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WEST | Valley Baptist Church
Pastor Phil Neighbors
“California’s Central Valley hosts tens of thousands of migrant farm laborers. They follow the crops from north to south through the year,” said Valley Baptist Church co-pastor Phil Neighbors. The Bakersfield church joined the California Southern Baptist Convention’s (CSBC) Feeding Those Who Feed Us effort six years ago.


The convention gained access to the state migrant worker camps and encourages churches to adopt them. Valley Baptist adopted the North Shafter Labor Camp.


“During the height of the season there are 600 people, plus children,” said Neighbors. “We provide medical and dental clinics, host a weeklong Vacation Bible School and end it with a big family event. We cook carne asada and have an evangelistic service to cap the week. It has been very fruitful. At each large outreach event between 10-20 people respond to the gospel presentations.


“We connect people who respond to two Spanish-language SBC churches near the camp. We have also planted our first Spanish-language church, Living Stones. Guillermo Marquez is pastor.”


The majority of the migrant workers at the camp are Wahaca, a Mexican unreached people group, Neighbors said. Valley Baptist adopted the Wahaca through the International Mission Board’s Embrace strategy.


Valley Baptist is one of more than 120 CSBC churches serving through the migrant outreach that has seen 10,000 decisions for Christ in its 60 year history.


 


MIDWEST | Stowe Mission of Central Ohio
Director Michael Brooks
Just nine years ago this Southern Baptist ministry in Columbus provided 600 meals a month through their food pantry and had one volunteer dentist. Today, they provide 5,500 meals a month and have 12 volunteer dentists (plus a slew of close-to-graduation dental students) who provide free dental care for those in need. The ministry also provides free eye exams, school supplies and Christmas gifts for inner-city families.


The ministry’s 2011 numbers are mind-boggling:


• 108,000 meals served at the soup kitchen.


• 100 families received school supplies.


• 116 families received Christmas gifts.


• 1,100 people received eye exams and eyeglasses.


• 800 people were helped by their dental clinic.


• 38 people have accepted Christ.


Yet it’s not about the numbers for Michael Brooks, president of Stowe Mission of Central Ohio. It’s about comprehensively helping the poor and disadvantaged in the inner city of Ohio’s most populous urban area.


The mission takes every opportunity to share Christ with those they’re helping. And it’s local churches that make the ministry happen.


Brooks estimates around half of the 102 churches in the Metro Columbus Baptist Association are involved in the ministries at Stowe.


“It’s an exciting time to be here,” says Brooks. “When people get saved at our churches, they want to come to the inner city and volunteer.


“There is a real synergy as they see their lives changed and want to see that happen in the inner city.”


ON MISSION • Summer 2012 25

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