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Alabama Baptists Express Thankscomment (0)

November 20, 2003

By Johnie Sentell

Thanksgiving will be here in just a week. For what are you thankful?

For the last two years Bill Stokes, director of missions (DOM) for Sipsey Asso­ciation, has been on dialysis at home 13 hours a day, every day.

Brother Stokes, who has also had to deal with heart problems and diabetes, said he is thankful for the Lord’s grace and mercy. He is glad much of the dialysis can take place while he sleeps. He and his wife, Louise, are also thankful for her sister and brother-in-law, Larry and Lynn Norris, whose help recently made it possible for the Stokeses to get out and enjoy several days in the Smoky Mountains.

A former pastor in Fayette Asso­ciation, Bro. Stokes was called as Sipsey’s interim DOM in 1999 and as permanent DOM in 2000 though it was known he faced dialysis.

The Stokeses are thankful for the Baptists in their association. Mrs. Stokes said, “They are wonderful. They are so loving, kind and compassionate. It is really amazing!”

Little Vine Baptist Church in Sulphur Springs Association (Wal­ker Co.) was started in June 2002. Con­struction foreman Otto Tol­bert, who grew up in Bug Tussle (Cull­man Co.), serves as its pastor.

Brother Tolbert said he is thankful the members “love and accept everybody who comes in. The community has been real helpful, too.”

Little Vine Church recently poured the foundation for a building. “We are really excited,” said Bro. Tolbert’s wife, Karen.

The young church also recently arranged for The Alabama Baptist to be mailed to all its families. “Brother Larry York (interim DOM) brought it up,” the pastor said. “We thought it would be a good thing to let people know how they could be a part of everything,” he said. “I’m thankful for Christian people we can lean on and talk to.”

Brother Barry Cosper, pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in Bes­semer Association, is thankful for people with a passion for evangelism. That certainly includes Louise Tidwell, a 76-year-old member of Bro. Cosper’s former pastorate, Trinity Baptist Church in Roanoke.

Mrs. Tidwell had participated in several overseas missions trips through the years, but she wanted to go on “just one more.”

So a few weeks ago she joined Bro. Cosper on an eight-day missions trip to islands off the coast of Venezuela. Brother Cosper led more than 200 people in a solemn assembly on Marga­rita Island. Some came from nearby Coche.

Afterward, revival was evident across both islands, with more than 75 people making professions of faith. Among those whom Mrs. Tidwell led to Christ was a bar owner who only a short while earlier had been making fun of people making professions of faith.  

“I am thankful that God has blessed me with good health and that I am financially able to do the work that He has called me to do,” Mrs. Tid­well said. “I am thankful that my family understands and supports my work.” 

Widowed for eight years, she has also been on missions trips to Russia (twice), Ecua­dor and Mexico. She expects to go on “just one more” in March or April.

Mrs. Tidwell lives within walking distance of her church and starts the day by walking 10 laps around the apartment complex. One recent morning a neighbor introduced “Miss Louise” to her visiting sister and requested prayer that the sister’s medical report would be favorable. Mrs. Tidwell said she would be glad to do so but also led the sister to the Lord on the spot. 

Mrs. Tidwell said, “I read The Alabama Baptist cover to cover. It is encouraging to me to know what other Southern Baptists are doing.”

We are thankful that churches are strengthened as their members read The Alabama Baptist. Studies show when churches provide the state Baptist paper, members give more to missions, participate more in missions activities and pray more for missions worldwide.
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