It’s amazing to look back and see God at work in your life when you didn’t even realize that He was. I spent five years serving at the Louisiana Baptist Convention and during that time I made numerous friends and contacts. I was involved with the Moral and Social Concerns Committee while there and that is where I met two people I would later be closely associated with…David McCormick, missions pastor of North Monroe Baptist Church in Monroe, LA and Lavelle Spillers, pastor of Pleasure Point Baptist Church in Homer, LA.
Most of you know from reading this blog that David and I teamed up to bring a group to Pine Ridge in June. I also joined Lavelle and his team with Open Door Missions as my final mission destination for this summer. Open Door Missions began ministering in New Mexico in 1992. At that time they were bringing shoeboxes filled with children’s gifts to the children in Northwestern New Mexico at Christmas. Lavelle’s first trip was in 1994 and he and his wife, Dianne, have been coming ever since.
The ministry that started out as a Christmas mission has turned into much more. The shoebox ministry continues to this day but they have now added a summer backpack ministry. The backpacks are filled with school supplies according to grades. The backpack ministry began in 2010 and they were able to provide approximately 100 that year. The following year there were over 200 backpacks handed out to the children and this year I had the honor of participating in the distribution of over 400 backpacks to children who may not otherwise have had the school supplies they needed.
While providing for the physical needs of these children is important, Open Door Missions’ biggest concern is the spiritual needs of the people in this area. During our week here we conducted a Vacation Bible School Sport’s Camp at Crouch Mesa Baptist Church where we had an average of approximately 43 in attendance each day. 20 children made professions of faith during VBS and we baptized nine of them on our final day!
While here we also conducted revival services in a different church each night. One of the services was held at a church on the Navajo reservation and was especially meaningful for me. The place was packed and I had the best time visiting with the children and their parents at that church. We also held one of the services at a local Navajo church that is not on the reservation and I thought my heart would burst when I saw eight of that congregation come forward for salvation. Our final revival service was held at an African American church and it was standing room only! Many of these people had come for the backpacks but ten of them accepted Christ as their Savior that night.
Our team consisted of eight people. Lavelle was our leader and preached the revival services each evening. His wife, Dianne, led our VBS, worked with the children doing crafts and provided music for us on several occasions. Kerri Pitts, daughter of Danny Pitts, one of the founding members of Open Door Missions, was ill the entire week but that did not stop her for long. There was also Tammy and Morgan Hanson, a mother and daughter from Cotton Valley, LA and Steve and Kathy Torres of Torres Ministries.
All of us worked in VBS, we each shared our testimony during one of the evening services or at VBS and we all helped hand out backpacks. Music was provided by Dianne, Steve, Kathy and Kerri throughout the week, whether in VBS and/or revival services.
While Lavelle, Steve and Morgan had to sweat in the hot sun leading softball, basketball and soccer, the rest of us were in the shade providing crafts, Bible Study and music. I had the privilege of teaching the Bible Study rotation of VBS (under a canopy) and doing the Missions portion of the closing assembly each day so no sun for me either!
At the beginning of the week all of us knew someone in the group but none of us knew everyone. By the end of the week we had all become a family. It’s impossible not to when you are working so closely together with one common goal in mind…the salvation of those we came in contact with.
As always, I fell in love with the people of Farmington, Aztex and Bloomfield, New Mexico and if the Lord allows, I am planning to join Open Door Missions again next summer. Until then, please join me in praying for the discipleship of those who heard the Gospel and responded as well as the salvation of those who heard the Gospel and did not respond. May we all meet again one day!