Wakonda volunteers aid in church revival

Wakonda volunteers aid in church revival
Members of Wakonda's Bethel Baptist Church know what volunteer help can do. It was a host of volunteers who restored and helped re-establish their congregation during the last eight years.

Now they are reaching out to a Baptist church in Beresford to help refurbish the church building and parsonage, and rebuild that congregation.

"It was about eight years ago that the work on Bethel Baptist Church started," said the Rev. Larry Parvin of Wakonda. "The Beresford church closed in the fall of 2004. Last summer we started helping them get caught up on some of their bills and began having Sunday night church services here. We've had volunteers from Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico who have helped in one way or another."

A large group of adults and children from Jonesboro, GA, were in Beresford this past week to host Vacation Bible School classes. Mimi Holland of First Baptist Church of Jonesboro said her couples Sunday School class generated the church's idea of organizing family mission trips.

"We studied the ?Purpose Driven Life,' " Holland said. "Once we finished it, we thought that, rather than just reading a book we should put some feet to what we had been talking about. One of the purposes of the Christian life is to share the good news of the gospel. We also wanted to involve our children and give them a chance to experience a mission trip and take an interest in mission work."

Holland said 25 children made the trip with parents, grandparents or friends to take part in the activities at Beresford Baptist.

"For the last three years we've made trips like this," Holland said. "We've been to Canada and Arizona. This year it worked out for us to come here."

Among the families who brought their children are Donna and Andy Camp of Jonesboro, who believed their children would gain a lot from the experience.

"My father was a missionary in France," Donna said. "It has been a lifelong dream of mine to have my children be involved in a missions trip. We've watched our children take part in the ministry of the vacation Bible school and the music. It's been wonderful to see the expressions on their faces. They're learning a lot and they're also enjoying what they're doing."

Parvin said that missions work of this type is common in Baptist churches. Congregations regularly pray about the direction that God wants them to take in their missions work. Once they have a firm vision, they proceed with their work.

"This project has gone really well," Parvin said. "We have more than 20 people who are attending Sunday night services. Within a few weeks, we'll begin having Sunday morning services here, too."

It will be difficult for Parvin to see the new pastor take over the Beresford Baptist church because that pastor is currently an active member of the Wakonda church. Mike and Ruth Lindsay will be moving to Beresford to take on the role of shepherding that congregation. They and their family have been providing the worship music at Bethel Baptist or the past couple of years.

"It will be hard to see them go, but that's the way it's supposed to be," Parvin said.

The Baptist churches in Beresford, Wakonda, Elk Point and McCook Lake have all experienced a renewal during the past 10 years. Parvin said that there may be more outreach work for the churches in this region.

"God's at work, it's all Him," Parvin said. "If we'll be faithful and not try to do it ourselves, He'll direct us. There's enough people in this area who don't know Jesus that we could fill all the churches if we reach out to them."

Demonstrating the love of Christ is the platform Parvin and his fellow Baptists use to share their Christian faith. Letting people know that they're cared for, Parvin said, is the first step any Christian should take.

"One of our deacons was praying for someone during one of our prayer times," Parvin said. "He was asking God to touch that person with His finger. Pretty soon he stopped praying and got up and started heading for the church door. Someone asked him if anything was wrong and where was he going. He shared what he had prayed and said God had told him that he was God's finger. That's the example we're all trying to follow."

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