My name is Vin Thomas. My wife, Kesha, and I, along with our two children, Cohen and Isla, are a part of West Salem Foursquare Church (WSFC) in Salem, Ore., pastored by John Fehlen.
When Kesha and I were looking for a good church in Salem, the first thing we did was start with Google. We found WSFC online and listened to a sermon podcast. We knew right away that we would like the church’s ministry style.
Our first weekend at the church was a great experience. There was a great blend of ages, cultures and lifestyles. The teaching was funny, engaging and challenged our walk with Christ. The worship was lively and passionate. And the people were genuinely welcoming and friendly.
After we had only attended a few services, it was a little shocking when then senior pastor, Robert Flores, announced he was leaving to be the new president of Life Pacific College in San Dimas, Calif. He was such a big personality and was part of what drew us to WSFC. But we decided to stick it out—and boy, are we glad we did!
John Fehlen came to serve as the new senior pastor, and he has been great. Not only is he a dynamic and challenging pastor, but also he has proved to be a great friend. He’s been able to lead the church into a new phase of life that is exciting and stretches our faith.
Since we started attending, we’ve been able to serve in worship ministry, creative arts, the nursery and with young adults. WSFC has a strong team mentality and is known in our city for serving.
Our kids also love the church. The kids programs are amazing. Every week my four-year-old daughter tells me all about what she has learned in class. Recently, she was telling me about the people laying down palm branches and singing “Hosanna.” Our girls not only have a great time in class, but also they learn about Christ in fun and memorable ways.
It has been great to see the support and prayers of our church when we’ve experienced hardship and struggle as a family. For example, when we took a trip to Hawaii in March, we found ourselves on tsunami watch the whole night on our first night there. We spent more than eight hours stranded outside in the middle of the night, with no clue what the damage would be.
We sent out a few tweets and Facebook posts, letting people know what was going on. It was incredible to see the flood of messages and prayers from our friends at WSFC.
Thankfully, there wasn’t much damage, and we were able to enjoy the rest of our vacation. Nonetheless, the experience was a testament to the genuine relationships we’ve built and the loving friends we have at WSFC. We love our church and thank God for the ministry of WSFC.