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Girls give new life to cassette tapes

HURST, Texas (BP)–Hand a cassette tape to a typical grade-schooler and she’s likely to say, “Huh? What’s this?”

Hand a cassette tape to one of the GAs at First Baptist Church in Hurst, Texas, and she’ll slip it into a duplicator to record Bible stories that could change the lives of the Songhai people in Niger, West Africa.

The project began with a church-wide vision to reach four dozen villages along the Mehanna Road, a 45-mile riverside stretch populated by people who had never heard about Jesus.

The vision caught on quickly with Girls in Action. About 50 GAs created encouragement cards for missionaries in the Mehanna Road region and collected change for a “pennies for Africa” offering drive.

A special spring break “Flip Flops and Fun” day gave the GAs additional opportunities to participate in the church’s ministry to the Songhai. After a session of mini-pedicures, the girls opened packages of tapes and supplies, cataloged the contents and duplicated and decorated more than 800 tapes with audio Bibles in the Songhai language. The tapes were delivered to the Songhai people in March and May by a volunteer mission team from First Baptist.

A feature about the Songhai people and the cassette duplication project that appeared in GA World, the publication for GAs published by WMU, created an interest among GAs all over the country. Soon after the article ran, a steady stream of donations began to arrive at First Baptist Hurst.

“The response has been amazing!” said Kimberly Wirt, who leads the church’s missions initiatives. “We have received over 10,000 cassette tapes, 400 dolls, soccer balls, tons of notes and cards of encouragement, and pictures of children working on their projects. We are still receiving tapes.”

GA leader Christie Taylor said the involvement of other GA groups in the project gave girls a global perspective of missions. A bulletin board in First Baptist’s GA room is covered with pictures of groups that sent tapes or supplies, and the girls are pinpointing the varied locations on a U.S. map as well as praying for each participating GA group.

And prayers for the ministry are being answered. Wirt reports that a bush taxi driver who received a Bible on cassette removed the Muslim prayer rug from his car a few days after listening to it, and even was playing the tape at high volume in the vicinity of a group of Muslim men finishing their daily prayers. Songhai recipients of the cassettes have recounted to the missionaries in the region how and with whom they are sharing the Scriptures.

Wirt said she is excited that a single church’s project has turned into a multi-church mission. “It has been a blessing to educate our church membership on the wonderful things that the GAs are doing at FBC Hurst and around the world!” she said.
G.G. Mathis works with children at Forest Park Baptist Church in Joplin, Mo.

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  • G. G. Mathis