News Articles

Jericho vols complete projects for missions around the world

GLORIETA, N.M. (BP)–In a step of faith that volunteers would come, supplies for sewing infant receiving blankets and Bible covers, gluing bookmarks, constructing wooden toys for a day-care center in Brazil and assembling gifts for Arkansas prison inmates to give their children were laid out July 26 in a conference room and a canvas tent at Glorieta (N.M.) Baptist Conference Center.
The volunteers did come and by the end of the Jericho Southern Baptist Missions Festival on Aug. 1 each project requested by a North American or international missionary had been completed. Missionaries who had requested the projects had worked alongside the volunteers and plans were made for getting the items to the mission fields.
While carpentry projects have been a missions option in earlier Jericho conferences, 1997 was the first time other types of projects were offered, according to James Warren, mission projects coordinator and event coordination manager at the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.
“We’ve had an ample amount of volunteers to do the projects,” Warren said. “This is a way Southern Baptists can see missions firsthand. It also helps them meet other conferees and feel more a part of the Southern Baptist family.”
Volunteer seamstresses worked with Southern Baptist missionary Margaret Waldrop who serves on the island of Curacao of the Netherlands Antilles, located 30 miles west of the coast of Venezuela. Baptists speaking the papiamento dialect got their first complete Bible translated in their language in May of this year. Before, only an old translation of the New Testament had been available in papiamento, a mixture of Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, French and English.
Therefore, the Old Testament was not preached, Waldrop said as she sewed Bible covers to protect the new Bibles. At the next table, Mary Moore from First Baptist Church, Abilene, Texas, used a pattern to cut out the covers.
“I sew at home and I thought I could help,” said Moore, who has been attending conferences at Glorieta for 40 years.
Racks to hold the Bibles and a songbook translated by Waldrop were being constructed by other volunteers.
In another project, youth and adult volunteers assembled 200 kits containing coloring books, crayons and children’s literature. Ricardo Alcoser, chief chaplain at the Federal Correctional Institution in Forrest City, Ark., will provide the kits to inmates in December to give as Christmas gifts to their children.
Through this type of ministry, “inmates realize I’m more than a staff person, that I do ministry not only with them but with their families,” Alcoser said. “I depend heavily on volunteers to have things such as Bibles to give inmates.”
In the construction tent, volunteers were cutting, assembling and painting wooden blocks and cars for a day-care center operated by First Baptist Church, Florestal, Brazil. The small church of about 60 members is led by a volunteer pastor who is a medical doctor, said Mattie Lou Bible, a missionary in south Brazil.
Tina Dille, a woodworker by trade and member of First Church of the Nazarene, Sparta, Tenn., spray painted wooden blocks.
“This is something I know how to do,” Dille said. “You’re supposed to serve as your talents dictate.”
Many of the carpentry volunteers had no experience, but Frank Green, property manager for Faith Baptist Church, Bartlett, Tenn., and a member of Baptist Builders, was available to help. While he was attending his first Jericho, Green is a veteran of at least 50 mission construction projects.
“It’s satisfying to make something and see it put to good use,” he said. “One of the side joys is to teach a young person or adult to do something they’ve never done before.”
Sporting goggles and sawdust all over her black sweatshirt, 14-year-old Jackie Gunn of College Baptist Church, Big Spring, Texas, was making toy cars, wedges, tunnels and a yield sign.
“Yesterday I learned how to use the band saw,” she said proudly.
Amy Stephenson of First Baptist Church, Irving, Texas, was cutting out wooden wheels for cars with a drill press, although she had to ask someone the name of the tool she had just used for the first time.
“I like doing things for other people. Power tools are my thing,” Stephenson said with a grin.
Pat Register of First Baptist Church, Cocoa, Fla., sewed infant receiving blankets, a task similar to one she had done earlier with the sewing group from her church.
The blankets will be used by Sheila Mitchell, director of Day Spring Villa in Tulsa, Okla., a center for homeless women and their children. Other volunteers assembled kits containing baby toiletries, socks, a gospel tract and other items.
Mitchell said the center will soon provide a residence program for pregnant unwed teenagers who will be the beneficiaries of the blankets and kits.
Bookmarks for use by the Baptist Spanish Publishing House in El Paso, Texas, kits for mothers and their children visiting a nutrition center in Ghana and kits including toiletries and a gospel tract for the seamen’s ministry in Freeport, Texas, were among other projects completed during the week.
Warren said the Jericho steering committee committed $15,000 to buy supplies for the projects. In addition, the Baptist Sunday School Board donated New Testaments, teaching pictures, literature, TeamKID balls and tracts. Woman’s Missionary Union adopted two projects and provided the supplies. The Brotherhood Commission (now part of the North American Mission Board’s ministries) donated shipping boxes and tape. NAMB and the International Mission Board are arranging for the completed projects to get to the mission field.
At the Jericho conference at Ridgecrest (N.C.) Baptist Conference Center earlier in the summer, participants contributed $1,001 which was used to buy two sewing machines to make the blankets and Bible covers at Glorieta. Glorieta participants contributed $1,249.50.
In other opportunities for hands-on missions experiences, groups of Jericho participants conducted a survey for a Hispanic church in nearby Santa Fe, visited a prison and toured areas around Santa Fe to learn more about living in a multicultural setting.
Jericho was sponsored by the Sunday School Board, North American Mission Board, International Mission Board and Woman’s Missionary Union.

    About the Author

  • Linda Lawson