A Free Will Baptist couple enjoys a 27-month honeymoon while raising money for missions...
End of the Journey
by Bill Campbell
One night while praying, God spoke to my heart and gave me a vision to raise $100,000 for the Home Missions project in the Florence/San Tan Valley area of Arizona where home missionaries Howard and Patsy Gwartney are serving. As I prayed, little did I know where God’s hand would lead me over the next several months. I said, “Lord, here am I; send me. I am ready to go.”
I shared this burden with a few close pastor friends and asked them to join me in prayer concerning the matter. Those men have stood by me through the entire journey, and I would like to give them a big thank-you.
A few months later my grandson Chris and I flew to Florence, Arizona, to attend the first service at Christ’s Church Free Will Baptist. I went looking for confirmation from the Lord. I wanted to be certain that I understood the vision correctly and the journey that God wanted me to take. At the conclusion of the service, a gentleman gave me a check for $5,000, payable to the Home Missions Department and designated for the Florence, Arizona Land Fund. It was the confirmation I needed! I knew the Lord would bless my efforts, and I determined to do my best.
No long after returning from Arizona I asked Roberta, a dedicated Christian lady, to marry me. I had been a widower for some time, and the Lord saw fit to send this sweet lady to be my helpmate. While we were dating, I had shared the vision God had given me to help the church acquire land on which to build. I knew that after our wedding, we would visit Arizona, so I began to pray for God to give Roberta the same vision and burden for the project. We were married in December 2007 and visited the Gwartneys in January 2008.
When we returned home, we both knew God was leading us to take this journey. We began traveling on weekends, speaking in churches and raising funds while paying our own expenses. The first stop was First Free Will Baptist Church in Fayette, Alabama, on April 26, 2008. Scott Montgomery had asked us to begin the project at the church where he pastored. We would like to express our appreciation to his church for starting a journey we will never forget.
Over 27 months, our travels took us through Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee. After I was laid off from my job in September 2009, we continued to travel and raise funds toward the $100,000 goal. After medical problems made knee replacement surgery necessary, our journey ended in July 2010 at Center Point Free Will Baptist Church in Atoka, Oklahoma.
A total of $84,881.25 has been raised for this project and funds continue to come in. Special appreciation goes to five churches in Alabama that were very generous to this project. They also took special offerings to help pay travel expenses for the last two months we were on the road.
Roberta and I enjoyed a 27-month honeymoon, traveling with the Lord during the first part of our marriage. What a wonderful way to begin life together. We surrendered everything to the Lord, and He led us every step of the way. We laughed, cried, prayed, and fellowshipped as we went, enjoying every minute. We have been in many beautiful churches, met great pastors, and became acquainted with wonderful Free Will Baptist people who were kind to us and gave generously to the project.
God made all of this happen, and we give him all the credit for this historical milestone on our journey to Heaven. I hope you will join us in praying and supporting the Gwartneys and the Home Missions project in Florence, Arizona.
About the writer: Bill Campbell is an active laymen for the Lord and Free Will Baptists. He has been involved in missions work on the state and national level for many years. Bill and his wife Roberta continue to follow the Lord’s leading as they work for Him.