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Vantage point

Life along the Mississippi

As I started down the path to the South Creek Trail on a chilly weekend last winter, I heard a man calling and whistling. Soon a small cocker spaniel pup rounded the corner, followed by the man in hot pursuit, holding an unattached leash in one hand.

The pup raced along, darting here and there, sniffing everything in sight. When the pup spotted me, he charged headlong in my direction. I reached my hand down, which he quickly sniffed, then he was off in an instant, well ahead of his owner.

Smiling and breathing hard, the owner said to me as he passed, "He’s just a baby. Everything’s new."

I’ve seen this same kind of activity on a spiritual plane. There is nothing quite like the wide-eyed wonder of new believers. Everything is fresh and exciting to baby Christians. Though they may blunder into some problems, they bring a zest for life that puts a smile on your face and adds vitality to any congregation. The guaranteed solution for any church that is dragging: get some people saved. What a difference it makes.

Churches across our Fellowship have discovered this. And for the third year in a row the Pentecostal Evangel has sent two reporters across the country in search of spiritual life and ministry in churches and communities big and small. This year, for the first time, we have traversed the nation north to south instead of east to west. Our two writers followed the course of the mighty Mississippi River, stopping at communities along the way. They found evidence that there are lots of these new believers in a wide variety of Assemblies of God churches. But they found more — an array of ministries and testimonies as interesting and varied as the many twists and turns of America’s great waterway. And they found a spiritual power in action to match the physical might of the raging Mississippi at flood tide.

From its Minnesota headwaters to its mouth in the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana, the Mississippi boasts color and variety. The life along the Mississippi affords a compelling and captivating look at an eternal drama — God reaching man where he lives.

We hope you enjoy this unique sampling of what God is doing in our nation.

— Ken Horn

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