Pastor continues late brother’s legacyPublished 10:47am Monday, May 14, 2012
The Rev. Eliazar M. Talamantes is keeping the promise he made to his dying brother.
Eliazar, who recently became the new pastor at Iglesia Pentecostal Unida in both Austin and Albert Lea, will also continue his work at the congregation he already leads in Owatonna. Eliazar, who has been a pastor for 26 years, is taking on the challenge at the request of his late brother, Job Talamantes.
“When he passed away, he left that on my lap, so to speak,” Eliazar said. “I’m like an overseer now.”
Eliazar said he and his wife, Mary, worried about Job passing away for awhile. His brother had grown ill from complications with diabetes.
“It was understood,” he said. “When he was very sick and in St. John’s nursing home, he said, ‘Can you help me? I want you to be pastor and overseer these churches.’”
Eliazar agreed, but on one condition. He told Job, “only until you get well.”
Job never recovered from his illness, so Eliazar took what he expected would be a short-term duty and accepted it as permanent.
The church in Austin has about 50 members, he said, and Albert Lea has about a dozen.
Eliazar hadn’t always been in a religious line of work. When young, he was part of a large family living in Texas. Altogether, he had eight brothers and three sisters. It wasn’t long before he left for Minnesota.
“My wife and I got married really young, [at] 16,” Eliazar said. A year later, in 1968, the couple moved to Albert Lea.
Eliazar took a job at Wilson’s meat packing plant there, which would later close. He was always religious, but he said he began to think about becoming pastor around this time.
He moved back south, where he lived in Littlefield, Texas, and followed through by becoming ordained. He worked as a pastor in Littlefield for nine years, then returned to Minnesota, where he settled in Owatonna and worked for a primarily English-speaking congregation.
Job had followed him into religious work and set up a number of churches in Minnesota.
“He would travel a lot,” Eliazar said. “His home town was Austin, but other churches were all over.”
Job set up churches in cities including Albert Lea, Austin and Worthington. In Worthington, the church had a congregation of 450 people, only a bit smaller than a church he set up in Mexico which had 500.
Eliazar said the transition to being pastor has been a challenge.
“It hasn’t been smooth,” he said. “It’s some hard work.” He and his wife travel every weekend, he added. Besides doing ministry, Eliazar also has logistical tasks to take care of, like setting up a church board.
“We’re getting used to it a little bit now,” he said.
Eliazar said Mary helps him with a lot of it. She plays the piano, sings, and does “just about everything she can to help me out,” he said.
Iglesia Pentecostal Unida (United Pentecostal Church) is located at 1000 First Ave. NW in Austin. Worship begins at 10 a.m. Sundays, with Sunday school starting at 10:30 a.m. A Saturday service takes place at 6 p.m. English interpretation is available upon request.