Walking for the world

Published 10:32 pm Friday, April 30, 2010

This week, volunteers from a Suffolk church walked a small stretch of a 2,500-mile path to commemorate the journeys of the first Free Will Baptist missionary.

Pastor David Sexton and members of CrossPointe Free Will Baptist Church walked about 10 miles through Suffolk as their part of celebrating the 75th anniversary of Laura Belle Barnard’s call to missionary service in 1935. The Go10 Walk for the World is planned along the route of Barnard’s life, with events scheduled along the way.

“We believe, as Christians, it’s important for us to impact the world,” said Joe Wilson, Go10 program director. “Our organization is all about planting churches around the world.”

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Barnard, as the first Free Will Baptist missionary, helped plant a church in southern India, where she also helped found schools, educational facilities, medical training and more.

“She just made a huge impact,” Wilson said. “We continue to do those kinds of things today all around the world.”

The walk began April 5 at the church in Glennville, Ga., where Barnard attended before her call to service. Events are planned along the route in Columbia, S.C., where she attended college; Greenville, N.C., where she was commissioned for missionary service; New York, where she departed for India; Nashville, Tenn., where she taught at Free Will Baptist Bible College; and in Oklahoma City, Okla., where the walk will have its grand finale at the National Association, a Free Will Baptist convention.

Local Free Will Baptist churches are doing their part of the walk along the way. More than half a dozen members of CrossPointe walked through Suffolk on Monday, from the North Carolina line to the Chesapeake border.

“It inspires them to do more in our world today by loving God and serving others,” Wilson said. “They get involved in this as they walk, raising support. The money is going to help continue to plant churches around the world.”

Wilson said all kinds of church members have come to walk thus far, from young people to those with physical limitations.

“We’ve had a gamut of people, young and old, with physical problems, all kinds of reasons and excuses to not be doing something, but yet they come out and they walk,” Wilson said. “We had a 15-year-old young boy who was a hemophiliac, and he walked 20 miles. We’re seeing pretty incredible things.”

For more information about the Go10 Walk for the World, visit www.go10walk.com.