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© First Baptist Church of Milford.

Australia and the Islands of Oceania

What the Missions Conference Means to Me just made “reasonable” sense to me that I should spend the rest of my life expressing my gratitude to Him...
 |  Jerry Sexton  |  Australia/Oceania

Growing up at First Baptist Church of Milford and Milford Christian Academy was quite a privilege. It seemed as though there was always something going on in which to be involved. For me, times and seasons were usually gauged by what sporting event was going on at the time. However around February, everything, including youth activities, was put on hold, at least for a week. All sports games were canceled or rescheduled and homework was minimized. Nothing was to interfere with the highlight of the year, our annual Missions Conference. Students spent many class periods converting our gymnasium into the dining hall for our international dinner, my favorite activity of the year. I have many great memories of hearing tremendous preachers and rubbing shoulders with missionaries from all over the globe.

Missions Conference for me took on a whole new meaning, though, in 1987. During a Monday night service, a chalk artist named Dan Andre gave a presentation on the Crucifixion of Christ that changed my world. I got a sliver of realization as to what Jesus went through for me. That night, Ron Todd, missionary to Costa Rica, was preaching, and all I could think about was Romans 12:l. Since Jesus was willing to suffer to that degree to purchase my salvation, it just made “reasonable” sense to me that I should spend the rest of my life expressing my gratitude to Him by serving Him. During the invitation time that night, I went forward and surrendered my life to do anything God wanted me to do. The following year during the Missions Conference of 1988, God called me to preach. Now, some twenty-six years later, I look back with so much gratitude for the privilege of growing up in a place that emphasized world missions and offered so many opportunities for me to serve God with my life.

As a youth pastor, I often told parents of “uninterested” young people to stay faithful and to continue to keep their children in church. It only takes one church service for God to change a life forever.

I would never have dreamed as a young person growing up here that God would someday allow me to have a family who is involved in representing Bearing Precious Seed, not to mention the privilege to come back to Missions Conferences as a missionary. To God be the glory!