"There is no problem too big or too complicated for the Lord to answer. No one need lose hope," says The Rev. Wendell A. Silvester, pastor of the Inter-Faith Christian Center, a non-denominational Christian church at 226 S. Second East, Farmington.
He said the greatest gift anyone can possess is a personal relationship with Christ."If you have that, you at once have an interest in the Christian message. That message, found in the Bible, is one of hope, love and salvation. Once you have a personal relationship and feel that Jesus is your Savior and the Lord of your life, you live your life differently."
The Rev. Silvester says a great many people, especially in these modern times, feel the Christian religion is boring, confining and "just something to keep people from having fun."
"What a silly idea! If they only knew and could discover that there is great excitement in knowing about and having a relationship with God and Jesus. I love to read the Bible and study its ideas and its history."
The Rev. Silvester said the Bible is the foundation of his church and can be the foundation of new lives for people everywhere.
The Farmington pastor grew up on a farm in Plymouth, Box Elder County, and milked cows, fed chickens and hogs and cut hay and grain. "My father died when I was 9, so I was introduced to hard work early and was driving a two-bottom plow with a team of six horses when I was still in grade school."
He left Bear River High School, Tremonton, in 1939 to work on a nearby cattle ranch and joined the U.S. Navy in 1942 during World War II, serving as a sonar operator aboard a minesweeper in the Pacific during several campaigns.
After his discharge in 1945, he went to Weber State College and earned his high school diploma and finished two years of college. During this time and for 26 years after, he was an appliance salesman at the Sears store in Ogden, then moved to Montana and ran a gift shop for two years in Bozeman, until 1970 when he returned to Salt Lake City and spent another five years with Sears.
As a youth, he was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He became a member of the Reorganized LDS Church in 1951 and was pastor of a Reorganized LDS Church in Ogden for 17 years.
When he moved to Bozeman, he was pastor of a Reorganized LDS Church there for two years and when he came back to Utah he was pastor of a Reorganized LDS Church in Salt Lake City for two years.
In 1972, his wife, Virginia, was seriously injured in an automobile accident and doctors told him they didn't think she would live. The Rev. Silvester said the prayers of many friends, including those from many different churches, were answered and she recovered, but had a severe back problem that caused her pain and discomfort for many months.
"In February 1973, my wife and I were living in Kaysville and attended an evangelist's crusade in Provo. A young man was preaching about the healing power of Christ. When he finished, he told the audience there was someone in the auditorium with a serious back problem and then he went down into the audience and stopped near my wife, looked at her and asked her to come to the stage.
"She got up, painfully and slowly, and went to the stage with him. She had been left with a large lump on her back the size of a soft ball. The evangelist talked to her about her back and then, praying and calling aloud upon the name of Jesus, touched her on the forehead and healed her.
"When she came back she walked easily, the pain was gone and the lump had disappeared. That changed both our lives. I knew then that I wanted to find out what more God had that we needed."
The Rev. Silvester said he later attended another crusade the evangelist held in Portland and, "in September of 1973 I prayed with him in an Assembly of God Church in Bozeman and was baptized spiritually through prayer."
He was still pastor of the Reorganized LDS Church in Ogden, but left that church in the spring of 1974. In August of that year, he moved his family to a large old home he rented in Farmington and began holding Thursday night Bible study classes and Saturday youth meetings.
For months, he told people who came to his home to attend the church of their choice on Sundays. It wasn't until October 1975 that he began holding Sunday church services in his home and, by November 1975, he incorporated the building into the Inter-Faith Christian Center.
From 1976 to 1979, The Rev. Silvester's church sponsored the Inter-Faith Bible Training Center to train people for the ministry, graduating 10 from a two-year course and four from a three-year course.
In 1977-78, his church sponsored a school in Farmington, kindergarten through 12th grade, offering an Accelerated Christian Education program.
The Inter-Faith Christian Center sponsors Bible study in homes and just completed a program in Ogden. It started a second church in Wendover five years ago, called the Wendover Fellowship, whose pastors are two of the graduates of his Bible Training Center - Chris and Pat Lund. They now have a congregation of about 60.
He has a congregation of about 40, some from as far away as Ogden, but most spread from Bountiful to Layton.
Sunday school for all ages starts at 9:45 a.m. and morning worship is held Sundays at 11 a.m. An evening service is held Sundays at 6 p.m. Bible study classes are Thursdays at the church at 7:30 p.m.
Running a small church is difficult, he says, because there is so much to do and so little money. He works as a salesman, selling static control products, when he is not working in his church. His wife and at least one of his five children help him in his ministry.
He says he would like to see small, independent churches work more closely to solve community problems and to accomplish community proj-ects. "There is strength in numbers."
The Rev. Silvester believes a non-denominational Christian church is important, that there is too much dogma in the Christian world and too many churches and too many people that believe "their way is the right way and the only way."
"God is for everyone. The power of God is not limited to just a few or a select group, but can radiate into everyone's life. Jesus is the key to salvation and eternal life, and I expect Jesus to come to earth in my lifetime."