By Cassy Fiano
Wesley Slough was born and raised in northeast Texas, about 75 miles away from Dallas, in a tiny town that was a cotton farming community.
He never could have predicted that his life would be devoted to serving God; originally, he went to Texas A&M University and got his master’s degree in computing science. At first, he worked at Texas Instruments in Dallas, but his coworkers would soon lead him down a very different path. He said his life changed dramatically with a spiritual awakening through these Christian colleagues.
So feeling called in another direction, he enrolled in Dallas Theological Seminary, where he went from 1975 through 1979. Along the way, he married his wife, Bev, in 1975.
After he graduated, he received a letter from Switzerland, Florida. It turned out a pastor that he knew in Dallas had grown up in Jacksonville, and the people at Switzerland Community Church had reached out to him to see whom he would recommend as their new pastor. He recommended Slough, and so he and his wife, who was pregnant at the time, moved to Florida to be the pastoral family at the small, rural church.
He was pastor for 35 years and also did international ministry work over the last 17 years. But this January, he retired as pastor and focused on serving through international ministry.
- What is your favorite thing about being a pastor?
My favorite thing about being a pastor, is actually two things. Number one, is studying God’s word, and being able to understand His message and give it to other people. The second thing would be the other people. I love people and I love the idea of seeing good things happen in people’s lives. And I know that if we live our lives according to God’s way, good things come. Seeing that blessing come into people’s lives is just the richest thing to me about being a pastor.
- What is one experience that has stood out to you and touched you the most?
I remember in 1982, I was sitting in the house right across the street from the church, and I was reading about President Nixon in China, and had begun to learn about what was going on behind the Bamboo Curtain. And I was reading something about that, and it was like the spirit of God impressed deeply upon my heart that someday, I would go there. It was so profoundly clear and it was almost audible. So I’d been waiting for 33 years for that to happen. In the late ‘90s, I was invited to go to Russia. I always thought it was going to be China, but when I was invited to go to Russia, and went, it was twice – God doesn’t speak to you in that way very often – and the word at that time was, your ministry in Russia will increase. How do you reach a larger nation with the gospel of Christ? So that’s the mission we worked on for the last 17 years in this region in Russia, called the Black Earth region. And I am finally going to China now.
- What has been your favorite thing about living in the North Florida area?
I’ve found that this is a wonderful place to raise a family, and I think the fact that our girls both could go to Julington Creek schools, be raised with the same group of friends, and prosper in their lives, and both of them have master’s degrees and are now married and successful in their lives… this has been a great place to live.
- What advice would you give to someone who wanted to join ministry work?
Number one, is this what God wants you to do, or is this what you want to do? If you’re certain that it’s what God wants you to do, then you can’t do anything else. Number two, what qualifies you? What equips you, what has trained you, to carry out this work?
- What has been your favorite country to visit, and why?
It has to be Russia at this point, because I’ve been there like 22 times. And I have many friends, literally hundreds, all over this Black Earth region. And I’m reminded again of the depths of relationships. It’s always about relationships. You have horizontal relationships with people, and the vertical relationship with God, and when you share that together, it’s very powerful and very beautiful.
Photo courtesy Wesley Slough
Wes and Bev Slough