July 2017, they led in a four-day English camp, which was “a huge felt need because those families want their children to learn English,” said Associate Pastor Scott Lamberth, who led the group. “This helped the church plant make connections in their neighborhood and invite those families back to church.”
Orangecrest also prayer-walked the area, and assisted in an American 4th of July party, complete with a Taiwanese delicacy — squid — which helped connect people to the church’s adult English club.
As a result of the first camp one family was reached, and members of Mu Syin started a Saturday Kids Club. Twenty-six children participated in the evangelistic effort, and over the course of the first year the Kids Club engaged eight children with the gospel.
This summer, 23 youngsters participated in a camp led by Orangecrest members, and, watching the Americans in action, one of the new Christians, a Mu Syin South dad, offered his expertise later in the summer for an evangelistic outreach: teaching children to make Chinese kites.
“The teams from OCC were a great encouragement to us, and though they could not speak Mandarin, they also encouraged the local church members and attenders,” Missionary Jim said. “It is exciting to see even the new attenders to Mu Syin South Church helping share the gospel with others.”
Orangecrest’s two mission trips to Taiwan provided “opportunities for sacrificial love, flexibility, endurance and evangelism,” Lamberth said. “Seeing God’s work in the hearts of that new Taiwanese church plant really impacted those who had never been overseas in the past.”
The missionaries are on stateside assignment in California for the next few months, and participated in the California Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Clovis Oct. 22-24. They are available to speak in churches and may be contacted at email@example.com.