October 2016 Mind of the Missionary

October is a very busy month for the association. Annual meeting, area wide revival, street fairs in Carrollton, Panola, and Aliceville. Let me share more about these events in hope that you will participate.

This will be the 181st annual meeting of our association. It is kind of like a family reunion. We hear praise and petition reports from each of our 34 congregations. We rejoice and we pray for our sister churches. We hear about what God is doing in our area, our state, our nation, and around the world. We rejoice and repent. We will elect a moderator and vice moderator.  We will hear from a new international missionary who was raised among us. We will hear about the mission and ministry efforts of the association. We will rejoice and recommit. Our theme will be Celebration of the Bicentennial of the coming of the Gospel Light to our area during 2017.

We will take up offerings for the Children’s Home and for ALCAP. We will enjoy fellowship meals. We will hear good Gospel music. We will sing, laugh, and renew friendships.

It is a two day event. On Monday, October 10, we will meet all afternoon at Flatwoods, off Benevola Rd. Services will begin at 1 and conclude at 5:30 pm. We will then enjoy a wonderful fellowship meal provided by the church.

Tuesday, October 11, we will meet at Mineral Springs on the old US 82 near McShan. We will start later at 2:45 pm. At 5:30 pm we will have a wonderful fellowship supper provided by the host church. And then at 6:15 pm we will go back to a time of worship and have our annual mission message. The evening session is provided for those who hold jobs which keep them from attending the afternoon sessions.

Then October 24-26 we will have the Pickens Gospel Celebration. Monday through Wednesday at the Service Center in Carrollton. The Evangelism Committee has secured three of the finest preachers in the world for this set of meetings—Pastor Fred Luter, Professor Robert Smith, Jr. and Evangelist Junior Hill. While the services begin at 7 pm, each evening we will have mini-concerts beginning at 6:45 featuring the choir from the Aliceville Federal Prison work camp, recording artists Bros. Bob Little and Marcus Wright and others.

These services are for everyone. Pray that we will see lost persons saved and believers revived.

Then on October 15 the Rubies for Life mentors will be selling quality gifts from Lighthouse Christian Products to raise money to support their program in the prison. All of the proceeds will be used for this. They will have gifts for pastor appreciation, Christmas and other special occasions. Our prices are below wholesale.  Visit their booth at the Face in the Window celebration. On October 29 the RFL mentors will have a booth with more items at the Aliceville Fall Street Fair.

Many of our churches collect canned goods for the food bank at the Baptist Center this month. We are in need of these donations. We received the food gathered by the mail carriers only for Carrollton and half of that from Reform this past May. If you want to support the associational food bank, October will be the best time to do so. Less than half of the food collected in May comes to the Baptist Center.

March 2016 Mind of the Missionary

Please continue serving and praying for the folk who went through the Groundhog Day storm. We will hold a “Thank You, God” Rally at Aliceville FBC on Monday, March 21 at 7 pm. Plan to attend.

The storm and its aftermath has been the focus of the association this past month. Lots of wonderful testimonies of God’s protection. Lots of serving of those in need. Lots of sacrificial efforts. Lots of expressions of Christian love. God is, and will continue, to bring good out of the storm.

While our ministries in the main prison are on hold for now, new opportunities have been presented to us at the camp. While our ministries to the staff at the training center were halted, the Aliceville FBC cookie ministry has blessed the staff in other ways. Pray for the staff as they work at getting the prison back to normal operation.

The Disaster Relief team of our association was out at dawn in Carrollton on Wednesday. That day they removed a tree and tarped the roof of Salem MB Church. The congregation is so very grateful. Thursday they were joined by teams from our neighboring associations, totaling 76 workers. They completed 26 jobs. By Saturday nearly 200 volunteers were working in Sapps. On the second Saturday the ALSBOM Chaplains, 20 or so, walked through the damaged area sharing the Gospel and praying with the survivors. I am so grateful to Gary Rogers, our DR leader and to the churches for providing a tractor for our team to use in moving the logs to the road. I saw how much it helped. In the TV coverage our team was very visible.

We are thankful to our EMA director, Kenny Gibson, for getting in place the storm shelters which surely saved several lives when the storm passed through. The Red Cross and Salvation Army did great work. The county road department, including Bro. Mike Bonner, did a wonderful job of removing trash from the roadsides. And day after day Pauline Hall and Lois Bruce manned the reception center at the fire station. While Clayton Grammer and James Hall, who had the vision of a Disaster Relief Team for the association, did not benefit from it, I could not fail to note that the storm passed by their homes and that their neighbors were blessed by their vision.

Clothing and food have been brought to and distributed from the community center in Sapps. But there is much more to do going forward. Homes will need to be rebuilt. Spiritual healing and physical healing will need to occur. I hope that we will have an “in association” mission team effort this summer which could include a block party, community revival, vacation Bible schools, and hosting construction teams. I hope that this can be presented at the March 21 meeting at Aliceville FBC. We’ll have more on this as things develop.

The PBA has received monetary gifts from individuals and churches to help those who had losses in the storm. We will accept additional ones. Distribution of the funds will be handled by decisions of the Associational Council, which is comprised of the officers of the association. We will also coordinate with Kenny Gibson in our work. Presently, we are not accepting clothing and food for the storm victims. Contact the Sapps Community Center regarding such items. This will be a long process. While many household goods will be needed, most of these will not be required for several months.