HBC Columbia and GBC Joppa
Maureen and I flew into Baltimore Friday night (10-17-08) and had the pleasure of spending the weekend with Pastor Simpson and his wife Christina of Harvester Baptist Church.. We had a wonderful time of fellowship, and it was great seeing people we knew from years ago. Harvester Baptist Church is our sending church. It is the church where Maureen and I were saved, baptized, met, and were married. HBC is also the first church we had the privilege to get on a web page. They have since taken over maintenance of their own website. We continue to host it for them for free (ekklesia-online.com).
Maureen and I attended the missions banquet on Saturday night, and I was blessed to be able to present our work to the church. Two things about our ministry kept coming up in feedback provided by those that heard our first presentation.
- Domain Rescue Mission – I need to put more information up about this. Right now we have "rescued" 70+ domains that churches have let (for whatever reason) lapse. The need for this ministry was driven home for me when I was maintaining our database (Baptist-Ministries.org) and found advertising websites where a church website should be, and the advertising was many times not something you would want to find on what should have been a church website. I have also found a couple of porn sites on expired church domains. While this may not sound good, it can be much worse than it appears. Lets say you have a church website, and twenty other Independent Baptist websites are linked to you (not to mention the search engines). So I click a link (or my child clicks a link) to your church website, which has expired and been re-registered by a pornographer, and my child is met with graphic hardcore pornography. I am convinced that the Lord will hold people accountable. The domain is an asset representing the Kingdom of God, This would be similar to selling adult advertising on the side of a church bus!
- Spyware and Antivirus Software – On our ministry CD, I have included AVG Antivirus Software (Free Cersion) and Spybot Spyware/Malware (free) software. I personally installed Spybot on two computers (that were running Mcafee Internet Security) and found 82 PUPS (potentially unwanted programs) on each computer, 11 of which were actively running and could not be removed without a reboot. These programs at best can slow down your computer, at worst can send personal information to unscrupulous phishers (adds new meaning to "phishers of men"). This information can include bank records, credit card information, even monitor your keystrokes and send login information (including financial/bank accounts.
I also met a missionary at HBC named Jenny. When I asked if she had a website, she said no, that she was going to put one up on her church, but the church was redoing everything. She said she had looked at websites, but that "it was prohibitively expensive. I told her how to get in touch with her, that we provide free hosting and will create and update it for her at no charge. She was grateful and said she would get back with us to help her out.. We do not charge for anything we do at this time!
On Sunday morning, we went to Grace Baptist Church of Harford County. We gave little notice we were coming, but Pastor Tom McConkey gave me 5 minutes or so to talk about our ministry after he gave us an introduction. We had an "unofficial" website up for Bethel Baptist Church in Joppa. Pastor McConkey called and said he wanted to put up an "official" website, and that they were changing the name of the church to Grace Baptist Church of Harford County. The kick off meeting was coming up shortly, and we registered a domain for the new church name, and I was able to get a quick website up with information provided by the pastor via email (including a brochure) to get them online ahead of the kickoff. They have a beautiful small church nestled in a wooded area. They were having carnival Sunday after the morning service. I found out later the had 144 people show up for the carnival and saw 33 precious souls saved! (I was not able to write the numbers down, but I think this is what Pastor McConkey told me on the phone). Pastor McConkey has graciously offered to let mw speak at a morning service the next time we are back in Maryland.
Sunday afternoon we spent with friends we had from Harvester Baptist Church. Nancy and Debbie Shields were members of HBC about the same time we got saved. Nancy is the Treasurer for FamilyNet International, and is a close personal friend. We helped put Nancy's ministry online (Toolkit Ministries). I am maintaining her mailing list and website for her. She updates her website by sending me word documents in Email attachments and I update the website with her attachments. I registered her domain name and we are hosting her website.
We had a wonderful time and I thank all of you that had prayed for us.
I returned home on Monday (08/20) and am trying to catch up.
Thanks for all of you that are praying for us!
Please feel free to email me if you have any questions!