In the current state of our country, it seems popular to be divisive. With everyone looking out for themselves and making sure their sensibilities remain comfortable, a Foursquare church in a Texas border town is swimming against the mainstream.
Then again, Pastors Pablo and Stacie Mauricio aren’t mainstream people. The two met in their early 20s during a missions trip that Stacie’s church in Chicago took to Juarez, Mexico, where Pablo’s parents pastored a Foursquare church. During the weeklong trip, Stacie and Pablo conversed about three times—but it was enough to know they wanted to continue staying in touch.
For 16 months, they corresponded through emails and international phone calls until finally they were married in 2002. Right away, their journey took them to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., where Stacie interned in youth ministry with a traditional church.
How did you move from youth ministry in a traditional church within a major metropolitan area to pastoring a Foursquare church on the border of Mexico and the U.S.?
Pablo: Our church in Ft. Lauderdale did a great job of teaching Scripture and equipping members to know the Bible, but there wasn’t much of an emphasis on the Holy Spirit. We longed to be a part of a church where the Holy Spirit was released to move within the congregation. Coming from a Foursquare church, I will say that the traditional church taught me to have balance between a Scripture focus and a Spirit focus.
Stacie: From Ft. Lauderdale, we headed back to live in El Paso, Texas, in 2009, while serving the Foursquare church in Juarez, Mexico. Pablo’s parents planted a Foursquare church in El Paso, Texas, where we were then installed as pastors by Juan Muzquiz (president of Foursquare in Mexico) and Pablo’s parents. At that time, our church was 100 percent Spanish-speaking.
How did the ministry in El Paso, Texas, develop from Spanish-speaking to multicultural?
Pablo: We had a dream of a fully bilingual church, but we were unsure. In 2014, at a Foursquare conference in Mexico, Director of Foursquare Missions International (FMI) Ted Vail spoke about multicultural ministries. He said: “Don’t be afraid. God will develop it.” From there, we moved forward with confidence. We started a live translation of every service—we rotated translating to English and translating to Spanish. When we asked the congregation if they wanted separate services, they said, “No, we want to stay together.”
Stacie: We set the vision, that it starts with us—our Hispanic and Caucasian backgrounds. Pablo’s and my hearts are on display, and we desire unity in the body of Christ. We encourage our members to pray and sing out loud in their language; it delights God to hear all the languages raised in praise to Him. This is what the body of Christ should look like. Now we have Hispanic, Caucasian, African American, Native American, and three to four generations serving and worshiping together.
What is happening in Rock of Help Church, Inc., today?
Pablo: Over the past year, we moved into a new building and almost doubled our congregation. Having our own building allows us to do two important things: have our own house to worship Him; and have a base from where we can serve the community.
Stacie: In our building, we are offering free English classes and GED classes to eliminate barriers between the church and community. It is our hope that through these services we will lead people to Christ. We desire to make the name of Jesus known in our community.
Pablo: We know that hearts are unifying because we see English speakers trying to learn Spanish so they can exchange greetings with other members. Recently, an elderly white man didn’t attend services for a few weeks. When he returned, two elderly Hispanic ladies who speak very limited English made it a point to greet him, tell him they missed him, and that he was a part of the family. Not only are cultures being unified, the generations are unifying.
“This is what the body of Christ should look like. Now we have Hispanic, Caucasian, African American, Native American, and three to four generations serving and worshiping together.” —Stacie Mauricio
What does “Compelled by Jesus”—Foursquare’s theme for 2020—mean to you?
Pablo: We see ourselves as ambassadors, a bridge between nations, joining cultures together. I think of Paul, who joined cultures, broke barriers of culture. As ambassadors, we don’t see skin or background or age or income or immigration status—we reach out without seeing those things to make you feel welcome in our homes and in our church.
Stacie: I want everyone to experience the God I’ve experienced—the heart He gave me when He called me to multicultural ministry. A heart that loves and serves others as He does. I’m compelled by Jesus because there can be—and there is—a better way. A countercultural way, bringing cultures and ages together.
Pablo: And it’s happening within The Foursquare Church. When Randy Remington was elected as president, he said, “Even if you don’t look like me, I will try to be intentionally inclusive with all of you.”
How can the Foursquare family pray for you and Rock of Help?
Pablo: We have a beautiful building, but we are very short on parking. A neighbor has an acre of land that is adjacent to our building, and we want to buy it. Pray for the owner, and for our ability to buy the land to provide parking to better serve our community. And pray that God would continue His good work of bringing cultures together across generations, even in the midst of worldwide circumstances and events.