FROM THE STATES: La., Fla., Ore. and Wash. evangelism/missions news; ... '[Y]ou go home afterwards and ask yourself if this really happened'
Today's From the States features items from:
Baptist Message (Louisiana)
Florida Baptist Convention
Northwest Baptist Witness (Oregon and Washington)
Four-day crusade nets
160 souls in La.
By Brian Blackwell
HAUGHTON, La. (Baptist Message) -- Members of First Baptist Church in Haughton humbled themselves individually and corporately leading up to the Haughton Harvest, consequently seeing the Holy Spirit convict 160 people of their need for Christ, May 6-9.
"We have never prayed as much for a revival as we have for this," said pastor Gevan Spinney. "Everyone got involved and when we showed up during the revival, we were expecting God to move. We asked Him to save our friends during that week, and it was really awesome to see God answer those prayers. The biggest thing is we prayed and asked God to show up, and He did."
The Haughton Harvest is one of hundreds of events held or scheduled this year as part of the statewide Harvest campaign to "pray for every home and share with every person" in Louisiana.
Nearly 900 of 1,650 Louisiana Baptist churches have signed up to participate in concentrated prayer and soul-winning activities such as multi-church crusades, door-to-door outreach, one-on-one evangelism, single-church revivals and other activities which leverage compassion ministries to share about the love of Christ.
Freedom in Christ
Almost 2,000 people showed up over the course of the four-night event in Haughton, which focused on a different age group or gender for each session. The harvest of souls included 15 on youth night, six at a ladies' event featuring Iris Blue of Duane and Iris Blue ministries and 41 at a men's event featuring professional bass fisherman Hank Parker. Already, 13 of the 160 new believers have been baptized.
The highest number to take part in a single session took place at the Bayou Dorcheat Correction Center in Minden on Monday, May 7. When the invitation was extended by Bill Britt, the evangelist during Haughton Harvest, 51 inmates and two guards made decisions to follow Jesus.
Jason Lovins, who along with his band provided the music the entire week, said his first exposure to leading worship inside a prison was an experience hard to put into words.
"I was so blown away by how much their warden loves these guys and how much he loves Jesus," Lovins said. "We had this intense worship experience and could tell the Holy Spirit was moving inside those walls. The people at First Baptist Haughton prayed for this event 40 days and we could really tell how much they poured into prayer. The Lord definitely showed up and moved in ways we never expected."
Spinney, who is the prison's chaplain, said the response to the Holy Spirit during the worship service was the largest number of inmates to accept Christ at any one time since his congregation began ministering inside the correction center.
"Seeing 53 men give their life to Christ was a true movement of God," Spinney said. "It's one of those things you go home afterwards and ask yourself if this really happened. Some of the men in there have addictions to drugs and alcohol. God's giving them freedom in Christ and breaking their chains in one sense."
House of prayer
The prayer movement for Haughton Harvest began in January.
Using BlessEveryHome.com, members prayed for their neighbors for 100 days. For the first 20 days, participants received a daily email containing names (heads of household) and addresses for five neighboring residences as a reminder to pray for the salvation for everyone in that home -- for a total of 100 neighboring families each. First Baptist members prayed for more than 4,000 families during that timeframe.
A month prior to Haughton Harvest, members participated in 40 days of fasting along with their prayers, with members coming to the campus to ask God to move during the revival.
The final large prayer gathering took place April 29 during the church's evening worship service. The Solemn Assembly focused on confession, repentance and renewed commitment to Christ. Adults and youth gathered in the worship center, while young children took part in a prayerwalk around the campus.
Moving forward, Spinney hopes the movement by the Holy Spirit during the Haughton Harvest continues for years to come.
"My prayer is that this is that pivotal moment that changes the course of our church," he said. "I pray we will really sense that purpose God has for us individually and corporately to be a light in the Haughton area. We need to have that burden and take that hope of Jesus to our neighbors. It doesn't end with an event but literally impacts our community as the church goes out to be the church.
This article appeared in the Baptist Message (baptistmessage.com), newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. Brian Blackwell is a staff writer for the Baptist Message.
Fla. migrant ministries gear
up for summer block parties
By Keila Diaz
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Florida Baptist Convention) -- More than 67,000 migrant workers make up the farm work labor force in Florida over the course of a single year, according to a report by the University of Florida for Florida Housing Finance Corporation.
The children of those migrant workers are not included in the numbers as they are not part of the labor force, nonetheless they face many challenges that go along with the migrant lifestyle.
Florida Baptist churches in partnership with migrant ministries of the Florida Baptist Convention are working to help migrant children overcome those challenges.
"I'm actually on my way to Ocala to deliver backpacks for a back-to-school party a church will be hosting for migrant children," said Misael Castillo, FBC's migrant ministry catalyst, during a phone interview.
Castillo formerly led a migrant children's camp hosted at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center but he found that the camp was not being effective at actually reaching migrant children. The ones who came to camp were already attending a church and had a support system but Castillo was left thinking about the ones who didn't even know there was a camp available.
"I thought about the ones who don't go to church or are too far away from Lake Yale," he said.
He also found that many of the resources the camp gave to the children, like Bibles and sleeping bags and school supplies, were left behind.
"So I drove around Florida and talked to pastors and found places with 50 to 80 migrant families and 2 to 3 kids per family and partnered with churches to bring camp to those children," Castillo said.
The goal is to minister to 1500 children over the summer and fall months before they head back to school.
Castillo will continue to come alongside churches in Tallahassee, Sulfur Springs, Indiantown, Okeechobee, Jennings, Chipola, Ocala, Homestead, Immokalee and Fellsmere to put on back-to-school block parties for migrant children. At these events the children get backpacks packed with school supplies, personal hygiene items and other miscellaneous things they might need.
More than 15 churches are involved in the events and nearly are 10 churches donating resources to fill backpacks around the state.
"It's really a team effort," he said.
Some churches are hosting the back-to-school parties in the summer and others in December as part of a Christmas celebration.
"The important thing is that it gets done," said Castillo.
To find out more and to get involved contact Delicia Garland at email@example.com
This article appeared on the website of the Florida Baptist Convention (flbaptist.org). Keila Diaz writes for the Florida Baptist Convention.
Ore., Wash. teens challenged
to make an impact
By Sheila Allen
GRESHAM, Ore. (Northwest Baptist Witness) -- With palpable energy, hundreds of students and leaders filled the Pathway Church campus in Gresham, Ore., for the annual Northwest Baptist Convention student conference. The "Unstoppable" theme was driven home each session by conference speaker Josh Martin, a pastor of Resonate Church in Pullman, Wash.
"I grew up incredibly religious where we lit lots of candles, wore rosaries and had to go to confession," Martin said. "But that taught me I had to do something for God to get something from God. I submit to you that is called religion and it is not unstoppable. Some say 80 percent of Americans think they'll get to heaven and put good on one side and bad on the other and hope to come out OK."
Martin encouraged the students to realize that while religion condemns, Jesus covers you; while religion says do, Jesus says done.
"The meta theme of the Bible is about religion pursuing God and the Gospel is about God pursuing us," Martin stated. "Realize you want to be good enough and reject it with your whole heart. God has already given you that approval through Jesus. My life is about giving Him glory, not guilt and working hard."
As he continued to challenge current Christian culture, Martin exhorted teens to not just accept Jesus as Savior, but to become unstoppable by declaring Jesus as Lord.
"When you see the beauty of salvation in your life, you long for His lordship over your life," Martin said. "He created you, loves you, desires you and is inviting you into something so big. Will we be the caretaker of His will in the Northwest? Do you want God to use you in your generation to make an impact with an army of unstoppable Christians?"
Participants took opportunities to strengthen their faith by attending multiple breakout sessions, with topics including competing as a Christian athlete, exploring if some sins are worse than others and dispelling mission field myths.
"The student conference was a great success and it was because leaders from over 40 churches in the Northwest are committed to seeing their students experience opportunities where life-change can happen," said Lance Logue, NWBC student ministries consultant and director of the event. "Thank you, youth leaders for bringing your students. I'd love to see this become a highlighted event for student ministries and churches across the Northwest."
Trenton Stevens, 18, has attended the student conference every year for six years, and joined in with his youth group from McKenzie Road Baptist Church in Olympia, Wash.
"Every year the different speakers and bands are great," said Stevens, a high school senior and Future Farmers of America member. "I love to talk to other students from different churches and find out where they're from. This year's conference has taught me that I'm unstoppable in telling others of Christ and I feel more inspired to go home and tell of my faith."
Stevens attended a breakout conference focused on rescuing young girls from brothels in Thailand and hopes to have an opportunity to make such a trip in the future.
A band from Resonate led the teens to worship, modeling the character and competency required to operate as leaders of their local church gatherings.
"The music was just great," said Becca Irwin, who traveled with her youth group from Hillview Baptist Church in Kennewick, Wash. "I went for the third year in a row to the creation versus evolution class because it is so packed with information and backed up with Scripture. They teach a lot of evolution in public school and this helps me speak out there, as I was able to do in my biology class last year."
The weekend was rounded out with late night fun options such as swimming, putt-putt golf and a game arcade.
This article appeared in the Northwest Baptist Witness (nwbaptist.org), newsjournal of the Northwest Baptist Convention. Sheila Allen is managing editor of the Northwest Baptist Witness.
EDITOR'S NOTE: From the States, published each Tuesday by Baptist Press, relays news and feature stories from state Baptist papers and other publications on initiatives by Baptist churches, associations and state conventions in evangelism, church planting and Great Commission outreach, including partnership missions. Reports about churches, associations and state conventions responding to the International Mission Board's call to embrace the world's unengaged, unreached people groups also are included in From the States, along with reports about church, associational and state convention initiatives in conjunction with the North American Mission Board's call to Southern Baptist churches to broaden their efforts in starting new churches and satellite campuses. Except for minor style, security, formatting and grammatical changes, the items appear in Baptist Press as originally published.