2007 Maguire State Mission Offering
Men & women on knees in prayer in W. Va. see God's blessing
By MARGARET DEMPSEY
Florida Baptist Convention
Published August 16, 2007
Members at Lighthouse Baptist Church pray in an abandoned
school that now serves as their church, purchased in part with a
loan from the Maguire State Mission Offering.
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IVYDALE, WV (FBC)—What does God's blessing look like?
For Rick Canfield, pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church in Ivydale, W.V., God's blessing looks like a gravel parking lot that will one day be a playground filled with children's laughter. God's blessing looks like a welcomed monthly stipend check that allows him to fulfill God's call on his life. God's blessing looks like men and women, on their knees, earnestly praying for those yet to be reached with the Gospel message.
"The Lord has blessed us," said pastor Canfield, through the missions partnership with Florida Baptists.
Since 2002, Florida Baptists have been in a missions partnership with the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists. It is a partnership of financial assistance, supplemented through the Maguire State Mission Offering, prayer and direct personal involvement. Through the partnership, Florida Baptists are fulfilling the Great Commission, nurturing Kingdom growth.
Rick Canfield, pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church in Ivydale, W.V., ministers to a woman in the economically deprived, drug-infested community in which the church is located.
"We're so grateful for the help that Florida Baptists give us. We could not be doing what we're doing now without the help of Florida Baptists," said Terry Harper, executive director of the West Virginia convention, which is a young 35 years old. The state convention has approximately 200 churches for its statewide population of 1.8 million. About 70 percent of West Virginians do not attend a Gospel preaching church.
Canfield dreams that his church, in an economically deprived, drug-infested community, will one day be a "life-saving station," where residents can find hope for the future. The church has bought an elementary school, which it is slowly and deliberately transforming into a "safe haven" for those living nearby.
"Florida Baptists were very, very much involved in helping us get this property, and the Lord has blessed us because of it," he said.
Within six months of purchasing the school building, the church was attracting as many as 50 people to Sunday morning worship services. But worship services are only the beginning of Canfield's dreams. "With the facility that we have, we can offer more than just a sanctuary and a church service, we can have other ministries to help area residents," he said.
He dreams of a playground for children who have never known a carefree day. He dreams of a temporary transitional home for teens after they leave a drug rehabilitation center. He dreams of providing lunch daily to impoverished Clay County residents, young and old alike. He dreams of a Saturday activity program for children and a Thursday evening time of Bible study and fellowship for adults. He even dreams of a free daycare for parents who are able to find employment.
The partnership with Florida Baptists is critical for those dreams to become a reality, Canfield believes. "The Bible says we ought to pray daily. Our number one need is for Florida Baptists to pray for our ministry here," he said.
"And, yes, we could use some money" to purchase what is needed to continue and enhance the ministry, Canfield explained, describing his church's need for a roof.
Of course, he added, "teams to pitch in and give us a hand would be helpful."
"The people in Florida will be rewarded one day for being part of our ministry here, and we thank God for them," said Canfield.