Roy, Utah – On Sunday, July 31, 2022, members of The Gathering Place Church, a new church plant in Roy, UT gathered to fill 40 backpacks for school children in their community. With the drastic change in the economy and the rapid increases in costs for supplies, the church enthusiastically responded to help out the kids.
The backpacks were given through the North American Mission Board’s Send Relief: Backpack initiative. The supplies were all by donation of the congregation. We will deliver some backpacks to each of two local elementary schools and give some out at the annual Roy Days celebration.
The Gathering Place Church is a small congregation with a big heart who trust in a BIG God and has seen time and time again how He provides.
Article by Jim Panagoplos, Pastor of the Gathering Place Church
TWIN FALLS, ID – “You’re going to want to sit down for what I’m about to tell you.” When you’re a church planter and Mike Palmer, Send Utah-Idaho Network Coordinator uses that sentence to begin a conversation with you, you know God is about to do something big. And that’s just what happened in November and December of 2021. For the next six weeks, the UISBC helped Twin Falls Community Church serve 10,800 boxes of food filled with produce, milk, and yogurt to the Magic Valley Community in Idaho.
Though our conversation happened in the second week of November, the people of Twin Falls Community Church had been praying for several months that God would open doors to help us reach three local people groups: Refugees, the Foster Care System, and the Public School System. When I received the phone call from Mike, I knew immediately that God was answering our corporate prayer requests. Mike explained that an anonymous donor had given 1800 boxes of food to be delivered every Monday from November 22 to the end of the year. Though we were not yet a year old and only had 17 members of our baby church, I knew that God was going to take our “five loaves and two fish” to literally feed five thousand…10,800 to be precise.
Since we were a baby church, I reached out to Pastor Paul Thompson of Eastside Baptist Church and a handful of other pastors in our area to ask them if they would join us in serving our community. I explained that our goal was not just to fill bellies but to feed souls. Every pastor I asked was eager to jump on board, including a handful of pastors who are not a part of the Southern Baptist Convention. I asked 9Marks ministries to donate tracts to hand out and asked the UISBC to help us with funding to be able to support such a missions endeavor. God answered prayer after prayer.
Through the collaborative work of six local churches (SBC and non-SBC), God gave us the opportunity to reach our three target people groups mentioned above, as well as hundreds more in the Magic Valley. While food distribution is not our mission as a church, it is a part of our function as a church as we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves…to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this broken world.
We praise God for what He accomplished this last year and look forward to seeing HIM yield more fruit for His glory in the coming days, weeks, months, and years. We also thank the churches of the UISBC that helped Twin Falls Community Church pull off such a large operation. We pray that God will continue to water the seeds of the gospel that were planted at the end of 2021 and that those seeds will yield fruit for His glory for all eternity.
Aaron Scott is the planting pastor of Twin Falls Community Church in the Magic Valley Association of Idaho.
If you or your church would like to be a part of stories like this, reach out to one of our UISBC Missionary staff and we would be happy to brainstorm ways in which we can assist you in your mission to reach your community. Funding may be available from our State Missions Offering accounts, as well as through our national network partnerships.
Kids learn and master goat tying at RBC, Lemhi River Fairgrounds
SALMON, ID – Lemhi River Cowboy Church hosted their first ever Rodeo Bible Camp at the Lemhi County Fairgrounds March 25-27. The camp was for kindergarten through high school kids who wanted to learn or improve their rodeo skills. The church chose to do it before the high school rodeo season started so the kids could have the opportunity to get themselves and their horses ready for the season. They focused on horsemanship, barrels, poles, goat tying, calf roping, and team roping. When they were not in their rodeo clinic, they could do leatherwork, tie dye t-shirts, braid, rope, or just hang out with friends. It culminated with a community dinner, cowboy church, the rodeo, and the awards presentation on Sunday. The kids had a great time and the Lord was working in a mighty way.
Article by Amber Harden. Amber and Nathan, along with their family, serve across Utah and Idaho as Mission Service Corps Volunteers through the North American Mission Board. God uses them through their skills to assist churches and share the gospel through construction service projects. To reach Nathan and Amber or to contribute to their mission with a tax-deductible gift, visit their blog at “A Carpenter for Christ“.
Mission Team in Utah speaks with Chip Thompson of Tri Grace ministries.
Salt Lake City, UT- The mission field is huge and might seem insurmountable, but that is not slowing down the efforts to push back the darkness at the University of Utah and two other campuses in Utah County. Gospel Grace Church in Salt Lake City hosted a mission team of college students on their spring break last month. Teams from their own congregation joined them to present the gospel to anyone who will listen while ministering to all three campuses. One of teams helped pave the way for a large scale event on the University of Utah campus that was well attended.
Aaron Marshall, the leader of Gospel Grace Church’s collegiate ministry shared about the success of this event. “We hosted Frank Turek for his I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist presentation. We were able to co-sponsor the event with three other campus ministries which was awesome. We ended up having close to 400 people in attendance. They all heard the evidence for Christianity and a clear Gospel presentation. I was so excited for the turnout. We made a lot of contacts that night and have had multiple new people come to our meetings as a result of the event.”
Following the presentation, the weekly gatherings at “the U” were opportunities to follow up on questions that were raised by Turek at the event. Aaron shared “The meeting after the event we had one of my atheist friends, Daniel, come and give a response to Turek’s arguments. He then let the students ask him questions and challenge him. He is a former Later-day Saint that is now atheist. Our student President, Vince Mays, ended up staying and talking with him for over three hours after the meeting. Vince is a PhD candidate in Biology and was challenging Daniel on the origins of life. We continue to pray that Daniel will come to know the true Jesus.”
Aaron continued to share about the growth they have experienced this spring. “We have picked up at least one more person that wants to do evangelism with us on the campuses, so we are very excited about that. We now have four people that are going out weekly to do evangelism. The month of April should be great because the weather will be nice and we will set up our evangelism table outside. Please pray for our team as we try to share the gospel on the campus of The U, UVU and BYU this month.”
Please pray for college ministry work on all of our college campuses across Utah and Idaho. 100% of the collegiate work on our campuses if supported by local churches, associations, and a portion of the York Dillman State Missions Offering. We depend on the faithfulness of local UISBC churches and volunteers who have a passion to reach this generation. Pray for our Collegiate Network Coordinator, Ben Nesier as he helps equip local leaders on these campuses and serves campuses in his own community of Utah County through a collegiate church plant in Provo, Mosaic Church. God is sending mission teams from across the country to our area. They need our support and prayers as they serve in this important task. For more information about how you can impact a campus near you, please contact Ben Neiser. He would welcome you on the team to help reach these important mission fields.
Aaron Marshall of Gospel Grace Church in Salt Lake City contributed the testimonies of students and events that were discussed in this story.
College mission team in Utah to support Gospel Grace Church’s collegiate ministry outreach
Vince Mays, president of Gospel Grace Church college ministry introduces Frank Turek
Over 400 students and faculty attended the “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist” seminar at U of U campus
Christian LDS Apologist, Jared Halverson, helps train mission team in Utah
Mission Team in Utah speaks with Chip Thompson of Tri Grace ministries.
UISBC Collegiate Network Coordinator, Ben Nesier, prepares mission team in Utah to share the gospel on BYU campus
BOULDER, CO – When Disaster Relief teams are activated in an area, it is often during the most difficult days in the lives of the people they are called to serve. This was especially true when teams from Utah and Idaho were activated to serve families who lost all their worldly possessions in the Marshall Fire that ravaged communities in Superior and Boulder, CO.
Magic Valley (Idaho) Disaster Relief volunteers, Brenda Crisp and Cathy Keever connected with other DR Volunteers in Utah, February 18, 2022. The Utah team included Don Dana and Chuck Jones from Sandy, David Porter from Provo, and Dan Schaffner from Elko, NV. The next morning the combined crews left for Boulder, CO where they joined UISBC DR Director Russel and Clara Hohmann, who had been in Colorado since Feb 4. The plan was to work in ash-out crews after the Marshall fire hit Boulder County December 30, 2021. The fire destroyed 1084 homes and two lives were lost.
The Utah Idaho Volunteers served with DR teams from Missouri, Arizona, Ohio, Virginia, Alabama, Florida and Colorado. There was a total of fifteen teams that worked this disaster over a period of eight weeks. The majority of their work was sifting the rubble for valuables. Of the over 1800 homes destroyed, 430 of them were completely sifted by the DR teams. Over $100,000.00 of gold was recovered, 2000 pounds of coins, 100 diamond rings, other precious jewels and jewelry were all returned to the grateful homeowners. This was an affluent neighborhood with many accumulated valuables.
Teams were sifting two houses per day. The temperature was extremely cold and at least twice teams had to work in the snow. Hand and feet warmers were a welcomed luxury the team enjoyed when one of the members located some in a local store. The pipes froze in the shower and laundry trailer. Team members were having to descend ladders to access basements. Other team members assisted in the kitchen preparing meals for the many State DR Teams present in the camp.
The team was informed that Boulder County is one of the most unreached counties in Colorado. Among the rubble, several Buddha statues were found, along with many other statues to false gods. When the team finishes a home site, a Bible is signed by the crew and the teams are given the opportunity to pray with homeowners. Before the Utah Idaho team left for their return trip home, they heard that there were fifteen first time professions of faith in Christ made by locals in Boulder. We were also told that in the town of Superior (where many of these homes were located) there are currently no evangelical churches. When someone saw what Southern Baptist Disaster Relief was doing, that person decided that maybe they should have a church in their community. Plans are being made to locate a church planter in that community this month (March) to seek out the opportunities to plant an SBC church.
All work in the Marshall Fire area of Boulder, CO was to be completed by March 1 by order of State and Local Government officials. As of now, all teams have returned to their respective homes.
If you want to know more about how you can be involved in a local Utah or Idaho Disaster Relief team, visit our website at www.uisbc.org/disaster-relief.
This story was submitted by Cathy Keever, MVBC Disaster Relief Co-Coordinator. Photos submitted by Russel Hohmann, UISBC Disaster Relief Director.
Warsaw, Poland (BP/IMB)- Polish Baptists and International Mission Board missionaries quickly rallied to respond to the needs of Ukrainian refugees crossing the border to seek sanctuary from the attack on their homeland.
Josh and Bailey Krause serve with the IMB in Warsaw, Poland, and are the liaisons between the IMB, Send Relief and the Polish Baptist Union. After meeting with Send Relief partners, Josh met with the president of the Polish Baptist Union to hear their plans and determine how Send Relief funds can assist Ukrainian refugees.
The Polish Baptist Union initially hoped to house 500 refugees. They have since doubled that number to 1,000. Eight centers were designated to receive refugees, but Baptists increased the number to 40 camps located across Poland.
The Krauses said the Polish Baptist Union is outfitting the camps with sheets, pillows, food and hygiene items. Send Relief funds are being used to support these efforts, as well as transportation needs.
IMB missionary Ken Brownd said First Baptist Church of Gdasnk, Poland, committed to hosting one of the centers to receive refugees. Brownd said a church member recently moved into a new house and his old home, which is next to the church, is being prepped to house refugees. The church also converted a youth room and a meeting room into a shelter for refugees.
Members of FBC Gdansk drove to the border of Poland and Ukraine to receive women and children. Church members formed relationships with these women and children through summer camps. For years, the church sent teams to a city in western Ukraine and hosted Vacation Bible Schools.
The church members waited, and slept, in the van for hours at the border, as hotels were booked in the area, with no word from the women and children. Lines at the border were rumored to be around 10 kilometers long and a 15-hour wait. Over the weekend, five women and children arrived at the church, and others traveled to other Baptist camps. Another 18 refugees are in transit to FBC Gdansk.
Bailey said other Polish Baptist churches and individuals have and will provide transportation for refugees.
A Baptist church in the city of Chelm posted on their Facebook page that they have already sheltered 120 refugees. Church members remain on duty 24 hours to receive refugees. Hotels, businesses and individuals have joined the efforts to help the church by providing food, mattresses and bedding.
Brownd said Polish Baptists are using social media to organize the collection of supplies, and the response has been enthusiastic and generous.
“It’s just cool to see Polish Baptists stepping up and taking care of their neighbors. They’ve done that for a long time now, but this is a different level,” Brownd said. “Our team is trying to organize the Send Relief help … but really, this is mostly driven by Polish Baptists, so we’re not the main players in this at all. We’re helpers, and so it’s amazing.”
Nightly prayer meetings are being held at First Baptist Gdansk. Polish and Ukrainian Christians have come together, and services are held in both languages. Poland is home to a significant population of Ukrainians, many of whom moved to Poland after unrest and conflicts in Ukraine in 2014. Many, if not all, of the Ukrainians in Poland have family members still living in Ukraine.
Josh said he’s encouraged by the “cooperation and the brotherhood between the Ukrainian Baptists and the Polish Baptists here and the way they’ve worked and gotten together. Everyone is coming together to say that we’re with our Ukrainian brothers and sisters.”
“Whenever there is a new crisis, everybody rallies. As we’ve been working with the [Polish Baptist] Union and with different churches, we’ve seen their desire currently just to serve, to support, to love on their brothers and sisters from Ukraine,” Bailey said.
Bailey asked for continued prayer for Polish and Ukrainian Baptists in the weeks and months to come.
“Our prayer is that the churches would be praying for perseverance, because in two weeks, this is still going to be here. This is a new reality, not just for Ukrainian people, but also for the Polish people, and so [pray they will] handle that new reality well and with grace and patience.”
Brownd asked for prayer for refugees who left behind family members. Men, ages 18 to 60, must remain in the country when Ukraine declared martial law.
Josh and Bailey said their prayer is for the Lord to work in mighty ways during this time of crisis.
“The church in Ukraine is thriving and doing great, and so through this, I really hope that not only the believers and the churches in Ukraine come out even more strong and on fire, but the Polish churches, that they too would catch that and grow. The Lord can do great things out of destruction,” Bailey said.
Your gifts to Send Relief are already providing emergency food supplies, shelter and clothing to displaced families. Send Relief partners will continue to provide food relief, continue meeting shelter needs and offer transportation to those impacted by this crisis. Give now.
About the author:
Caroline Anderson writes for the IMB from Southeast Asia.