Mark Joseph Holmes was called to the ministry at the age of fifteen, five years after he was saved. He went to Hyles-Anderson College to receive his training and graduated summa cum laude in 2000 with a degree in Pastoral Theology. During Mark’s senior year, God placed on his heart the desire to reach the people of Nigeria, so he spent an extra year in preparation by taking missions courses. Mark served on the same bus route each college year, as captain for three years.
Sabrina Michelle (Hopkins) was saved at the age of eight and surrendered her life to God five years later. While at Hyles-Anderson College studying music education, she served in the Bible Club and deaf ministry and also traveled one summer with a tour group. After graduation with a Music Education degree, during the year before their wedding, Sabrina taught fourth grade at her home church’s Christian school—Central Baptist in Baton Rouge.
As newlyweds, Mark and Sabrina served at their sending church where Mark oversaw the bus ministry and helped in the youth department, Sunday schools, and junior churches. He was privileged to start a children’s church and young adult class during his two years of service, and he also regularly preached at a prison ministry and taught for a local Bible institute. Sabrina taught private piano for two Christian schools; she played often in the church services and also taught the beginner Sunday school class. Mark and Sabrina started full-time deputation at the end of May, 2003. Mark Joseph, Junior was born on December 4th of the same year.
In June of 2005, the Holmes family began their first term as Fundamental Baptist Missions International missionaries in Nigeria. Soon, Truth Baptist Church along with Temple Baptist Institute was started, the church now averaging 220 on Sundays with 42 graduates from the ministry training school. Property with buildings was purchased, and Providence Baptist College & Seminary opened its doors in August 2009 and has now produced 30 graduates. Over 30 churches have been started by those who have been trained or ordained by their ministry, including the most recent, Grace & Glory Baptist Church in Abuja. Mark and Sabrina have returned to the U.S. for the birth of:
Victoria Noel 12/14/05
Brian Michael 8/20/07
Noah Preston 2/3/12
LaDonna Elizabeth 7/3/14
For nearly a decade, Truth Baptist Church has been the home of a national pastors’ conference and annual youth camp; a full curriculum DVD correspondence college recently became their newest ministry.
Where We Are
The Niger River is Nigeria’s most remarkable physical feature, as well as the source of its name. Formerly a British colony, Nigeria gained its independence in 1960 and became an independent nation of three culturally distinctive regions and at least 250 different language groups—more than any other African country. Home of the world’s largest black population, it is estimated that almost one out of every six Africans resides in Nigeria.
Upon independence, Nigeria inherited a currency that was more valuable than the U.S. dollar at the time. Yet the country has consumed itself with the sell of oil and other natural resources and all but abandoned its agricultural sector, leading to Nigeria’s diminished currency value and heightened reliance upon imports and aide from other countries. Military coups, ethnic tensions, a thirty month “civil war” that claimed over a million lives, and economic corruption have been the driving forces behind Nigeria’s instability of the last forty years. In 1998 a democracy was established, ending fifteen years of military rule.
Baptists have enjoyed a presence in the country for over 150 years with the Southern Baptists growing their own national convention and an estimated Baptist population numbering more than 3.5 million people; the former President of Nigeria was a claimed Baptist. However, Muslim influences are growing greater, indigenous beliefs are still popular, and many existing Baptist churches have abandoned biblical doctrines. There is a great need to reach the rest of the more than 170 million people of Africa’s most populous and possibly most influential nation.
What We Believe
Our Statement of Faith is consistent with…
The church from which we are sent: Faith Baptist Church in Gulfport, Mississippi
The mission board with which we are affiliated: Fundamental Baptist Missions International in Hammond, Indiana
The college from which we graduated: Hyles-Anderson College in Crown Point, Indiana
For more details, visit fbcgulfport.com, fbmi.org, or hylesanderson.com
In the history of our ministry, I don’t know that we have ever experienced a span of six weeks that was more packed with activity than the eleventh month of 2022 through the first twelve days of December. November 1 & 2 were the closing services of another successful Missions & Leadership Conference at Independent Baptist Church of Port Harcourt with Missionary Evangelists Jeff Walters, Denton Bell, and Jim Belisle. The trio of guest preachers also partnered with me for a Pastors’ & Workers’ Fellowship at Victory Independent Baptist Church of Ibadan the next week.
Not long after those visitors returned to America, we welcomed Pastor Jay Reed and his son Austin of Global Baptist Church Planters, who joined Missionary Evangelist Curtis Hall of BEST Missions for a Spirit-Renewal Meeting, which was hosted by both Abuja churches where I am co-pastoring. Grace & Glory and Truth Baptist conducted a soul-winning Saturday, regular Sunday services, and a weekday revival service. An Open House for Providence Baptist College & Seminary was held on Monday, and many area pastors (several who have been helped by Global) were present. Bro. Curtis Hall then joined my family, Ms. Pat, and three missionary couples working with us for the 4th Annual Soul-Winning & Leadership Conference at Zion Independent Baptist Church in Jos. The fellowship among us foreigners and the members and area pastors was wonderful, and our drive together to and from Plateau State was successful.
While the Youngs, Patricks, Christiansens, Langs, and Ms. Pat all gathered at our house for Thanksgiving, Truth Baptist Church, along with Missionary Olawale Orekan, hosted the first annual camp for our Friends of the Deaf ministry. More than 120 Nigerian deaf people gathered for the multi-day event, which concluded on Sunday, with dozens professing salvation and thirteen following the Lord in baptism. It was especially gratifying to see our staff organize a program from start to finish with very little involvement from me. The dawn of a new month did not slow things down, as Mrs. Emily Christiansen organized our pastors’ wives and other missionary wives for an inaugural Women of Truth Ladies’ Conference. A Thursday and Friday Youth Conference followed soon after at Truth Baptist Church, and our almost overwhelming schedule concluded with a refreshing first-ever Marriage Retreat for Grace & Glory Baptist Church, hosted by Missionary Garan Patrick.
Our break officially began with the Providence Baptist College & Seminary students writing their last exam on December 15. Both of our churches held cantatas on the 11th and 18th, Sabrina and I hosted a staff holiday fellowship at our house on the 23rd, and it felt like home once again to have all the missionaries with us after church on Christmas Day. Our kids opened presents on Christmas Eve, and the week after Christmas included special three nights at a local hotel where we filled the days with games, fellowship, and going out to eat. Thank you for your support and prayers throughout 2022!
Mark Holmes, written 9 January 2023