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San Antonio mechanic sells shop, follows calling to repair hearts

SAN ANTONIO—Fred Tyson can repair just about any car. A mechanic by trade, he has the skills to  fix most automobiles. But the repairs he makes now are on hearts.

Last year, Tyson and his wife, Letty, felt God calling them to start a church in their home and share the love of Christ with their community.

“We decided to sell our transmission shop so my wife and I could devote our time in serving the Lord,” Tyson said. “We wanted to be available to serve in God’s ministry and our community at anytime.”

Last October, the couple launched bilingual services for San Antonio’s Baptist Church La Hermandad Christiana with five people in attendance. Since then, the church has grown to about 150 people attending services on Thursday and Sunday evenings.

When the church outgrew the Tysons’ home, it moved to a building run by a local ministry.

“We hope that anyone who is part of our ministry will grow spiritually,” Tyson said. “One of the goals in our ministry is to make disciples. We hope to have people who will be called to musicians and preachers.”

In April 2008, the church held a baptism service for several new believers. More than 80 friends and family members were there and saw the gospel in action that day.

The church also is meeting physical needs of the community as they deliver food baskets to those in need.

“My wife and I go door-to-door inviting people to join us in our ministry,” Tyson said. “We receive from the food bank and distribute the food around our neighborhood. We do this to be able to come into their homes and testify to the people.”

Roland Lopez, Hispanic church planting consultant for San Antonio Baptist Association, said Tyson is working hard to train these new believers into leaders who will start additional churches.
“He trains couples to open up other multihousing units, whether apartments or clubhouses or office buildings, and do three or four things,” Lopez said.

“If a group worships, has instruction which is discipleship and fellowship and evangelism, then it is a church. He believes that no matter where you gather, these things need to happen.”

The Baptist General Convention of Texas provides financial assistance to Lopez in his efforts as a church-starting catalyst. Texas Baptists support that ministry through gifts to the Mary Hill Davis Offering for Texas Missions.

Tyson also began serving as pastor of Iglesia Bautista Nueva Vida in Pearsall.  He leads service, there on Friday evenings and Sunday mornings to have time to minister to both congregations.

Growing up in Nicaragua, Tyson worked with a department of the communist government. At age 21, he accepted Christ. Because of this, he was accused of betraying his country and sent to prison.

“While I was in prison, God showed me there was a reason (for) my accepting (him) as my Savior,” Tyson said.

“I witnessed and preached the word of God to my prison mates.”

Once he was released from prison, Tyson moved to California, where he began preaching.

 He settled in San Antonio and joined South San Filadelfia Baptist Church, where he met his wife and was ordained for ministry.

Tyson’s creativity and charisma is a reflection of God’s work in him and has lead to growth in the congregation, Pastor Victor Rodriguez said.

“He connects with people really well—just common folk,” Rodriguez said.

“God is the one that puts a passion in a person, and he has that. … (Tyson) just has a passion for ministry.”
       
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