Summer 2017

by COSTY SABA Westside Christian Community From chemist to pastor at age 62 represents a life change that may surprise some, it definite- ly surprised even me. But I, Costy Saba, am very sure it did not surprise the Lord Jesus. I said, “Lord, you’ve really got a sense of humor. Do you really want this chemist to be a preach- er?” He said, “I’ve called people out of any line of work.” And I said, “Lord, are you sure you want someone so old?” And He said, “Remem- ber? I called Noah when he was 500 years old!” So I prayed over the call to become the pastor of Westside Christian Community (formerly Beulah Chapel), Brethren in Christ Church in Springfield, Ohio. That was 14 years ago, and since then, the congregation has grown from 20-some to 70-some people and the Lord blessed the congregation with a $250,000 new addition without borrowing a penny and with- out being in debt. The only explanation for that was God. I was born on June 2, 1940 in Jaffa, Israel in a Greek Orthodox home. When Israel was formed in 1948, nearly 800,000 Palestinians left their homeland. They were driven out either by force, threats or fear of their lives. Most of those who left lived in refugee camps in neighboring countries. My family was one of those displaced who lived in a camp on the east side of the Jordan River. Like the children of Israel, my family wandered throughout the desert for lack of jobs, housing and schooling, until we moved to Lebanon where my father got a job working for English missionaries in Jordan and then in Lebanon. That’s where I became a follower of Jesus at the Beirut Bap- tist High School. And through a BIC missionary serving with the Mennonite Central Committee in the West Bank, I was hired as a Middle School teacher. I thought and prayed about my dream of going to the US someday for my college education. That dream was realized when through the love and help of a BIC missionary, I came to Grantham, Pennsylvania in 1964 to study at Messiah Col- lege. This was far better than my childhood ex- perience of attending a makeshift school with a desert-sand floor under a tent with nothing but a chalkboard in a refugee camp. While at Messiah, I met my wife Beth and we were married in 1968. We have three children and seven grandchildren. In addition to science and math courses, I took some religion courses at Messiah, but felt no particular call to the ministry at that time and so I pursued my love for science and earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from Ohio State University. That opened the A Pastor ’s Story 34 | Summer 2017 ON A MISSION