Gospel message brings revival to Peace Valley
By Susan Mires
October 26, 2004
PEACE VALLEY — The excitement shows through as Pastor Marion Cornett tells the story: a new believer wanted to be baptized, but never thought his wife, who was raised Catholic, would come to church.
On the Sunday of his baptism, his wife accompanied him to New Hope Baptist Church. She then asked to speak to Cornett, who shared the Gospel and helped her commit her life to Jesus Christ.
Those two changed lives are links in a chain of conversions that have created a full-blown revival in the country church.
“It’s been one family right after another,” Cornett says with amazement.
About 100 people attend weekly services at New Hope, but in the last six months, the church has experienced 50 salvations.
“I can’t take any credit for it, it’s got to be the Lord that’s doing it,” Cornett said.
The spiritual awakening began in March when the church held a soul-winning revival with training on how to lead someone to Christ. The next week, church members were encouraged to put their training to work and visit homes of lost people in the community.
“In that week’s time, 17 people were saved. Many of them were whole families,” Cornett said. “After that week it just kept growing.”
Church members have continued to share the good news with mind-boggling results. Most of the people who have been reached live within a few miles of the church, which is located in the rural com-munity of Peace Valley, near West Plains.
“This has just been one-on-one visits with people and getting into their homes and sharing the Gospel in a way they understand,” Cornett said. “You just can’t say anything except it’s the Lord’s doing.”
Even though the visitation team goes to visit one person in a home, they often end up sharing with the entire family.
“That’s exciting to see a mom and three daughters accept the Lord or a man who is already a Christian and his wife and daughter accept the Lord.”
The revival has also touched the home of Cornett and his wife, Paula. Their sons Michael, 16, and Jonathan, 12, were both saved this summer.
About half of the converts have been baptized and New Hope is conducting discipleship classes for new believers. A 50 percent increase in new believers in a few months has also brought challenges as the small church tries to adjust.
“The devil doesn’t like it when people get saved,” Cornett said. “It’s been life-changing for people.”
Cornett, who has been pastor of the church since 1988, said he tries to tell his members that a church is like a hospital that needs to welcome and minister to the spiritually ill. “I’ve been praying for it for a long time,” he said.
“We’ve seen people saved, but it’s never been anything like this.”