One Alabama Church Reaches for New Horizons
To learn more about the ministry of Free Will Baptist Home Missions, or to contact a home missions church about your own trip, visit www.homemissions.net.
They Do It Right!
The group from Forrestdale FWB Church, led by Pastor Mike Cox, was a blessing not only to the Good News Church but also to the missionaries. The church group comprised of adults, teenagers, and children arrived in York, Pennsylvania, late Monday night after a very tiring day of traveling. Though they were still, I'm sure, worn out on Tuesday morning, they were full of smiles and willing hearts as they anticipated the day ahead. We could tell a lot of planning and prayer had preceded this trip. The group prepared boxes of church information packets and distributed approximately 700 packets over the two days that were in York. Because of their energetic spirit and genuine compassion for the lost, the people in our area received them very well. We are still following up on all the great prospects.
This great group treated us (the home missionaries) like royalty. They took care of all our meals, paid for our admissions to the "fun" places we visited, and before they left, they presented our church with a check for $1000 for our land fund! This was all made possible by their working hard to raise this money over a period of several months. We told them we look forward to their return, but they have to stay longer!
If your group is planning to take a missions trip, call Pastor Mike Cox and the folks at Forrestdale FWB Church for suggestions about how you can make your trip a blessing—not only for those involved but to the missionaries as well. They do it right!
Dr. Allen Hall, home missionary, York, PA.
The Gift of Themselves
“Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God” (2 Corinthians 8:4).
Paul’s description of the churches of Macedonia sums up the attitude of the forrestdale Free Will Baptist Church from Alabama.
The group of 17 adults and young people arrived in New York with the gift of themselves. Bearing their own expenses, they spent the first weekend in June visiting door to door, conducting a youth service on Saturday, providing music, and Pastor Mike Cox preached on Sunday morning. Their efforts resulted in six first-time visitors. Two of the visitors came forward to accept Christ on Sunday evening, and several people who came on that particular Sunday still attend our church.
Perhaps the greatest surprise came when the group presented us with a check for $1,000 toward the down payment on the property we are purchasing. We are so thankful that Alabama, and especially the Forrestdale church, shares a burden for the work of the Lord and the reestablishment of the Free Will Baptist denomination in the state of New York.
Pastor Dana Booth, Rochester, New York
Mission Possible 2007
When our church began to pray about taking a missions trip, we had no idea of the divine handiwork about to shape our lives. Many skeptics would question, "Wouldn’t it be better to send all that money to the missionary instead of taking an expensive trip?" I have skeptically asked that question myself in the past.
After this mission trip, the resounding answer is "GO!" Jesus said in Mark 16:15, "Go ye into all the world...." While we enjoyed the trip and took time to see the sights and have fun along the way, our greatest memories are the heart touching moments when God opened our eyes to His harvest. We had no big, fancy plans—simply to show up, knock on doors, and host some services.
We arrived at the church in New York with hopes of being used to be a blessing. God quickly began to show us what missions is really about. Jim Martin, assistant missionary pastor, pulled his longtime friends (and our youth workers) Neal and Pam Hollis, and told them that it did not matter what transpired in the work or services; they just needed some fellowship. At that moment, we realized that, like Paul, we were being used to encourage some lonely servants of God. One of our most vivid memories is attending the first service when it was just the “regulars” and our group.
Although we had tried to avoid unrealistic expectations, down deep inside we wanted to see something special happen. And while our youth group was performing, it did happen—a miracle that brought tears to our eyes. A car pulled into the parking lot. Missionary pastor Dana Booth jumped up and headed to the door to greet visitors. The smiles of the missionaries lit the room. To see visitors walk in was like winning the Super Bowl.
Sometime long-standing churches forget that ministry is all about reaching people, and the church becomes about programs, services, upkeep, and activities. Through this missions trip, God reminded us church is not about us, but about reaching the lost.
It’s true. Our missionaries need financial support. May God help them have land and a building in which to meet. But if you really want to have your eyes and hearts opened, you must go. Money cannot buy our experience of seeing the work and feeling the loneliness our missionaries face.
Even more important, our students will never forget the excitement of watching Dawn and her son Cody walk down the aisle to accept Christ as a result of our effort. That moment made everything worthwhile!
We would like to thank the Booths and Martins in Rochester, New York, and the Halls and Kimbrells in York, Pennsylvania, for their kind hospitality. We went to be a blessing, but we came back home truly blessed.
Pastor Mike Cox, Forrestdale FWB Church, Birmingham, Alabama