By trailer, by bus, Simmonses take gospel on road comment (0)
July 26, 2012
By Shirley Cox
Jack and Wilma Simmons first heard God’s call to missions more than 20 years ago when they met an associational missionary who told them about the needs in Indiana.
“After looking over the area for a time and trying to get something started, it seemed we just couldn’t get it done,” Jack Simmons said. Eventually they realized God was calling them back to Wilma Simmons’ Kentucky hometown, West Point.
With help from the Kentucky Baptist Convention, the Simmonses purchased a mobile home to use as a meeting place. After floods destroyed the first two trailers, a third one was donated by Ron Morgan, a member of Immanuel Baptist Church, Frankfort, Ky.
The Simmonses also converted a school bus into a “mobile chapel” so they could minister to residents of two other mobile home communities in the area.
The children’s program includes Bible stories, crafts and refreshments. Services that include adults are held in the evenings and on Sunday morning.
Wilma Simmons prepares and shares Bible presentations with the children who attend the bus ministry, and she prepares a craft project for all three mission points each week.
“I use flannel graph stories, magic and science-related items to present a Bible lesson. The children who attend our bus ministry range in age from preschoolers to teenagers. They do not relate well to just listening to a Bible story since most of them have never heard one.”
Wilma Simmons said a volunteer helps with the children’s program at the West Point Mission.
“When the children first attend, sometimes they won’t share or they hit each other or throw things all over the floor without picking them up,” Wilma Simmons said. “After a while, they begin to share with each other and even start to help me clean up.”
Even without a traditional church facility, the Simmonses have become pastoral leaders of their flocks.
“We also minister by providing food, performing weddings and funerals and making hospital visits,” Jack Simmons said. “Each Christmas, we distribute over 400 shoebox gifts.”
The couple said that as they serve, they watch God use their efforts to transform lives.
“When Dallas began coming to the chapel at West Point, he was failing school and was always in trouble,” Jack Simmons said. “After a while, he began listening and reading the Bible. Finally he committed his life to Christ. Before long, Dallas was on the honor roll and was one of the best behaved kids in our meetings.”
Jack Simmons also watched God change the life of a man who had a reputation of being the meanest, toughest person in town.
“It was said people walked on the other side of the street when they saw Danny coming because they were afraid of him,” Jack Simmons said. “Somehow we made friends with him and he asked me to perform his wedding. His children came to the chapel, but we could never get him to attend anything.”
After Jack Simmons visited Danny for months to talk about the Bible, Danny accepted Christ. “He did a complete turnaround,” Jack Simmons said. “He became the most gentle, loving person. His brother later became a Christian because of his testimony.”
In addition to their work at the three mission points, Jack Simmons farms and pastors a small rural church. “I continue to serve the Lord through ministry because I don’t believe God expects us to quit just because we get older,” he explained. “Don’t forget, Moses was 80 years old when God called him.”
The Simmonses are among dozens of Mission Service Corps (MSC) missionaries serving in Kentucky. MSC missionaries are self-funded servants who assist churches, local Baptist associations and individual ministries. For information about MSC, call 1-800-264-1225, Ext. 416.