After a three-day trip through the snow, slush, and rain, we arrived in the San Tan Valley of Arizona. There are two churches that have been very gracious in allowing us to stay in their missionary housing: the Fairhaven Baptist Church in Coolidge, Arizona, and the Desert Gateway Baptist Church in Gilbert, Arizona.
After nearly a month of canvassing the valley, knocking on doors, trying to gain contacts, and developing some relationships, the South Hills Baptist Church was born on March 29. We maintained a consistent schedule of knocking on doors, many days up to eight hours a day. We were careful to make sure to stay on track with ordering materials and making sure we had sufficient signage. We were able to get out reminder letters to all of our potential contacts a week before the Grand Opening, and then after we got out 20,000 invitations, we were able to get the final confirmation to secure the location of the meeting place in a nice public school. There is nothing like living by faith . . . whew!
There were many groups of people that came to help canvass and get invitations out to the very growing area of Southeastern Phoenix. Pastor Michael Moffitt from Sun Valley Baptist came out, along with Pastor Nathan Massey and a group from Beacon Baptist of Phoenix, which is a church that is just one year old. Pastor Cody Kuehl and his wife came down from Michigan, as well as Pastor Reed’s reproducing church, which brought a group of doorknockers that stayed over for the first service. There were several core folks from the area that were out inviting people, and a large group of 25 Bible college students came down for a day from West Coast Baptist College. It has truly been a team effort with many co-laborers in the establishment of this church.
We finally got out the remainder of the 25,000 invitations the Saturday before the Grand Opening, and after much prayer and work, Sunday came. South Hills Baptist Church had its first service with 150 souls in attendance. Close to 100 of those people were from the immediate area, with about 50 of those being guests who came down for the special day. To top it all off, Pastor Reed preached a message from Acts 1 about characteristics of the early church, the invitation was given, and 4 souls raised their hands indicating they had trusted Christ as Saviour.
Please pray for the coming weeks, as we have much soul winning and follow-up to do with the souls God brought our way. We are thankful for the opportunity to represent Christ and you.
Sam, Krista, Sammy, Karson, and Kanaan Marasco