By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
Wednesday she stepped inside Faith Baptist Church in Bastrop for a youth Bible study.
Years of a strained relationship with her father combined with difficulties in school had taken its toll on Musgrove – until that June 2016 evening when she learned about the love Christ has for her.
That night Musgrove turned over her troubles to God, declaring Jesus as Lord, and the following Sunday she was baptized.
Musgrove now enjoys spending time with her father, and even hopes one day to attend college as she pursues her dream of becoming a surgeon.
“Jesus has truly changed the way I see life,” Musgrove said. “My home life has changed to the point that my dad is thrilled when I come inside the same room to hear me sometimes sing for the Lord. I am truly not the same girl that I was when I came to Faith Baptist Church two years ago.”
OLDER REACHING YOUNGER
Musgrove is one of 32 youth baptized since January 2016 at Faith Baptist, a church that has seen Christ move miraculously among its adult members, with an average age of 70, resulting in this effective outreach to youth.
Pastor Bodie Spicer said the catalyst for the change occurred during a Morehouse Baptist Association crusade in January 2016.
Many of the members in the congregation volunteered to serve as decision counselors, completing the training and then each night sharing Christ with those who came forward during the invitation.
Church members Don and Francis Willard did not have any children in school, but the couple felt led to bring some of the unreached youth to the evangelistic outreach.
Spicer said church members were transformed by the salvation experiences they were part of, but were especially moved by the youth who submitted their lives to Christ, including half of the eight young people who attended Bible study at the church Wednesday evenings.
Now between 60 and 80 teens and their siblings attend Bible study each Wednesday evening because the adult members were inspired to reach the youth in the community, and, the four new teen believers in their youth group began to reach their friends.
Spicer is amazed at the changes God has brought, with the church now ministering to teens not just from families in the congregation but to many young people in the community who struggle with addictions or come from troubled homes.
The pastor also has been blessed by the upbeat attitude of his older members, who have taken on the challenge of assembling care packages, holding corporate prayer, and purchasing clothing and school supplies for the youth.
OPEN ARMS MINISTRY
“We have kids who have been in terrible situations at home,” Spicer said. “I didn’t really know how my members would take to these kids, but they have been tremendous to welcome them with open arms.
“We are excited about all the Lord has done and what He has planned for us in the future with the kids He has entrusted us with.”
Willard admits he did not expect the God-sized change that has taken place, but is thankful.
Seeing young lives changed has made this labor of love worth every ounce of effort the adult members are putting forth he said.
“We do what we can and love them,” Willard said. “They’ve been told so many times they aren’t loved. But we tell them that God loves them.
“You beat your head against the wall and don’t think you’re doing any good one day, and then all of a sudden they walk up there and give their life to Jesus to remind us that this is worthwhile,” he continued.
“It gets my blood pumping a little harder to join Christ in stepping out in faith to reach these kids with His love. That’s something they will have with them, no matter what life puts in front of them.”
MORE BLESSINGS AHEAD
Now, Faith Baptist members are preparing to take part in an area youth evangelistic rally, April 23-25, at the First Baptist Church in Bastrop.
Casey Johnson, pastor of Bonita Road Baptist Church in Bastrop, will be the guest evangelist and Broken Vessels, a Christian band from DeRidder, will provide the special music.
“Our church embraced what took place that [January 2016] night and developed a burning desire to continue reaching out to those who needed Christ,” Spicer said. “The spirit in the church hasn’t gone away and we’re looking forward to what God will do with this youth crusade.”