Estate gift will circle the globe

Frugal, dedicated, talented. Those are some of the words Iolita Simpson’s friends and fellow church members at Love Baptist Church in Phoenix use to describe her.
Another is generous.
Simpson, who died last year at the age of 85, left all of her estate to charitable causes, including 50 percent to the Southern Baptist Cooperative Program and 25 percent to her church.
On a special Cooperative Program Missions Sunday Aug. 27, Love Baptist Church Pastor John Elder presented a $549,000 check to David Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention.
Arizona Southern Baptists’ Executive Team has decided to divide the gift as follows: 50 percent to the Southern Baptist Convention for national and international missions and ministries, 7 percent to the Arizona Campus of Gateway Seminary, 7 percent to Arizona Baptist Children’s Services & Family Ministries and the remainder (36 percent) to the AZSBC.

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Zona: Through the eyes of a camper

By Hope Arden

Creating + Receiving + Rescuing moments = Legacy. These are the types of moments that embodied Zona 2017, held July 9-14 at Northern Arizona University.

The moments took life in many forms, like the all-encompassing sleepless first night that escaped no one, due to the “ovens” called dorms. On Monday, churches sent leaders to buy box fans, and Zona acquired every fan in a five-mile radius. Intermediate rain showers left students either stuck indoors while lightning surrounded campus or drenched as they made the long trek back to the dorms.

Moments were made together when everyone endured the long elevator rides with stops at each level — or, for some, resulted in the arrival of the fire department to extract them.

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Record zona offering to help kids

Approximately 1,500 Zona Camp students and sponsors gave $10,000 this summer to help clothe and equip children in the Havasupai Elementary School.

This record offering was donated by a larger-than-usual youth camp attendance, but Zona team member Josh Tompkins says the gift represents more than an increase in camp size.

“Each year, the students seem to really give of themselves,” said Tompkins, associate pastor at Hillside Baptist Church, Phoenix. “I’m continuously amazed by our students, and this [sizable gift] really shows the future heart of Arizona Southern Baptists. We have students who have big hearts and who care about unreached people groups.”

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Alabama students serve in Arizona

In early June, 170 college students from across the nation arrived in Phoenix for the North American Mission Board’s GenSend program orientation.

In the following seven weeks, these students were sent to serve alongside church planters in 15 North American cities.

For Phoenix, it was a group of 14 Alabama students — the first GenSend team in the Valley. Under the direction of Alabama native and NAMB Church Planting Catalyst Jesse Powell, the team identified and surveyed the Encanto area of Phoenix for a potential church plant in the near future. Information gathered from their time there became the content of a prospectus, a document outlining a church, a community and a specific way in which the two can connect and grow.

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Disaster Relief serves fire evacuees

Shortly after fire broke out south of Prescott in late June, Arizona Southern Baptist Disaster Relief was there to bring help, healing and hope to the evacuees of the Goodwin Fire.

The fire exploded and grew from 4,400 acres to more than 20,000 acres on Thursday, June 27. By the next day, more than 2,000 people, along with their pets and livestock, were evacuated from the rural town of Mayer and several smaller communities because of the imminent danger.

The number of firefighters grew to more than 1,000 men and women. Every resource imaginable was used to stop this fast-growing fire and to protect the lives and property of the people living in the Mayer area.

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Arizonans serve at Harvest America

About 38,000 people gathered at the University of Phoenix Stadium Sunday night, June 11, for Harvest America, featuring top Christian music artists and preaching by Greg Laurie, senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship. An additional 246,647 tuned in live through the webcast, the 3,700 simulcast host sites and on Facebook Live.

At the end of the evening, 2,904 people walked down to the stadium floor to indicate their decision to follow Jesus Christ, and 4,324 more registered their commitment online or at host locations nationwide. Others made professions of faith during Crossover Arizona prior to the Sunday night event.

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First Arabic Baptist, Phoenix, hosts Messianic Fellowship

Pastor Jamal Bishara and First Arabic Baptist Church, Phoenix, welcomed 20 members of the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship for a Sunday worship service and Arabic hospitality with about 50 of his congregation and their friends on Sunday, June 11.

The Fellowship is comprised largely of Messianic Jews — Jews who follow Jesus as Messiah.

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Arizona Korean churches host national meeting

The Arizona Korean Baptist Association is praising God for His provision during the annual meeting of The Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in America (CKSBCA). The annual meeting took place in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, June 13-14 in Phoenix.

“The Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in America tries to meet at the same time and place as the SBC annual convention, because we belong to the SBC and are a partner of the SBC,” said Pastor Brian Chun Kuk Oh, senior pastor of Arizona New Light Baptist Church in Phoenix. When the annual SBC meeting was held in Phoenix in 2011, the CKSBCA held their meetings in Texas, due to logistical concerns regarding transportation, meals and worship planning.