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36 missionaries to speak at local churches

Covington County will have a slightly international feel this weekend when the Covington Baptist Association welcomes 36 missionaries for its “On Mission Celebration,” which is held once every five years.

“This is an excellent opportunity to see what people are doing for the Lord around the world,” the Rev. Larry Cummings, director of missions for the Covington Baptist Association, said.

Saturday, area residents will have the opportunity to meet with 36 missionaries from Alabama, North America and several international countries at a Mission Fair planned for 10 a.m. until noon at Southside Baptist Church.

In addition to the missionaries coming in, area organizations like Sav-A-Life, Operation Christmas Child, and Samaritan Purse will have displays.

“This is not just for people in our Baptist churches, but for the entire community to come, and learn about possibilities to volunteer,” Cummings said.

On Sunday, 36 of the CBA’s 52 member churches will have the missionaries speak in their churches. Each participating church will hear from four of the 36 visiting missionaries.

“We’ve got our participating churches divided into clusters of four churches,” he said. “The missionaries will rotate among the churches in the cluster so that each church will hear from four missionaries. Among those in the clusters, they will hear from some in international ministry, some within North American and some within Alabama.”

The emphasis of missions is changing, he said, from the old way of supporting a missionary to go and work in a certain area.

“Now, we’re moving more toward having local people volunteer for short-term assignments and having the missionaries coordinate those,” he said.

At present, the CBA has partnerships in the Ukraine and in Ecuador.

“We have teams formed right now going to countries this summer,” he said.

“The team going to Ecuador in June is what we call a prayer walking team,” Cummings said. “They will make prayer walking visits in different areas and praying for them.”

Covington County native Johnny Maust is a career missionary in Ecuador, Cummings said, adding that the local association is interested in supporting him.

Later in the year, a local team will visit the Ukraine.

“We have a partnership with an association of churches over there that is just like our association here,” Cummings said. “We’re promoting a possible trip for July or people going over and working in a children’s camp, doing recreation activities and teaching English as a second language at a summer camp.”