Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Church Plant in Bullhead City, Arizona

The following is written by Brother Steven Harris. Bro. Harris was born in Ippy, Central African Republic, on October 19, 1964. His parents were missionaries to the Central African Republic. In 1989 Brother Steven Harris and his family went to the field of New Zealand as missionaries . They returned from the field of New Zealand in March of 1991, because their daughter Bethany was terminally ill with a brain tumor. She passed away in April, 1991. On the day Bethany died they were informed that New Zealand had revoked their visa. (His complete testimony can be read on the Mohave Baptist Church homepage). 

"Thus began our search for God’s direction and our next step of missionary service. Knowing that the field is the world we were open to the wherever of God’s leadership. We earnestly prayed and specifically considered Africa, Wales, Russia, Australia as well as many other countries of opportunity and need. I was asked by a pastor friend if I had ever considered church planting in the U.S. That is where God started it all. I could not get away from that question. God was leading me west. I began to look for towns and cities that had no independent Baptist churches. At the end of January of 1993, God made His will know that the town of Bullhead City, Arizona was where He was leading and by February 5th we arrived.

"I immediately began door knocking on every door beginning at the Colorado River and California border and working north. In my very first week of door knocking I met two families that would eventually become charter members of the Mohave Baptist Church although it took them quite a few more years to begin attending services. At first it was my hope to hold services in our house there in the valley but no visitors ever came. On Sunday, May 2nd, 1993, we began hold services at 5287 Highway 95, Fort Mohave, Arizona. Still no one came, but we started and continued with Sunday school at 9.30 Am, Morning service at 10:30 AM, Evening service at 5:00 PM, and our mid-week service at 7:00 PM on Thursday. 

"Although soul winning was an almost daily activity, it wasn’t until the winter of 1994 that God began to increase our number. By our first CHRISTmas party in December of 1994 we saw an average attendance of thirty-five to forty. Our attendance included the Berry Family, the Ortiz family, the Riley family, the Shipman family, the Weaver family and a few more names that elude me at this time. By March of 1995 everyone of those families had moved out of state and we began again. Possibly one of the hardest moments of ministry in my life up to that time. By that time, my soul winning door to door had reached well up into the city of Bullhead City. The question that begged to be asked was, “Okay, so I came, I have knocked on almost every door in town. Almost everyone has heard and had their opportunity. No one is interested. God, can I leave?” The answer was no and I wasn't at all happy with the answer. 

"In February of 1996, we had our first Evangelistic Meeting with the help of the youth group from Anchor Baptist Church in Salt Lake City, Utah, and a group of men led by Pastor Ed Bragg of Lafayette Bible Baptist Church of Baldwin, Missouri. Bill Kinman was contacted and I was able to go by his house and lead him to the Lord. Just down the street one of the men had spoken with Henry Angon and he had made a profession of faith. God had begun to lay the seed that would lead to the salvation of others surrounding those lives. Others that are still a very real part of Mohave Baptist Church. Through that meeting and those souls saved God encouraged my heart and changed my attitude and I happily stayed to see God do great things at Mohave Baptist Church. 

"It was 2003, it had become obvious that God had established His work in the Mohave Baptist Church. I was still a missionary and the work was still a mission. It was time to organize as an autonomous work. We had a sufficient number of members to be autonomous; we had enough experience as a work to be autonomous. The question then became was it God’s will for the only “pastor” the work had ever know to be the pastor or was God’s will and calling in my life to continue as a missionary. It had been ten years since I had come to the Bullhead City area and I had become a pastor.  On Sunday, May 4th, 2003, forty people signed the charter membership of Mohave Baptist Church. Mohave Baptist Church was now it’s own autonomous church. 

"On Sunday, November 23rd, I resigned as the pastor and Gary Johnson became pastor of Mohave Baptist Church." 

The church is now growing and continuing its work for the Lord under the leadership of Pastor Don Randall Jr. 

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