By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
WOODWORTH – Jimmy Noblit is a man on a mission, working four days a week alongside other volunteers to complete the Georgia Barnette Conference Center.
From the time construction began last July, Noblit has spent most weeks at Tall Timbers helping to build a legacy that will long outlive him for generations to come.
“Somebody has to do this,” said Noblit, a member of Calvary Baptist Church in Alexandria. “This will affect the lives of many children who come through here. They will be discipled and some will commit to missions.
“The next person who makes a decision here may be the next Lottie Moon,” he continued. “It’s all for the Glory of God.”
Since July 13, an army of Louisiana Baptist volunteers like Noblitt and others from around the U.S. have helped build the Georgia Barnette Conference Center and Missionary/Volunteer Training Center. Once complete, the center will house information about influential early-day Louisiana Baptists and become a state-of-the art training facility for the future of missions in Louisiana.
The 8,400-square-foot center is to have six small group rooms and a large auditorium that can be arranged for up to 580 participants. Also included is a state-of-the-art sound system and lighting.
The center is named after Georgia Barnette, the first elected and paid Woman’s Missionary Union executive director/treasurer in Louisiana. Every year Louisiana Baptists collect the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering.
Since early 2013, the Louisiana Baptist Convention’s missions and ministry team led by John Hebert has been raising money for the new center, making hundreds of presentations to churches, Woman’s Missionary Union groups, individuals, missions education groups, associational groups and at annual meetings of associations.
Louisiana Baptists have raised all but $100,000 of the $1.2 million needed to build the facility located at Tall Timbers Conference Center in Woodworth.
To get the remaining funds needed to complete the project as well to establish a maintenance fund, Louisiana Baptists can purchase bricks and stones to honor individuals and love ones said Hebert.
Those bricks will surround a Prayer Garden with a reflecting pool that overlooks the lake in a brick-lined pave stone walk.
Stones cost $250 and bricks are $150. Construction on the garden will begin once the GBCC is finished.
The GBCC is about 85 percent complete. Hebert, who was joined by 20 staff from the Baptist Building on Friday for a special work day, would like the GBCC to open in time for the next meeting of the Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Board which is in September.
For that to happen, more volunteers are needed.
“All that’s needed is for them to show up,” said Hebert, who spent his time this week working on the conference center. “No special skills are needed and they will be able to say they helped to build a piece of Louisiana Baptist history.”
Joyce Temple who along with her husband, Bill, are the onsite coordinators for the project have lived at Tall Timbers since April 17, 2015 and plan to remain until the project is complete.
They urge all Louisiana Baptists to come out and help be a part of history.
“This is truly rewarding work,” Temple said. “We are looking at the end picture. We see how the conference center is going to be used to glorify the Lord.”
Information on volunteering and purchasing a stone or brick can be accessed at louisianabaptists.org/gbcc, by calling 318.448.3402 or by emailing email@example.com.