Q&A with Juan Ledon: Church Planting Residency Intern

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Antioch Church Planting Residency Intern

We are very excited to announce the beginning of a new 2-year church planting residency program at Third. We are calling it the "Antioch Residency Program,” because Antioch was the site of the first truly multicultural church as the gospel expanded out from Jerusalem (Acts 11-13). As Richmond and North America become more culturally diverse, this Residency Program has a special focus on reaching the new diverse populations of our metro Richmond region. If you would like more information on the Antioch Residency Program, contact L J Jaworski at lj@thirdrva.org.

Q: How do you pronounce your last name?
A: Not the way it’s spelled! It’s actually French and phonetically would be Ledone – with a long “o” sound.

Q: Where are you from originally?
A: Cuba! My family moved to Washington state when I was five years old. We didn’t end up staying too long; over the next few years we lived in Idaho and New Jersey and then moved to Miami. I lived there for about 40 years!

Q: Tell us about your family!
A: I have been married to my wonderful wife, Silvia, for 32 years – we met in college! We have four children who now all live here in Richmond also: Lizette – 28, Gabriel – 26, Daniel – 22 and Elise – 19.

Q: So how did you come to be in Richmond?
A: In 2012 a very good friend was taking a sales manager job here and extended an offer for me to come work with him. After praying, we felt like God was leading us here, but just as we were arriving we became aware of the company’s impending demise. We were in crisis mode, trying to decide whether to stay or go back, but God provided somebody in the church we had started visiting who extended hospitality to us for 3 months while we put things together here.

Q: What brought you to Third?
A: Corey! He attended a conference in Tennessee where he heard a speaker who is a friend of mine. Corey asked if he knew of anyone in the Richmond area that would be interested in church planting and he recommended me. We met for coffee several times, and as Corey unpacked his vision for Third, I felt there was a compatibility there – a connection in line with things he had in mind. That was in 2014.

Q: What are you hoping for in this Residency Program?
A: Richmond is a unique opportunity. It has newly forming Latino and immigrant communities that are barely on the radar here. My heart goes out to them. I’m an immigrant; I respect the challenges they have to overcome. I want to be part of an outreach effort to them, likely in a new non-traditional way by sharing the gospel where they live, not necessarily in the churchy traditional approach. I don’t know what it will look like in the end, but I want to engage immigrants through the gospel, bringing them together in an effort to make them feel at home in a strange land.

Q: How can we be praying for you in this?
A: Thanks for asking, I need a lot of that! I pray for God’s definition and clarity as we try to follow. His lead on developing what this internship will turn into. I would particularly ask for prayers that God will show me what He’s doing here and how we can join Him.