MARVELL, Ark. – Marvell First Baptist Church Pastor B.J. Chatman and Rose Bud First Baptist Church Pastor Mitchell Vickers connected in March through the Arkansas Baptist State Convention Mission Team’s Delta Vision Tour.
Vickers, who went on the Vision Tour with Calvary Baptist Association Associational Missionary Joe Garner, traveled through Marvell multiple times over the years while traveling to Barton for school events. He would drive through and pray for the town. He felt a connection with Marvell.
So, when Garner told Vickers that Chatman would be present during the Delta Vision Tour’s stop in Marianna, Vickers quickly introduced himself and told Chatman he wanted to partner with him. As it was, Chatman was interested in having a partner for missions in Marvell.
“That was just the beginning point,” Vickers said. “The whole time has been God putting everything together. It’s really neat to watch what God did through the whole thing.”
After that meeting, the two began planning and organized the “I Heart Marvell Mission Weekend,” which took place Aug. 3-6. Twelve people from Rose Bud traveled to the Delta for the missions weekend. The Arkansas Valley Baptist Association provided them a place to stay.
Marvell Youth Minister Martin Rawls said they had a welcome dinner Thursday evening for the Rose Bud folks then started missions within the community early on Friday at four sites around town. A few jobs included removing a large fallen tree from behind the splashpad in Marvell, clearing up the appearance of an old church in the area and cleaning the Levon Helms home. On Saturday, the two churches hosted a block party.
“The culture here in Marvell it is very difficult at times. The Delta in general is a very difficult place to live in. Where we are is kind of the heart of the Delta. We have a lot of generational issues and that is one thing we wanted to do. We wanted to break down some of those barriers and unite the community together. I think we were very successful with that,” Chatman said. “It was a God thing. God has His hand over the whole thing. We intermingled with so many people of different walks of life. It was just so special.”
On Sunday, the group from Rose Bud attended the worship service at First Baptist Church in Marvell.
“One thing that really stood out to me is they all kept saying this feels like home. So, this weekend, it is not a one and done thing. Because of generosity of several, there’s going to be more I Heart Marvel,” Chatman said. “But even more than that it is going to be Rose Bud and Marvell together doing Kingdom work not just here or there but as far as God will let us go together.”
Chatman noted one generous donor from Rose Bud gave $10,000 to the I Heart Marvell mission.
“I felt like that was another evidence of God blessing, kind of commissioning us with this campaign to see that it continues. It’s not just over after this weekend. It’s going to be huge in helping continue that work moving forward and that partnership together,” he said.