Did you know that ice cream cones were first discovered in Missouri? In St. Louis no less. And it almost didn’t happen. During the 1904 World’s Fair, Arnold Fornachou was serving long lines of people his frosty ice cream during those hot summer days in St. Louis. The problem was, Arnold’s ice cream was so popular he quickly ran out of paper bowls. The moonlighting teenager scrambled to keep his potential customers by washing and reusing the few ceramic bowls he had on hand. But, no matter how hard he worked, many people grew tired of waiting and wandered off in search of another treat. That’s when an unlikely partner emerged to save the day.
Ernest Hamwi, a pastry chef who had grown up in Damascus, Syria, was hawking his product in the booth next to Arnold’s. Ernest was offering the Fair crowds a wafer-thin Persian confection called a zalabia. When he saw his neighbor’s plight, he was struck with an original idea. Grabbing a warm zalabia, he twisted it into a cornucopia shape and rolled it in sugar. Then he ran over to Arnold’s booth and offered it to him. At first Arnold didn’t understand what the older man had in mind. But when Ernest handed an ice cream scoop atop a confection cone to a waiting customer, Arnold instantly got the message. A huge smile spread over his face, and in no time, the two men were working side by side – Ernest made “edible bowls,” Arnold scooped ice cream. Back then, they were called World’s Fair Cornucopias, and they were the hit of the fair. Today, we simply call them ice cream cones – and they are still a hit (except in this kind of weather!).
Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ decided it would take “partnerships” to win the world. He charged the eleven post-resurrection Disciples to “go … and make Disciples.” Jesus wouldn’t do it by Himself. None of the Disciples could do it by themselves. It required “partnerships.” Two thousand years later, some two billion claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. We are caught up in a movement. It began and has continued as a “partnership.”
Our challenge in Missouri is to let everyone know that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord. That He alone can forgive sin. That He alone is the way to Heaven. That He alone can bring peace with God, peace with others and even peace with ourselves. “Don’t people already know?” Evidently not. I regularly tell people about Christ and what He can do. An all too common response I get is “I didn’t know that!” North American Mission Board tells us that three out of four in Missouri are without a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Thearda.com website on Missouri lets us know that 2.7 million (out of 5.8 million) in Missouri do not have any church/denominational/religious/cult affiliation. That’s almost one out of two.
In 2010, Missouri Baptists took giant steps in making Christ known by placing the Gospel on 750,000 doors around our state. However, 1.5 million homes did not have the Gospel placed on their doors. Six areas suffered the greatest omissions: St. Louis, Columbia, Kansas City, Cape Girardeau, Springfield and Joplin. These “Macedonian” areas (Acts 16:9-10) are calling for Missouri Baptists (as Judean believers) to “partner” with them in 2011 so our entire state can be covered.
I am receiving calls from associations and churches saying they want to “partner” with churches in these Macedonian areas, to prayer walk and distribute the Gospel during 2011. We need many more to hear and heed the call. Contact my office (800-736-6227, X 650-1, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.), to participate in this strategic partnership.
May we never forget – partnerships solve problems and everybody wins. It happened 100 years ago. It happened 2,000 years ago. It can happen in 2011.
GARY TAYLOR / MBC Director of Evangelism