MFBC Elders

Benjy Beck

I was born in Caldwell, Idaho where I grew up in a Christian home, church, and school. One night at the age of five, because of a bad dream, I went in to talk to my mom. She shared with me familiar Bible verses that talk about sin and its effects (Romans 3:23; 6:23). We then read verses about how Jesus died for my sins (1 Peter 3:18) and that I could have assurance of salvation through faith in Jesus as my Lord and Savior (John 3:16, Romans 10:9-10). I know that by God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8-9) and through my faith (John 1:12-13) in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15), I was received into His family that night. As I grew up, my parents were an example to me and my brothers of faithful service in the church.
After I graduated from Nampa Christian High School, my wife Susie and I met at Camp Maranatha where we worked as summer staff counselors. We attended college together at The Master’s College and were married after Susie graduated. The next three summers we worked at Camp Pinewood as the summer Program Director until I started my career at a lumberyard in Nampa, Idaho. During a time of considering a pastoral position in a church, I was challenged to finish my education. I started taking online courses from Trinity College of the Bible where I received a B.A. in Biblical Counseling. I now work as a Business Manager at Builders FirstSource, a national supplier of building materials. Susie and I are raising our daughter and son in Meridian, and we enjoy serving together as a family at MFBC.

Randy Cook

I was born in Kalispell, Montana and born again in Omaha, Nebraska at the age of eight while my parents were attending Bible school to prepare for missionary service in Brazil. When I was ten, we left for Brazil and I was there until graduating from high school. It was during my senior
year that I felt God’s leading me to prepare for the ministry and ended up at Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, Iowa for my college education.
After my sophomore year, I married a pastor’s daughter from Idaho – Phyllis Obenchain – and was hired as Youth Pastor at First Baptist Church of Creston, Iowa for the next three years. After that we joined the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism and prepared to go to Brazil. Since I was interested in a teaching ministry, we located in Natal where I could be part of the Berean Baptist Seminary and Institute.
We spent ten years in Natal, during which time the Lord blessed us with three children. Through teaching the Old Testament and Bible backgrounds courses, I grew increasingly interested in Jewish evangelism and we began to pursue a move to São Paulo but that led first to three years in Jerusalem to study Hebrew. While there, the Lord allow us to plant a church which today has an Israeli pastor.
We did eventually return to Brazil but four years later were invited to join the faculty of The Master’s College to start their semester-abroad program known as the Israel/Bible Extension (IBEX). We loved working with college kids and being a part of that ministry for twelve more
years in Israel but then the Lord began to turn my heart toward pastoral ministry in the States.
Since August 2008, I have served as the senior pastor at Meridian First Baptist Church.
Academic Background:
B.A. & Th.B. – Faith Baptist Bible College (1975)
M.A. – Grace Theological Seminary (1981)
post-graduate studies – Institute of Holy Land Studies
M.Div. – Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary (1991)
D.Min. – The Master’s Seminary (2016)
Ministry Experience:
Youth Pastor – First Baptist Church – Notus, Idaho (1972)
Youth Pastor – First Baptist Church – Creston, Iowa (1973-1975)
Ordained by First Baptist Church – Creston, Iowa (1975)
Missionary with the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism – Brazil (1976-1985, 1990-
1994), Israel (1986-1989)
The Master’s College (1994-2008)
Pastor – Meridian First Baptist Church – Meridian, Idaho (since 2008)

Alan Cukurs

My wife Pearl “Joy” Cukurs and I married in 1991. We have four sons and one daughter and a son-in-law. Joy is originally from the Philippines, and I am the first in my family born in the United States from a Latvian dad and Korean mom. I was not from a home that had saving faith in Jesus Christ. However, from a young age, I always recognized a Creator I would one day face. At the age of 21, I started to seek the Lord through reading the Scriptures and was baptized. At the age of 22, I came to a richer understanding of the sure hope of eternal salvation through Jesus Christ. I attended Washington Baptist Teachers College for one year, and later attended Washington State University graduating with a Master of Science in Structural Engineering. I am currently the principal bridge engineer for a consulting firm. John 10:27-30 had transforming impact on me.

Dennis Englin

I was born and raised in Spokane, WA. When I was 11 we moved to Southern California because of my dads work and over the years our parents took us to church very sporadically. During the summer of 1962 while I was babysitting my younger siblings, Pastor Gundry and his wife came by the house and invited me to church. I politely said I would think about it but did not go. After a couple of months they returned and invited me again. I figured if they took the time to come by again, I would go. The gospel was presented and an altar call was given so I went forward and accepted Christ. I believe that I was saved at that time because I wanted to come back and learn and grow. This was right before my junior year of high school. I attended and participated in that little church as much as I could over the next year. However our family moved about an hour away my senior year so I was not able to attend church. The Gundry’s still had an impact in my life and when they took me to the graduation of Los Angeles Baptist College (LABC) I was so moved by how everything was done in such a Godly fashion that I wanted to learn and grow in my very young faith. I ended up going to Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA where I met my wife to be, Judy. In the fall of 1964 when I began college, Pastor Gundry came up to Ventura and baptized me by immersion in a church that he had preciously pastored. Judy and I got married right before our senior year and worked with a couple for three years on a church plant in Carpinteria, CA. My biologist professor from Westmont, Dr Howe, was a young earth 6 day creationist and decided that LABC would be a better fit for him and left Westmont. After we graduated, I would join Dr Howe at LABC to start the science program there. I taught part time while pursuing my graduate studies and afterward taught full time. I completed my graduate studies and taught at LABC from 1968 to 1977. We moved to Billings, Montana where I taught at Montana State University, Billings. In 1981 we returned to LABC, which in 1985 became The Master’s College and later The Master’s University. I retired from TMU in the summer of 2018. We moved to Bozeman, Montana where we became members at Grace Bible Church. We later moved to Kuna, Idaho in January 2020 and began attending Meridian First Baptist Church.

Rick Holden

During my adolescent years my parents attended church each Easter and Christmas. When I was ten years-of-age my parents made a profession of faith and our church attendance became more frequent. I read the Bible for the first time when I was twelve and went forward to receive Christ at a church camp service but there was no real change in my life. After living a sinful life for several years the Lord saved me in the year 2000 at a small church revival. The evangelist walked me through the Scriptures and I left that evening forever changed. A short time later I was baptized.
A few months after salvation I began teaching a 5-6th grade Sunday school class, helping with church building projects and within the year I became one of the church leaders. A few years later the church put me forward as a licensed minister with the Evangelical Ministerial Association, I continue to hold credentials with them.
I received military orders to Guam where I served as an elder and later as an associate pastor in a local church of 800 members. I retired from the USAF in 2011 and we went to the mission field. We served in the Philippines for 3-years with a heavy focus on evangelism, church planting and discipleship.
In 2015, my wife was diagnosed with cancer so we returned to Idaho for treatment. In this season of our lives we are enjoying being stateside with our seven children and nine grandchildren.
My education is an associates in logistics, a bachelors in business and I’m enrolled in the Master of Divinity program with SBTS

Dennis Hutchison

I was born and raised in Ravenna Ohio. As early as I can remember my mother took me, along with my brother and sister, to Sunday School and church. However, I never paid close attention and it was not until the summer of 1962, when I watched Billy Graham on television that I became convicted about my sin and my need to be forgiven. Unfortunately, the only decision that I made that night was if I ever attended a Billy Graham Crusade that I would go forward to receive Christ. However, by God’s gracious provision, He provided that opportunity a year later when a friend and I moved to California. We found an apartment and our landlord was a Christian. While signing the rental agreement he invited us to attend the Billy Graham Crusade. On that night, September 8, 1963, the Los Angeles Coliseum was filled to capacity and there was literally no room to go forward when the invitation was given. I stood up and acknowledged my desire to receive Christ as my Savior. Fortunately, my landlord, Dean Wolfe, was a far better counselor than anyone I would have met there. He discipled me for the next nine months. In February 1964, I was baptized at Lakewood First Baptist Church in Lakewood, California. In September 1964 I began my formal Christian education at Biola College (now University) and I graduated in 1967 with a B.A. in Biblical Studies. After that, I enrolled at Talbot Seminary and graduated in 1971 (M.Div.). While at Talbot I met my future wife (Susan), a student at Biola. We were married on December 19, 1970. In June 1971 I was called by Calvary Baptist Church in Beaumont, California to my first pastorate. It was there that I was ordained. During that time, I continued to pursue a Th.M. degree at Talbot. While still in the process of completing that degree, my professor, Dr. Robert Thomas, asked me to teach beginning Greek as an adjunct faculty member. When I completed my Th.M. degree in 1975, Dr. Thomas asked me to become a full-time faculty member at Talbot. I accepted and began pursuing my Th.D. at Grace Theological Seminary. I received my Th.D. in 1986. It was during my time at Talbot that we adopted our three children (Daniel, Cheryl, and Julie). I left Talbot in 1987 to become the pastor of Frenchtown Community Church in Frenchtown, Montana. We continued our ministry there until 2003, when I accepted an invitation to teach at The Master’s College (now University). I retired in 2017 and we moved to Eagle, Idaho. We have been at Meridian First Baptist Church since June 2020.

Mike Munger

I was born on the day of my birth in Caldwell, Idaho. Our family attended church regularly and I was led to the Lord through the patient teaching of my Mother.
I started wondering why everyone in the church was allowed to have grape juice and crackers during the service, but I wasn’t allowed to participate and started asking questions. My mother explained to me that communion was for people who were going to heaven to be with Jesus when they died. I wanted to know what I had to do to go to heaven, and she was quick to teach me that all I had to do was believe that Jesus died for my sin and took my punishment upon himself. A few months later I was baptized with my Father in the freezing cold North Santiam River.
I attended Western Baptist University (now Corban University) in Salem, Oregon, where I began working in campus safety and where I first met Kelly Hamilton. I tricked her into going on a date and eventually she agreed to marry me. After graduating (B.S. Communications) we moved to Idaho.
Kelly and I started working with Youth back when we were mere youths ourselves. We’ve been ministering to youth together for nearly 25 years, with the last 23 years at MFBC. At some point I have no doubt that I will someday graduate from the High School Sunday School class, but today is not that day.

Diego Ramos

I came to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ when I was 17, after growing up going to church and living a hypocritical life during my adolescence. Soon after my conversion, I developed a desire to serve the church in the area of apologetics. This desire led me to do a bachelors degree in physics at the Federal University of Ceará (Brazil). Right before I moved to college I met, Késia, who became my wife during my senior year. We returned to our home town and we soon got involved as youth leaders at our home church. Through that ministry, the Lord was calling me to pastoral ministry. By His marvelous grace and providence, the Lord opened the doors for us to move to the US so that I could do M.Div at The Master’s Seminary, graduating in 2014. After that, we spent 9 years serving in various capacities in Brazil as a pastor and seminary professor. Again, by His marvelous grace and providence, the Lord opened the doors for us to return to the US in order to pursue a ThM/PhD in Old Testament at The Master’s Seminary and, as the cherry on the cake, to serve as Associate Pastor at MFBC. Késia and I have two daughters, Joana (12) and Olivia (8), and we are grateful for being a part of the wonderful MFBC family.


Arnie Rubey

I was born and raised in a rural farm community in Colorado and brought to Christ at age eleven by a welder at our local sugar factory. This godly man led both my father and me to Christ three days apart. My boyhood intention of being an architect gradually changed due to my conversion, and my heart turned instead toward becoming a pastor. I preached my first sermon at age seventeen in our local church, which experience confirmed my calling toward ministry.
I attended and graduated from the Omaha Baptist Bible College in Omaha, Nebraska where I also met and married Kay Clucas from Parma, Idaho. Upon graduation, we began ministry in Denver where I served as a youth pastor. I was then presented with the opportunity to plant a new church in Boulder, Colorado as the founding pastor. A few years later we returned from Boulder to our sending church in the Denver area which I then pastored for several years. I was also able to further my education at the Denver Baptist Bible Seminary.
In all, God allowed me to hold a pastoral role for over forty-two years, serving churches in five states. In 1993 God brought us to Idaho, Kay’s home state, where I served in my final pastorate. During that time, I was appointed Chaplain to the Boise Police Dept., which role I filled for seventeen years until retirement in 2021.
I have written two books, Fallen Brother in Blue and Meditations For Cops. I continue to lead a weekly Bible study for law enforcement, serve as an elder at MFBC, play the piano some, and bask in the joy of studying God’s Word.

Virgil Saltz

I was born into the family of Virgil Saltz in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. On August 14, 1956 I was born again into God’s family: The place was Alameda, California. On July 29, 1961 I married Ginny in Taylorville, Illinois.
There was very little growth until I got out of the Navy and moved to Nampa, Idaho. Pastor John Bajema called on us and asked about my conversion. He encouraged us to attend Berean Baptist and there I realized that I needed to submit to immersion. So in 1966 I was baptized.
The year 1969 found me taking my wife and two daughters to Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania for Bible college. I started pastoring at Back Mountain Baptist Church in Noxen, Pennsylvania in 1971. When I graduated from five years of training, we moved to Houston, Texas and was there for one year.
In 1976 we moved to Taylorville, Illinois where I served as a deacon, Bible teacher for 5 years. Then for another five years I pastored Grace Baptist Church in Moweaqua, Illinois.
In 1986 we moved to Roswell, Idaho. There I pastored for 16 years.
From there I tried to retire but the LORD had other ideas. We have been here at MFBC since 2002.