Local missionaries answer God’s call

By BETSY LOWERY / Special to the Reporter

PELHAM — Carrie R. Davis of Helena says doing mission work in a foreign country, with a different culture and language, forges a unique bond between missionaries. Davis is one of 60 from churches across the U.S., including First Baptist Church of Pelham, who will depart on May 23 for a medical mission trip to Guayaquil, Ecuador.

“God puts us in the path of people who need to hear our story,” Davis said. Having spent most of her young children’s lives as a single mother, she has ministered to other single mothers during prior trips to Ecuador and to Peru, sharing a special bond with them.

“Our fires of tribulation very often touch someone else who needs our story in order to know God is reaching out to them,” Davis said.

This will be Davis’s third missionary visit to Ecuador, but the first for 17-year-old Emily Berry, an Alabaster homeschooler whose family, she says, “has been very supportive of me going. We talk and pray about what God is going to do in my life.”

Her assignment is to work in an eye care clinic. It may be her first international mission trip, but serving others as Christ’s ambassadors is not new to Berry or her family. Regularly involved in stateside missions through FBC, the Berry family is currently caring for their fifth foster child.

“My family gets to show Jesus’ love to [these children] while they are with us,” Berry said. “They may not remember our family when they get older, but we impacted their life in a way that is very special.”

Stephanie Culbreth of Pelham anticipates her very first mission trip, as well as her first venture outside the U.S. Her work in Ecuador will include doing door-to-door evangelism with a translator by day and leading children’s Bible classes by night. Culbreth already served the mission team by organizing a pancake breakfast at Applebee’s in Pelham. The event raised more than $2,000 toward the group’s airfare and other expenses.

“God has shown me His faithfulness and provision through the many people who have provided the financial support necessary for my daughter and me to be a part of this mission trip,” Culbreth said. “He has shown me His love and care through the many people who have offered to pray for us.”

Kelsey, 14, has the same assignments as her mother, but she will be with a different team, working in a different village.

Assigned to lead a church planting team on his second visit to Ecuador, Robert Plummer continues to say yes to a missionary call that originated in a 1980s experience at First Baptist Church of Atlanta. The pastor asked for people to go and at that time, Plummer admits, he said, “No.”

“I did not feel any calling after that until the March 2007 Ecuador trip was planned,” Plummer said. “(That experience) was a good reminder that God has plans for me and does not want me to sit, unchanged, in my walk. He wants to stretch all of us to accomplish the work He has set out for us…spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

This medical and church planting trip will include 35 people from FBC of Pelham and 25 from other churches around the country.