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BAPTIST PRESS: Our favorite stories from 2022

Portland, Tenn., Mayor Mike Callis presents 95-year-old Parnell Suttle with the 2021 Citizen of the Year Award. Facebook photo

NASHVILLE (BP) – The thought of baking enough cakes to equal one’s age plus 100 plus one would be daunting for anybody. But Parnell Suttle was 95! Still, though, in 2021 she baked 196 cakes that were distributed to friends and special events throughout the small town of Portland, Tenn. Her cakes were just part of the reason the First Baptist Portland member was named the town’s “Citizen of the Year” in February. Suttle was one of our favorite stories from 2022. Other favorite stories include beautiful salvations, superstars finding restoration, an SBC resolution offering healing to Native Americans and a missionary-slash-basketball coaching legend.

Here are a few more.

Tennessee quarterback and brother use NIL money to produce children’s book on Scripture

Before he became the Heisman front-runner leading the most feared offense in college football for the nation’s top-ranked team, Hendon Hooker thought it would be nice to write a children’s book.

Layer by layer, former Sherwood pastor discovered his adoption story

Michael Catt is highly opinionated. He loves movies and attends The Masters every year in Augusta. His library held 10,000 books when he retired last year as pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga.

SBC diversity has entered a new age, newly compiled data show

Alameda County, Calif., across the bay from San Francisco and including cities such as Oakland and Berkeley, probably wouldn’t be the first location Southern Baptists associate with a sign of the Convention’s future.

Spiritual songs anchor faith, preserve history of Black Americans

“Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior” and “There is a Fountain Filled With Blood” are among hymns and spiritual songs that have anchored the faith of Michelle “Missie” Branch, a seminary dean, public speaker, wife and mother.

Formerly incarcerated man finds Christ through outdoor kids’ ministry

Jason Gravely, a formerly incarcerated man now a part of Fincastle Baptist Church, said his skeptical search for God concluded with his involvement in the outdoor kids’ ministry program at the church, where he found spiritual answers and discipleship.

God’s grace seen after deputies’ suicides leave behind newborn

Sheriff’s deputies Clayton Osteen and Victoria Pacheco were smiling during the pre-Thanksgiving dinner celebrating the upcoming birth of their son Jayce. Weeks later the parents committed suicide.

Mealtime prayer results in gospel conversation, connects churches across country

Bowed heads before their meal on an anniversary trip led a Tennessee couple to an opportunity to share their faith. That encounter, in turn, was followed by a social media call-out for help and success in connecting the new believer to a local church.

SEBTS professor continues musical legacy as ‘The Ambassador’

Long before William Branch became a professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, he was known as one of the most influential Christian hip-hop artists of all-time, “The Ambassador.”

SWBTS student narrates ‘Jesus’ film in its 2,000th language

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary student Mang Siing recently became a part of history when he served as the narrator for the Zo language translation of the world-famous Jesus Film. The effort marked the film’s 2,000th available language.

With gratitude like gold, Paralympian set for Beijing

The first section of a snowboard cross race is neither straight nor narrow. The path includes hills and valleys that athletes cannot avoid and, in fact, their skill in navigating them has a large bearing on winning and losing.

Ukrainian family sees God’s hand in journey to Tennessee

Points along new Carson-Newman University professor Vova Gorbenko’s journey from Ukraine to Tennessee are marked with air raid sirens, explosions, bitter temperatures and a 20-hour drive under the cover of night. The details sound much like they were ripped from a movie plot. But for Vova and his family, every turn, every mile, and every step of their story has been real. Very real.

Healing from trauma can take ‘years of showing up’

About five years ago, Lynnette Ezell and a friend walked into a north Georgia Department of Family Services office bearing diapers. “I made an appointment and said, ‘How can we help?’” Ezell told Baptist Press in a phone interview, recalling the moment she sat down across the desk from a social worker.

Adding it all up, Florida church member rediscovers faith while building math team dynasty

For a guy in the 1980s, Will Frazer appeared to be living his best life now. A degree from the University of Florida led to a job on Wall Street as a bond trader. That led to an obscene amount of money in a place Frazer came to describe as “a moral sewer.” Eventually he had enough of both and at 27 years old bought a Ferrari and semi-retired to his native Florida, spending the next ten years playing a lot of golf and doing pretty much whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted.

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