22 local churches participate in Evangelism Conference

Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Ron and Haven Howard, of Ron & Haven Inspirational Music Ministry, based in Branson, were among 19 different evangelists who performed at Barry County churches Feb. 18-20 for the Barry County Southern Baptist Association’s 2017 Evangelism Conference. The Howards, who have been performing together since the 1970s in venues all over the country, sang, “Greater is He That is In Me,” along with several other musical selections. Julia Kilmer/reporter@cassville-democrat.com

3-day event features 19 evangelists from 5-state area

The Barry County Southern Baptist Association held its 2017 Evangelism Conference Feb. 18-20, a three-day event featuring 19 evangelists from a five-state area sharing inspirational music and messages in songfest events at area churches, including at Emmanuel Baptist Church and First Baptist Church in of Cassville.

The evangelists enjoyed home-cooked meals and hospitality from local churches, along with the opportunity to fellowship and connect with churches and their members.

Evangelist Rosie O’ Toole, of Lahoma, Okla., shares the uplifting song, “Help is On the Way,” Monday evening at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Cassville. O’Toole began singing in the 1990s and has won awards from the Southern Gospel Music Association of Texas. Julia Kilmer/reporter@cassville-democrat.com

“The conference has been going on for years,” said Randy Comer, director of missions for the association. “This is the 20th time for some of the people who are attending. We have 36 churches, and 22 participated. We ask each church to tell us what evangelists they’d like to come in, then we invite them.”

Retired pastor Hubert Conway and his wife, Charlotte, have been attending the conference for 10 years. He has been in the ministry for 73 years.

“I started when I was 12,” he said.

Area churches, including Emmanuel Baptist Church in Cassville, hosted songfest events featuring the special music and sermons of 19 different evangelists, along with home cooked meals and hospitality, for the Barry County Southern Baptist Association 2017 Evangelism Conference Feb. 18-20. Julia Kilmer/reporter@cassville-democrat.com

Conway has pastored 10 churches, one of which was Pleasant Ridge Baptist in Verona. He was also the director of missions of the association in Lawrence County for 30 years. He still preaches on occasion when needed and enjoys attending the conference.

“We love the singing and the preaching,” he said. “It’s very uplifting and inspiring.”

Evangelists Ron and Haven Howard, of Ron & Haven Inspirational Music Ministry, who traveled from Branson to sing in all three days of the conference, said the conference benefits evangelists, too.

Evangelist and retired pastor Jerry Francisco, of 4 Him Ministries, of Nixa, shares a compelling message with the audience at Emmanuel Baptist Church Monday night, part of a three-day evangelism event involving 22 Barry County churches. Francisco is a Wheaton native who has pastored three churches in Barry County. Julia Kilmer/reporter@cassville-democrat.com

“It’s been a great encouragement to us to be with others in ministry and to be able to build relationships with them and those in the churches we visit each year,” said Haven Howard. “Seeing how God is working inspires us to keep on with our ministry as well.”

Edna Eaton, whose husband David Eaton pastors First Baptist Church in Butterfield, said the conference provides an opportunity for Barry County churches to connect.

“We get to hear the preaching, and it gives the churches here the opportunity to meet evangelists and see what they do, so when they’re ready for revival, we have someone we can cal,” Eaton said. “So, it’s a good event for all the churches.”

Wheaton native and retired pastor Jerry Francisco has pastored three churches in Barry County. In his message, he spoke about Moses’ life, and how the service of previous association members influenced him.

“I grew up in the association,” he said. “We are here because of those who have gone before us. You see God involved in history and the affairs of men. History is God’s story. Just like with Moses, God promises to help us through. He won’t give us a task too big.”

Evangelist Jerry Hext shared a funny fishing story about a squirrel and a game warden, followed by a personal testimony of how he overcame challenges in his own life, songs and encouragement to believe in the power of prayer, even if prayers seem unanswered.

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