Arkansas churches see God move in Western Nebraska

By Tim Yarbrough
Editor, Arkansas Baptist News

BEEBE, Ark.—It’s safe to say the lives of 45 members of two Arkansas churches have been changed forever following a mission trip to a small and largely forgotten part of Nebraska.

Terrytown, Neb., is located on the western border of the state known for its expansive corn and wheat fields. It is a village located on the bank of the North Platte River between the cities of Scottsbluff and Gering. While Scottsbluff and Gering have grown together to form the seventh largest urban area in Nebraska, the small village of Terrytown is a place where many residents live in desperation and despair.

First Baptist Church of Beebe, Ark., and First Baptist Church, Pangburn, Ark., brought hope to many of the village’s residents—and saw 54 make professions of faith in Jesus Christ. Many of the converts were adults.

Forty-five members of the churches served in the area over a span of a little more than a week in July. A team of 15 from First Baptist, Pangburn, arrived two days earlier in Nebraska to canvass the area and distribute more than 800 Bibles, said Alan Cook, pastor of First Baptist, Pangburn.

Pangburn’s mission team was followed by 30 team members from the Beebe church, July 18-25, who held block parties, a Vacation Bible School and other activities.

“It was nothing short of an Acts experience,” said Bob Hall, pastor of First Baptist, Beebe. One lady who told the group that she was a pagan invited Jesus into her heart after hearing the gospel message three times, he added.

“It was unbelievable what happened that week,” said Hall.

“We had VBS for three days and had three block parties beginning on July 20. We averaged over 200 in attendance in the block parties, (and) VBS increased every day, from 25 to 42. Fifty-four people gave their lives to Jesus as Lord and Savior, and many committed to join a Bible study that is going to be led by Dallas Powell, Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists church planter and pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Scottsbluff,” said Hall.

“Terrytown has a population of 2,200 and no church of any kind. This literally broke my heart,” Hall said.