Black Mountain Baptist Church, Cave Creek, exceeded its goal at its annual 2017 Operation Christmas Child Shoebox packing party by filling 3,164 boxes in four-and-a-half hours.

Church members and guests from kindergarten to 80+ stuffed shoeboxes with hygiene and school supplies, toys and clothing items for distribution by Samaritan’s Purse to children affected by war, natural disasters and displacement in more than 100 countries. The purpose of these gifts is to let the children know that someone cares for them and point them to Jesus.

Led by Mary Jane Spear, OCC East Phoenix Team church relations coordinator and OCC project coordinator at Black Mountain Baptist Church, a group of dedicated workers collect, create and assemble gifts year round.

As one of the drop-off locations for the East Phoenix Team, the church delivered to the Phoenix Collection Center almost 7,500 of the 14,143 boxes collected by the team. The church was recently awarded a plaque from Samaritan’s Purse commemorating 10 years of participation in the Shoebox Ministry.

Spear has been invited by Samaritan’s Purse to join a team traveling to Uganda in May to distribute shoeboxes directly to children.


In the East Valley, First Baptist Church, Chandler, filled 2,213 shoeboxes, and the collection center in the church lobby processed 6,817 shoeboxes. A team from the church traveled to California to process shoeboxes to be shipped internationally Nov. 29-30. Amy Conaway is the church’s project leader, and Linda Hollinshead is Operation Christmas Child network coordinator.


Ekklesia, Yuma, recently built their 10th home for a needy families with 1Mission in Rocky Point, Mexico. It was also 1Mission’s 700th build. Ekklesia hosted a home tour and celebration for their people and the families for whom they’ve built homes.


If you’re not following Arizona Southern Baptists on Facebook, you missed this news:

Pastor Jeremiah Semmler of CityView Church, Phoenix, recently baptized 5 new believers! Each story of how they came to faith in Christ is unique and beautiful, from waiting at the theater (where the church meets) for a movie to start and a simple invitation to come to the service instead, to a husband who wanted a faith like his wife’s, and another who did a Google search looking for churches in her area. We celebrate these new brothers and sisters in Christ with Pastor Jeremiah and his church!