Bismarck blesses New Mexico, Alaska
BISMARCK—With a population of less than 1,500 in the entire town, Bismarck has a gem sitting within the borders of its small community. First Baptist Church, which will be celebrating its 125th anniversary in October, averages about 200 people each Sunday, including about 40 youth.
Having a heart for spreading the Word of God across the country, Youth Pastor Aaron Radford and a group of World Changers have taken several mission trips. This past summer they went to New Mexico and Alaska.
In June, 17 youth and five adult leaders traveled to a hot and dusty Navajo Indian reservation in Gallup, N.M., where there were 13 construction sites in both the town and the reservation amid much poverty.
“They did everything from roofing, painting, putting in windows, putting in wheelchair ramps to building a basketball court in the middle of nowhere,” Linda Radford said.
The Navajo church members sang praise songs in both English and Navajo from some old songbooks. There was no piano; voices were all they had. Even so, “You could just feel the Spirit of the Lord,” Bill Inman, one of the crew leaders, said.
Each day at noon, the World Changers would meet in the group van for a devotional. Navajo children from the worksite would join them in singing praise songs, including “Jesus Loves Me” in Navajo.
The Bismarck youth built a basketball court from scratch, preparing and filling the ground, leveling the surface and laying down the concrete. A total of 144 tons of sand was moved in extremely hot temperatures.
The work needed to be done quickly as there were basketball camps and Vacation Bible School events scheduled for the following week. With determination and dependence on God for strength, the work got done.
A total of 20 homes were visited. Fifty gallons of paint were used, with 50 tons of rock hauled, 35 yards of concrete poured, 1,000 gallons of water drank, and 110 pizzas eaten. At one site alone, through witnessing and Bible studies, four people accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord at the end of the week.
Later in the summer, from July 19-Aug. 1, the youth took another World Changers trip to North Pole, Alaska, which is located just 150 miles from the Arctic Circle.
“The scenery was awesome,” Aaron Radford said. “There was daylight for 24 hours with only three hours of ‘dusky’ conditions around midnight to three in the morning, and then, sun up again!”
One of the main service projects was roofing. They also worked at a local soup kitchen and witnessed to others about the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
As the Bismarck youth returned to Missouri, they could rejoice in the truth of Isaiah 52:7, where it is written, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”