Former wrestler known as the ‘Wild Samoan’ now a church planter in East Tenn.
Baptist & Reflector
FRANKLIN — For 30 years Elias Nech wrestled under the name of “The Wild Samoan.”
Today, however, he no longer body slams those he comes into contact with. Instead, he is more likely to tell people about the love of Jesus Christ.
And, instead of the Wild Samoan, he’s simply Pastor Elias.
Nech is pastor of Children of Christ Baptist Church in Morristown, a group of Micronesian believers. Micronesia is a country of more than 600 islands in the western Pacific Ocean.
The congregation is being assisted by Nolachucky Baptist Association and some missions-minded churches in the area. Pastor Elias and his congregation were featured in one of the Good News Vi
deos produced for Virtual Summit. The video and others can be accessed at TBCSummit.org.
True Life Baptist Church in Jefferson City is one of the churches that have assisted the Micronesian congregation.
“Remember that the Bible is trustworthy,” said pastor Jimmy Inman. “They were asking for training, for help in getting established and know how to do constitution and bylaws and that kind of thing,” Inman recalled.
He noted the church needed a sponsor so True Life provided the congregation with guidance, training and small group Bible studies.
“I think God has really used the small groups during this pandemic,” he observed. They started three groups in homes and those attending are growing in their faith and their understanding of God’s Word, he noted.
“It’s just really been powerful to see these people really getting involved in those small groups,” Lyon added.
Pastor Elias said the small groups have helped his church. “I see our church growing. I see a lot of difference.”
As the church began to grow, Calvary Baptist in Morristown stepped to the plate and provided them space for worship.
The association and different churches have worked together to build God’s kingdom by discipling, training and assisting the Micronesians in planting a church that’s reaching people for Christ and discipling them. They will eventually plant other churches, Inman predicted.
“Through Pastor Elias’ ministry and what this local church is doing, we see people’s lives being changed here in the Morristown area. But it’s Pastor Elias’ vision and it’s our vison to see that spread across the state as they reach out to other Micronesian people groups in other parts of the state and really around the country,” he continued.
Ultimately, Inman related, the Micronesians who have been reached with the gospel and discipled in East Tennessee want to take the gospel back to their islands and plant churches there.”
Lyon agreed. “No matter how you slice it, Tennessee is a mission field,” he said. “God is bringing the nations to us. I would encourage all of us to open our eyes, our hearts, our homes, and our lives to the people that God is bringing to us.” B&R