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Familyfest spreads Gospel in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (BP) — Indianapolis typically serves as a crossroad for families on end-of-summer vacations, but for those headed to Familyfest, the “Crossroads of America” was an intentional destination. The July 18–22 missions opportunity allowed 134 volunteers from 16 states to gather in one of the nation’s largest unchurched cities to share the Gospel.

Volunteers from ages 6 to 80 served together through backyard Bible clubs, construction projects, Vacation Bible School, community ministries, prayerwalking, sports camps, home visits and block parties.

Carolyn Slaughter of First Baptist Church, El Campo, Texas, served alongside her granddaughters Caitlyn and Cameron at Gasburg Baptist Church by helping host a sports camp, prayerwalking and conducting community surveys. Slaughter welcomed the opportunity to lead her family in missions.

“We can learn things better by example,” Slaughter said. “It is a sharing and a bonding time. It brings family and friends together in a spirit of unity and harmony.”

Slaughter said she treasures spending time serving the Lord with her family and seeing her granddaughters “getting to know God more intimately. I will always remember having this experience with my granddaughters,” she said. “[They were] able to see me on a different level other than ‘Nana.’ It was also great for me to see them on a different level.”

Amanda Ridenour, the Woman’s Missionary Union director of West LaFollette Baptist Church, LaFollette, Tenn., served with her son Maze and her husband Sampson, who pastors the LaFollette church.

She said one benefit of generations serving alongside one another is that “the younger learns from the older, [while] the older is energized from the excitement of the younger,” which was evident as the family served at their ministry sites.

“We served at Sunnyside Road Baptist Church, conducting home visits as follow-up from a previous family event,” Ridenour said. “We also served at Calvary Baptist Church, Greenfield, where we did backyard Bible clubs, prayerwalking, and flyer distribution in the neighborhood.”

Although Indianapolis has a reputation for good schools, conservative values and all-American charm, four out of five residents do not attend church anywhere, according to the North American Mission Board.

“We had many open doors to talk to people, and many seemed receptive to receiving the information we gave them about the local churches we worked with,” Ridenour reported. “I’ll most remember the Muslim family we shared our testimonies with while doing visits with Sunnyside.”

The Indianapolis Familyfest was a partnership between national WMU, Indiana WMU, Send Indianapolis and Crossroads Baptist Association.

National WMU will host the next Familyfest in Aurora, Colo., June 25–29, 2016, in addition to two Missionsfest opportunities in 2016, including one in Spartanburg, S.C., July 16–20, and another in northeastern Indiana Sept. 17–21. For more information, visit wmu.com/trips.