Campground project set for Puerto Rico partnership
By Bob Baysinger
April 13, 2004
HANNIBAL – The Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) partnership with Puerto Rico , launched in 2002, is moving forward with waves of short-term missionaries hitting the island in May, June and July.
A team of 21 workers from Bethel Baptist Association plans to build a dining hall/multi-purpose building May 27-June 10 at a Puerto Rican campground site near the village of Moca. The Missouri Baptists from Bethel , based in Hannibal, will be traveling to an area on the west end of the island near the city of Agua Dilla, which is similar in size to Hannibal.
Right behind the Bethel group will be a team of 15 from Corticelli Baptist Church, Russellville. Led by their pastor, Sonny Sturgeon, the Corticelli group will attempt to finish the building, Bethel Director of Missions Al Groner said.
In July, MBC Partnership Missions Specialist Norm Howell will be leading a team along with Nodell Dennis, director of missions, Blue River/Kansas City Baptist Association, Ken McCune, MBC Anglo church planting specialist, and Mauricio Vargas, MBC multicultural church planting specialist. McCune will be focusing on evangelism.
“We want to help the Puerto Ricans start churches in their own land," Howell said. “We want to assist them in an indigenous way."
Dennis has been in charge of the partnership. He is looking forward to working with Howell on their first trip together to the island.
“I will work with him, I will defer to him, I will take the lead if he wants me to—as long as the job gets done," Dennis said.
Groner said the Bethel group has enjoyed success building Camp Inlow near Palmyra , a facility that can house up to 200 campers. They are attempting to build something similar on 45 acres in Puerto Rico for the Puerto Rico Baptist Association. The Bethel group is planning on also working on either an evangelism project or a new church start project.
The project includes a worship center, two dining hall/multi-purpose buildings and two new dormitories. Plans also call for the Missouri workers to refurbish two older buildings that have been gutted by hurricanes.
Ten of the 27 churches in Bethel Baptist Association are sending workers to Puerto Rico, Groner said. The association is raising $8,000-$12,000 to cover the costs of the building project. Any Missouri Baptist church or association can help adopt and build one of the buildings on the campground over the next couple of years. Call Groner at (573) 221-0182 if you are interested in helping.
“We have almost every church participating in either prayer or financial support," he said.
Howell said Missouri Baptists interested in going on the July trip should contact Linda Stockton, Partnership Missions Ministry Assistant, at 1-800-736-6227, ext. 621.