"When we think of Suffolk, we think of more than history, beauty, and entertainment."
More Than Peanuts
By David and Charity Sexton
Suffolk, Virginia, is rich in history, and the outstretched acres of farmland and country are breathtaking. In addition to Suffolk’s strong ties to Colonial American history, the city is also known as the center of the American peanut industry and the birthplace of Mr. Peanut.
In the early 20th century, an Italian immigrant opened the Planters Nut and Chocolate Company. The peanut business supported the local economy for many years, and large processing facilities remain in Suffolk today.
Suffolk is also known for the Great Dismal Swamp. The wildlife refuge covers 223,000 acres in Virginia and North Carolina. The area is also known for five beautiful golf courses enjoyed by golfers of all skill levels.
However, when we think of Suffolk, we think of more than history, beauty, and entertainment. Our hearts cry out for the lost and unreached thousands in the city. God has given us a heart and burden for this city that has never had a Free Will Baptist church. How will they come to know Christ if the gospel never reaches their ears?
Many go about their busy lives without knowing they will face eternity without God. Now, more than ever, a Free Will Baptist church must be built in Suffolk, so the message of salvation can reach the men, women, boys, and girls of the city.
Our family began this church-planting journey in 2008 when we began to raise support for this mission work. Traveling with our children [pictured above] Austen (12), Devan (10), Chassity (8), and Cailey (6) was exciting but difficult at times. But God is great and greatly to be praised. Within a year, we raised the necessary funds.
During our short time in Suffolk, we have already seen many families come to know Christ. God is blessing our efforts. Seven months after the first service, our average service attendance is 84! We have visited thousands of homes in an effort to reach people with the gospel. Many attractive publications have been mailed to local areas. We set up booths at the annual Peanut Festival and reached out to hundreds with meals after a devastating tornado hit our city in April 2008.
We have opened our home for weekly Bible studies, so others can come and grow in the knowledge of our Savior. We have hosted fellowships, cookouts, and mission trips. We recently started a fellowship time for new members called “Pizza with the Pastor” which meets in our home each month. Currently, we are in the process of trying to purchase land located near a main highway.
You see, Suffolk is a beautiful place, a great place to live; but to us it is much more. Why start a church in Suffolk? The city is crying out for the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. Will you help us build God’s church? Please pray for the “Sexton’s in Suffolk,” as well as the Marc Neppl family (associate missionaries who have joined us in this effort).
About the Writer: David Sexton has been in ministry for more than 15 years. He holds Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Education and Administration. Read more about CrossPointe FWB Church at www.crosspointesuffolk.com.