Headline News from around the Southeast for October 28

Arkansas

Jeremy and Natalia Aylett made their way all the way from Russellville, Arkansas, to San Diego, California, 10 years ago. As the two have invested their lives and ministry in what is known as “America’s finest city,” they have discovered that San Diego has great weather and “good vibes” but “is also full of spiritual, physical and relational brokenness,” reported Arkansas Baptist News. Sent out as church planting apprentices in 2011 by First Baptist Church Russellville, Jeremy Aylett said, “We wanted to be in a global city where there was great gospel need. We speak Spanish, and San Diego is right on the border. … We found San Diego to be a great fit.” He has served as the lead planter and pastor of a few churches in San Diego and is now the Send City missionary there. In this role he assesses, trains and encourages other planters in the area. Click here to read more of this story.

Georgia

The Agape Shoppe in Bainbridge launched in 2006 by two women from First Baptist Church serves the needs of foster children through providing emergency clothes, school supplies, baby formula, diapers and even food, the Christian Index reported. Throughout the history of Agape Shoppe, the community has donated needed items to keep the ministry going. This past year FBC, through the leadership of Pastor Chris Humphries, provided a building after Agape Shoppe lost the building it had called home for more than a decade. Also, the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s Women’s Ministries and Bowen Baptist Association have pledged financial support for the ministry. “God provided the way,” said Delrose Betts, who launched the ministry 14 years ago. “I just had to step back and let Him do it.” Click here to read more of this story.

Kentucky

After three years of planning and praying, a merger of three Kentucky Baptist associations into one has been completed, creating the North Central Baptist Network, Kentucky Today reported. The Shelby, Oldham-Trimble and Henry County Baptist associations approved the merger in their respective annual meetings this fall. The network, at its inception, is composed of 61 Kentucky Baptist churches. The three current associational mission strategists plan to retire soon, and one person will be called into a full-time position for the network. The merger “will give us an opportunity to pool our resources and do some significant things in our area,” said Steve Gouge, part-time AMS in Shelby Association. “We will be more of a regional entity and have a larger voice for our Lord.” Harry Hebert, Shelby Association moderator, agreed, writing in the association’s newsletter that approving the proposal would result in “moving forward in our Great Commission work as one network, maximizing our resources and leveraging our collective energies to have a more significant kingdom impact on our region.” Click here to read more of this story.

Louisiana

After a full year away from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in the desert sands of Iraq, Adam Harwood returned home to a hero’s welcome Oct. 8. Harwood, a chaplain with the Louisiana National Guard, also serves as professor of theology at NOBTS and editor of the school’s Journal for Baptist Theology and Ministry. On his deployment, Harwood offered pastoral and religious support to U.S. and Coalition soldiers as well as civilian contractors working on the base, ministering to people of many different faith backgrounds, NOBTS reported. “Chaplains are different than pastors because we provide religious support to all people without violating our own religious convictions or the constraints of our ecclesial endorser,” Harwood said. “In my case, that is the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.” He also led weekly chapel services, Bible studies and special worship events, and he provided confidential counseling and prayers for many in his sphere of influence. Click here to read more of this story.

North Carolina

When Samantha crossed the stage at her high school graduation, with solid plans to go to college in her future, it was a moment she couldn’t have imagined until five years ago. Since the age of five, Samantha had been in the custody of the foster care system. With multiple placements and difficult circumstances, Samantha doubted her future success. Five years ago, she went to live in Odum Home in Pembroke, North Carolina, owned and operated by Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina. There, hope for her future brightened, BCH reported. With her physical and emotional needs covered, Samantha became a Christian. “Christ being a part of the children’s lives and helping to give them hope for the future is phenomenal for them,” said Kathy Locklear, campus manager at Odum Home. “There are people that aren’t blood that have been there for me and shared God’s word with me,” Samantha said, adding, “I don’t feel like I would’ve gotten saved if not for Odum.” With a generous scholarship in her pocket, Samantha has been accepted at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Click here to read more of this story.

Tennessee

Bryan Howard, worship pastor at Round Lick Baptist Church in Watertown, was raised by a single mother and had always wanted to minister to single mothers and widows. Recently, he discovered the opportunity to do so, the Baptist and Reflector reported. At a community outreach meeting hosted by Wilson County Baptist Association, Howard recalled an article he had read previously about a church that provided free oil changes. Within three months, the vision became reality. “We firmly believe this ministry is something God has ordained,” Howard said. A location was found, businesses supported the ministry and the free oil changes began. While one changes the oil and tends to other routine maintenance, the mothers are greeted by another team member. Volunteers are trying to build relationships and are ready to share a testimony or the gospel if the person is receptive. “Jesus said you have to meet physical needs before you meet spiritual needs. We are just planting seeds,” Howard said.  Click here to read more of this story.