Missionary Mark Holmes shares his testimony about his call to service and relives his journey through Hyles-Anderson College and deputation. Bro Holmes’ testimony will be an encouragement to any aspiring missionary.
My name is Mark Holmes. I was saved at the age of ten in a Southern Baptist church in Long Beach, Mississippi. As a teenager, one of the deacons in my church started talking about the name of Jack Hyles and First Baptist Church and Hyles-Anderson College. I asked him about the ministry there, and he invited me to go to a Youth Conference. In July of 1994, I went to Youth Conference, and during the preaching I surrendered to the call to preach. Just a couple of years after that, I enrolled in Hyles-Anderson College right after graduating from high school. I didn’t know anybody here. I got into the Bus Ministry. I got under the ministry of Bro. Darrell Moore; I worked on one of his bus routes. I just fell in love with the teaching and preaching here. I got a lot of zeal. The ministry training here was just amazing.
When I was in the middle of my first year here, I actually heard about the church that would become by home church, Faith Baptist Church of Gulfport, Mississippi, and I started going there when I was on break from college. Little by little, I had some conversations with my pastor, Bro. Dan Carr. After graduating from Hyles-Anderson in 2000, part of Bro. Hyles’ last graduating class, I took a year of missions courses and got prepared for what I believed God was leading me into, which was being a missionary.
I had graduated with a pastoral theology degree. I took some classes under Bro. Doug Kalapp and Dr. Mike Cox and started working with my home pastor in Gulfport, Mississippi, as the Ministries Director at Faith Baptist Church. I worked in the Bus Ministry, the Sunday schools, the Youth Department, the Music Ministry, just about anything I could get involved in. I preached in the Prison Ministry. I actually got to teach in a local church Bible institute. At the end of that year as Ministries Director at Faith Baptist Church, Sabrina and I stood at the front of the church—after much prayer and much seeking God’s face—we told the church that we believed God was leading us to be missionaries in Nigeria, West Africa.
We went to Candidate School that year at FBMI and got trained in how to do deputation and how to prepare prayer cards, stationery, letterhead, display boards, and the presentation. For the next seven months, I booked meetings so that we could start full-time deputation in May of 2003. We did 24 months of deputation; we were in 193 churches, 211 meetings, and raised the support to go to Nigeria.
We had a lot of decisions to make during that time. Bro. Cox led us to work with a veteran missionary in Nigeria, and for almost a year, we worked with that missionary in Abuja, the capital city. In May of 2006, we started Truth Baptist Church. After that, we had already started a Bible institute with the veteran missionary, and then we started an institute in our church. In July of 2009, we started Providence Baptist College and Seminary for the training of men full-time for the ministry. We now have 37 graduates from the institute and 15 graduates from the seminary. With those graduates, 22 churches have been started.
We are excited about what the Lord is doing. I thank God for being able to look back at how He’s led me all the way back from when I got saved as a ten-year-old boy, through Bible college, through getting to work in what became our sending church, and then through deputation to our time on the field; and I look forward to what God is going to do in the future.