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Full circle training led to full time ministry

 

Sherri Brown

Fred “Rabbit” McBurnett, 80, gets ready for a morning pick up in Rome. McBurnett works several days a week for Floyd Association transporting senior citizens to medical appointments.

Brenda Gail Baldwin loves her job. She is confident that God trained her for it – it just took a decade or so for Him to do it.

Today, Baldwin is a North American Mission Board missionary serving as director of the ministry center for Floyd County Baptist Association.

Baldwin moved to Rome while she was in high school and it was as a senior that she took her first job at a local radio station. It turned into a career.

“I loved radio,” Baldwin said. She eventually became the morning show host for a popular station.

“Radio was the driving factor of my life,” she said.

It was a tragic death of a friend that made her examine that life she’d built.

“A good friend I worked with died of a heart attack the day after the Oklahoma City bombings. He was 36 years old,” Baldwin recalled. “At his funeral all we talked about was radio. I realized then that I had never shared Christ with him.

“As far as I know, my friend David died and went to hell.” A year later, she quit her job.

She assumed God would find her a job in Christian radio. Instead, she stayed home for six months and in 1997 went to work at a real estate office. Three years later she went to work at the Berry College alumni office.

A week after she quit her job at Berry, she heard about a ministry assistant job at the association’s ministry center. She took the job and “fell in love with it.” When the director quit, Baldwin took over, becoming a missionary in the process.

Looking back, she sees clearly how God trained her for the job – it was at the real estate office where she learned office skills and at Berry College her job was coordinating volunteers.

“God came full circle with me. It took 10 years for Him to train me to do this job,” she said.

Her goals for the ministry center are simple: to empower people to better themselves and understand the gospel.

The ministry center provides a variety of ministries including a food pantry, coat closet, senior citizen medical transportation, and other ministries.

With an economy that is failing, the center has become a lifeline for some.

“We have elderly people on fixed incomes who have to decide between food and medicine. We can help with that,” she said.

She also helps in a job crisis.

Sherri Brown, Communications, GBC

“We had a girl who had just been laid off from a fast food restaurant. She was a cook and needed help,” said Baldwin who sent her to a local grocery store owner about a job. “She’s still working in the deli there. We helped her with her rent once and haven’t seen her again.”

Another longtime ministry the association provides is transportation for senior citizens who need to get to medical appointments.

Fred “Rabbit” McBurnett, 80, is the primary driver for that ministry. He’s known all over Floyd County as Rabbit – after a childhood fall off the back of a truck left him limping. He was in the wrecker business for 47 years and after retiring got tired of “laying around.”

“After running a wrecker service, I know every pig trail in the county,” he said. “They call me anytime and I’m ready to go. I feel like I’m helping somebody. If it weren’t for us carrying them, they wouldn’t have a way to go back and forth to the doctor.”

The food pantry is another successful ministry. Churches are asked to hold a food drive once a month to keep the shelves full at the pantry.

“This keeps the churches from having to have their own food ministries and we’re able to check people out,” said Jim Reynolds, direc? tor of missions for Floyd Association.

Because the churches support the food ministry so well, no government subsidies are needed. That means that Bible study attendance can be required before receiving food.

“Every person who receives food, hears the gospel,” Baldwin said. “That’s what Jesus did. He taught them, then He fed them.”

That’s what running a ministry center is about.

 

North American Mission Board missionaries are supported through the Cooperative Program. For information about church and community ministries in Georgia, contact Ricky Thrasher at rthrasher@gabaptist.org, (770) 936-5223, or (800) RING GBC.

You and your church may send Cooperative Program Offerings to:
Dr. J. Robert White, Exec. Dir., GBC
6405 Sugarloaf Parkway
Duluth, GA 30097

 

Sherri Brown

Wayne Comer, left, member of Mt. Alto Church, and Harold Frazier, a member of Fellowship Church, pack food boxes at Floyd Association food ministry. Clients are able to “order” their groceries from a master list so they are able to choose the foods they enjoy. Comer and Frazier are regular volunteers at the ministry.