Bt Staff, Baptist Message
EUNICE (LBM) – Acadian Baptist Center is preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary, with activities that include a reunion of former students who attended Acadia Baptist Academy, the school that existed before the campus became the ABC in 1975.
The reunion begins at 6 p.m., Oct. 13, and the anniversary celebration will take place the next day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
One of the most notable ABC alumni is Jimmy Warren, the father of Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren. The elder Warren attended the camp in the 1930s.
“They sent him down here where he surrendered to the ministry and got on fire for God,” said James Newsom, director of Acadian Baptist Center. “He started preaching in an area of mission sites and churches.
“He stuttered,” Newsom elaborated. “And one of the old preachers told him, ‘Maybe you should look into another line of work,’ because of his speech.”
“So he quit preaching for a while but he couldn’t stand it,” he continued. “He started preaching again and was faithful for many, many years as a pastor and as a director of missions and he raised Rick and a daughter and he touched a lot of lives.”
Since becoming a camp in 1975, ABC has experienced significant changes, both physically and spiritually.
During its first year of operation, 3,000 people attended its events and three full-time people were on staff. This year, Newsom estimates attendance was about 13,000 and its staff included six full-time workers, 25 part-timers and many volunteers.
Gone are the days when camping was limited to mainly staying in tents or bunk houses, Newsom offered. ABC amenities now include a motel and cabins.
The spiritual impact, Newsom said, has been even more significant.
A total of 7,114 converts have humbled their hearts and surrendered their lives to Christ. Another, 5,886 have repented to restore fellowship with Him, and 581 more have made commitments to full-time ministry.
“Camps and retreats historically have touched a lot of lives,” Newsom said. “People get away from their home environment with the telephone and TV and other distractions, and are able to focus on preaching, and Bible study and fellowship.
“It’s amazing what’s God’s done here. It’s been a God thing.”
For more information about the reunion and anniversary celebration, call 337.457.9047 or visit abccamp.com.