Sometimes God weaves stories in ways you never would have guessed. Michael Goforth says he’s seen it happen — in his family and on a global scale.
It all started with giving an evangelist a ride to the airport back in the early 1990s when Goforth was pastor of First Baptist Church, Arley.
Sharing the vision
“We had hosted an evangelist from Texas in revival, and on my way to take him to the airport he invited me to go with him and a team from South Carolina to Romania,” Goforth said.
The country had recently come out from underneath communism and the missions team just had a team member drop out — one spot had just opened up.
Goforth said yes.
And that one “yes” kicked off something he never dreamed. He kept going, started leading teams and after moving to Sardis Baptist Church, Boaz, in 1999, shared the vision with them too. Through the years in Romania, they carried out evangelism and helped 14 churches either construct buildings or add on.
Not only that — Sardis Baptist expanded its mission to other places including the Dominican Republic, hurricane-hit Florida, Maine, Michigan, West Virginia, New York, Mississippi, Ohio and the Amazon Basin.
That last one is something special, Goforth said. Some Sardis Baptist members were so moved by the needs in the Amazon that they started a nonprofit organization called Amazon Hope, which boats teams in to areas unreached by the gospel.
“We’ve been tied up in missions in Romania and other places for years and years and years — the church has been very supportive of it,” Goforth said.
Along the way as those relationships grew deep, he added a son-in-law — Paul Marin, a young Romanian man who married his youngest daughter. They were married eight and a half years and had two children before Marin was killed in a car accident in Oneonta. Their third child was born two weeks after he died.
“Paul was a wonderful Christian young man and he became a deacon here at Sardis — great husband and dad,” Goforth said.
Goforth’s daughter, Holly, has since remarried, and Amazon Hope’s new boat bears Marin’s name as it heads down the Amazon toward the unreached. More than 700 people professed faith in Christ this year as a result of teams boated in on the Paul Marin.
“Our lives are a big picture of God weaving our lives with both bad and good to bring Him glory,” Goforth said. “It’s amazing to see.”
And in early June Goforth preached the 100th anniversary service of one of the churches at which Sardis Baptist worked — Campia Turzii in northwest Romania. It was his 26th trip to the country.
“It’s amazing to see how God puts pieces of the puzzle together,” he said. “It’s just spread.”