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Expressing thanks for great churchescomment (0)

December 5, 2002

By Betty Baggott

I thank the Father today for His blessings to me. In a few hours I will leave for Dothan. I am looking forward to speaking at the First Baptist Church for both morning worship services. It will be an emotional time as I represent my dear husband during the celebration of the 115th anniversary of the church.

Their bulletin stated, “During this time we will hear from those who have faithfully served our church in the past. Also we will welcome back those who have identified our church as a significant place of nourishment in their spiritual and vocational journey.”

I fall in that last category as I can say without a doubt that First Baptist Church, Dothan, blessed my life during our tenure there, while Bob was pastor.

Anniversary guests

Pulpit guests in November for the 115th anniversary were: Steve Davis, pastor of First Baptist Church, Carrollton, Ga.; Rick Marshall, pastor of Eastern Hills Baptist Church, Montgomery; Sam Maddox, pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church, Dothan; Thomas Crockett, student at Auburn University and member of First Baptist Church, Dothan; Harper Shannon, former interim pastor, First Baptist Church, Dothan.

I have a lot to thank the dear people of Dothan First for and being given this opportunity will give me that chance. What a great church and the best is yet to be for them.

Another great church is Spring Hill Baptist Church in Mobile. The smiles were big and the people gracious and friendly.

The women’s discipleship ministry had worked hard to host a luncheon for a great host of women after church. Chairperson for this event was Marilyn Foley. Marilyn’s husband is Mark Foley, president of the University of Mobile.

It was special to spend some time talking with her about the wonderful work at the college and to hear her enthusiasm for the women’s ministry at Spring Hill.

This occasion brought back memories as I remember years ago leading the first Women’s Conference at Spring Hill when Jerry Gunnells was the pastor there. I enjoyed the time and especially the worship service, good music and good preaching. Terry Ellis is the current pastor at Spring Hill. Keep up the good work ladies, I could tell by the response that you are doing a lot of things right.

There are some great churches in Georgia, and Mount Harmony Baptist Church is one of them. Pastor Bob Baxtor has led this church for 42 years. Wife Gloria Baxter remarked, “Maleton, Ga., is a wonderful place to live. You don’t find people any nicer and more willing to work for the Lord than these people.”

I put a lot of stock in what Gloria says. She was at Mercer University in Macon, Ga., with me and was a mover and shaker then. This has carried over into her years at Mount Harmony.

Being invited to speak for their women’s ministry banquet was such an honor. It did my soul good to see the love of the people for this couple. A visit for an hour in their home before the banquet will be treasured. Bob is a quiet man with such a gentle spirit. Forceful in the Lord and a great love of people — both of them have this love. They would have to since they have gotten along with all the members of the congregation for this length of time. A good lesson for all those in the ministry.

An added touch of love was the note sent to me at Mount Harmony by Del and Virginia Bonnette from Clarkesville, Ga. I read it with appreciation though I have not seen these people in some 30 years. How kind for them to say they saw I would be speaking there and just wanted to say they would be remembering me. It was the last line that got me: “Your son, Bob, led youth services at our church years ago at Bethlehem Baptist.”

Great churches, great people every where you go. At this Christmas season when our hearts are stilled by the great love of God for us, let us remember that God’s love is seen in the ordinary and the small. The miracle of God being born in a manger is a testimony to the fact that God makes much of little. We need to share that God became one of us and sent His best. Spread His love more than ever before.

Thinking of church staff

I just had a great idea. Remember your staff members this year. A card, phone call, gift. You may think everyone else does and you could be wrong.

I remember one who has gone to be with the Lord, but I can see him now. Standing at our door at Christmas, with an envelope in his hand.

That money could be counted on each Christmas and it was put to good use. A church member who never forgot. Wish he could be in the audience tomorrow as I speak in Dothan. I would like to thank him publicly. The lady will be there who always baked cookies. That meant as much as the money. I will thank her.

Spread that love. God bless you and have a wonderful Christmas season. For those of you who have lost loved ones during this past year I will especially pray for you. Lean on God. He will carry you.

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