Honduran trips have local impact for church
January 19 2001 by Jimmy Allen , BR Assistant Editor

Honduran trips have local impact for church | Friday, Jan. 19, 2001

Friday, Jan. 19, 2001

Honduran trips have local impact for church

By Jimmy Allen BR Assistant Editor International mission involvement by Kenansville's First Baptist Church has broadened the church's local focus, according to the church's pastor. Since June 1999, the church has sent six teams to Honduras to help the country rebuild after Hurricane Mitch dumped a year's worth of rain in four days, causing flooding and mudslides that wiped away houses and churches. Church members have participated in two other teams, as well.

The interest in serving people in Honduras had an impact outside of Central America. Church members became interested in working with a local Hispanic church.

"It really changed the way we began to look at our own community," said Pastor Gene Lakey. Prior to the first mission trip to Honduras, First Church had little interaction with the Hispanic churches in Eastern Baptist Association, and First Church had no interest in being a mother church. The congregation wanted to be a partner, Lakey said.

Through the help of the director of missions, Robert Bailey, First Baptist connected with Mision Bautusta Maranatha in Clinton to begin joint mission work. Lakey said the partnership is still in the beginning stage but he hopes the two churches have joint worship services and fellowship opportunities in addition to ministry.

None of First Church's members speak Spanish fluently but members of both churches have gone together to complete a door-to-door survey.

First Church became interested in volunteer missions after seeing a video produced by N.C. Baptist Men about on-going efforts to help Honduras rebuild following Hurricane Mitch's flooding.

Lakey watched the video and sensed a calling to become personally involved in mission work. He then showed the video to the congregation during a Sunday morning worship service. "I told them I was pretty convinced God wanted us involved," he said.

Within a few weeks the church had enough interested members to send its own team to Honduras.

In addition to the six teams the church has sponsored, church members have participated in two other mission trips to Honduras. Ten percent of the church's resident members have now participated in mission teams to Honduras.

"There's a real increase in excitement here," Lakey said. "It's just like a recharge. There's a buzz around here. More and more people have had that personal experience in volunteer missions."

Some of the people who have volunteered have been surprising to the pastor.

"With every team, there's been an increasing number of people I never would have guessed (would participate). I think that's God at work," Lakey said.

When a team returns from a mission trip, Lakey invites team members to share their experiences during the Sunday morning worship service. Sometimes those testimonies take up the whole service. "You've got lots of sermons that day," he said. "People get up there and just share."

When Hurricane Floyd struck Eastern North Carolina in September 1999, Kenansville was spared the flooding that struck close by in Chinquapin. As in Honduras, the church responded. This time the congregation adopted two flood-stricken families and remodeled their homes.

Members who have been to Honduras were to gather this week to talk about what to do next. "Our folks want to continue to (help in Honduras)," Lakey said. But if the partnership with Honduras had ended, Lakey said the church would do something somewhere.

Some church members have been to Honduras two and three times. One member has gone four times.

"Whenever you get that much of a representation, it permeates the rest of the congregation," Lakey said. "I'm excited about all that's going to develop here in our area."

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1/19/2001 12:00:00 AM by Jimmy Allen , BR Assistant Editor | with 0 comments
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