By Anthony Banks
In July, Second Baptist hosted a week-long project that had a tremendous impact in our community of Turrell, Arkansas. There are a few testimonies that I would like to share, but first—would you like to know who was behind the Lord’s work? It was kids!
This summer we hosted our second annual Backyard Bible Club. It was four full days of Bible camp with kids from our church and from First Baptist Church Rogers. In the morning, we taught the kids about the Bible through songs and skits. Then in the afternoon, for three of the four days, we took them out to Help in the Community (what I like to call HIT-C). The kids helped the elderly of Turrell with their chores and yardwork, and they also did other services like washing down the public library. With First Baptist’s 55 kids and 35 of our own, there were 90 kids total learning about the Lord who then went out to serve our community!
But what I think really resonated with the people in our community was how our churches took the kids to knock on doors. At each house we would share the Gospel and pray with them. Together, we knocked on every door in Turrell—and most we knocked on twice! I would say that about 50 percent of the people we spoke with were not in church or were attending another church besides Second Baptist.
By the end of the week, we saw 10 professions of faith from knocking on doors! In addition to this, on Saturday members of the Missions Team at the Arkansas Baptist Convention coordinated a block party and medical-dental clinic at Second Baptist. More than 100 people from the community attended, the medical-dental clinic saw 40 patients, and six people received Christ. Praise God!
Now here’s a testimony you need to know, too. Something that God appointed and made happen as a result of our church and First Baptist Rogers coming together to do His work…
While working in the community, one of our groups noticed a man standing on the sidewalk at the post office. A young girl from First Baptist told the chaperone and driver, Bro. Jerry Bolander (and pastor of FBC Rogers), “I want to stop and talk to this man.” When they got out of the car to talk with him, they discovered that he was a Jehovah’s Witness. He was sarcastic with them, so they reluctantly got back in the car and drove to a neighborhood to begin knocking on doors.
Well, the first door they knocked on was this man’s door! But he acted the same way he had before, so the group continued their work. When they told me later about what had happened, they said it was on their heart to go back to his home and talk with him again.
And when they did go back—this time to invite him to Bible study—he was different. He apologized for how he had treated them because he had seen how the kids were doing things for the community. That night he came to Bible study and talked again about his guilt for treating the kids that way. He gave his testimony in front of the group and finished saying, “I’m walking in darkness.”
That night he came to Bible study and talked again about his guilt for treating the kids that way. He gave his testimony in front of the group and finished saying, “I’m walking in darkness.”
I came down from the pulpit and witnessed to him, “If you want to get out of that darkness, Jesus can take you out.” That’s when he received Christ! We all gathered around and prayed for him after. He has asked that I baptize him once he recovers from a recent surgery.
That week a lot of folk, even those who did not receive Christ, responded to what we had done in Turrell. When they saw the way we were serving and knocking on doors to pray with them, they testified, “Nobody has ever done things like you are doing.” I’m praying now that these people will come out to see us at Second Baptist because they know we care about them.
Now we have a vision to go beyond Turrell. Next year we want to do this in Turrell again but also expand to Gilmore by working with our new partner, First Baptist Church Marion. We won’t stop in our Jerusalem; we’re moving now to go to Judea!
Your prayers and giving to the Dixie Jackson Arkansas Missions Offering support me and my church plant, and we are able to carry out this Acts 1:8 model because of you. And I want to continue going out into my community and neighboring communities—combining efforts with other churches who have the same heart—to reach souls, like the 16 people and the Jehovah’s Witness, who needed to hear the Gospel right here in Arkansas!