Pastor Steven Harris
I was born in Ippy, Central African Republic, on October 19, 1964, in the home of one of the missionary nurses. I spent the next fifteen years of my life with my parents, Ward and Sarah Jane Harris, in missionary service in the Central African Republic. It was there in Africa that God saved me, called me to preach, and it was there to Africa that I thought I would devote my life.
I was saved as a young child following a family devotion time. Dad was away on a village conference and Mom, my siblings, and I were at our home in Bria. I am not sure what the devotions were all about, but I remember the conviction of God on my young heart and the realization that I was a sinner. I did not immediately confide in my mother the conviction that I was feeling in my heart, but went along to bed. Somewhere in the night, I awoke with nightmares of hell and cried out for my mother. After calming me of my “nightmare,” I shared with her the truth of the problem that I understood that I was a sinner and that I knew that I needed to be saved. I don’t remember all that transpired that night, but I remember that conviction and I remember the peace of God that came to my little life when I trusted Christ as my Saviour.
In 1979, I returned to the U.S. to complete high school and then prepare for the calling of God upon my life for missionary service. All through high school and into college everyone around me knew that God had called me to missionary service. I graduated high school in 1982 and immediately went to a Bible college to prepare for the ministry. In 1984, Peggy and I were married and immediately returned to college to complete my studies. In 1985, I graduated from my Bible college studies and had all ready prepared with my parents to return to the Central African Republic for a short stay prior to beginning our deputation to raise the needed support to serve as missionaries there in the Central African Republic.
What I had never foreseen or imagined was that God might have some other place for me to serve. During the last year of college God had begun working on my heart to surrender that choice to Him. I informed my parents of that battle. Dad and I returned to Africa leaving Mom and Peggy in the U.S. in December of 1985. On that plane ride to Africa I settled with God that I would surrender my will to Him. He clearly gave me my orders to New Zealand, a country I knew very little about. What I did know was that it was a cultured country of well to do English descendants which was the opposite of my life and training.
We arrive in New Zealand in May 1989 and served with Pastor Andrew Neville and East Coast Bays Bible Baptist Church for six months. For the next year and a half we co-labored with an Australian missionary supposing in due time to continue our church planting efforts in an area farther south in the city once the first work was established. All of those plans were to be violently rewritten when in March of 1991 we were informed that our third child, Bethany, was terminally ill with an inoperable brain tumor. Due to health regulations in the social health care of New Zealand, we were ordered to return to the as U.S. citizens to the U.S. where in April of 1991 Bethany died. That same day we were informed that our New Zealand visas were revoked.
Thus began our search for God’s direction and our next step of missionary service. Knowing that the field is the world we were open to the wherever of God’s leadership. We earnestly prayed and specifically considered Africa, Wales, Russia, Australia as well as many other countries of opportunity and need. I was asked by a pastor friend if I had ever considered church planting in the U.S. That is where God started it all. I could not get away from that question. God was leading me west. I began to look for towns and cities that had no independent Baptist churches. At the end of January of 1993, God made His will know that the town of Bullhead City, Arizona was where He was leading and by February 5th we arrived.
I immediately began door knocking on every door beginning at the Colorado River and California border and working north. In my very first week of door knocking I met two families that would eventually become charter members of the Mohave Baptist Church although it took them quite a few more years to begin attending services. At first it was my hope to hold services in our house there in the valley but no visitors ever came. On Sunday, May 2nd, 1993, we began hold services at 5287 Highway 95, Fort Mohave, Arizona. Still no one came, but we started and continued with Sunday school at 9.30 Am, Morning service at 10:30 AM, Evening service at 5:00 PM, and our mid-week service at 7:00 PM on Thursday.
Although soul winning was an almost daily activity, it wasn’t until the winter of 1994 that God began to increase our number. By our first CHRISTmas party in December of 1994 we saw an average attendance of thirty-five to forty. Our attendance included the Berry Family, the Ortiz family, the Riley family, the Shipman family, the Weaver family and a few more names that elude me at this time. By March of 1995 everyone of those families had moved out of state and we began again. Possibly one of the hardest moments of ministry in my life up to that time. By that time, my soul winning door to door had reached well up into the city of Bullhead City. The question that begged to be asked was, “Okay, so I came, I have knocked on almost every door in town. Almost everyone has heard and had their opportunity. No one is interested. God, can I leave?” The answer was no and I wasn't at all happy with the answer.
In February of 1996, we had our first Evangelistic Meeting with the help of the youth group from Anchor Baptist Church in Salt Lake City, Utah, and a group of men led by Pastor Ed Bragg of Lafayette Bible Baptist Church of Baldwin, Missouri. Bill Kinman was contacted and I was able to go by his house and lead him to the Lord. Just down the street one of the men had spoken with Henry Angon and he had made a profession of faith. God had begun to lay the seed that would lead to the salvation of others surrounding those lives. Others that are still a very real part of Mohave Baptist Church. Through that meeting and those souls saved God encouraged my heart and changed my attitude and I happily stayed to see God do great things at Mohave Baptist Church.
It was 2003, it had become obvious that God had established His work in the Mohave Baptist Church. I was still a missionary and the work was still a mission. It was time to organize as an autonomous work. We had a sufficient number of members to be autonomous; we had enough experience as a work to be autonomous. The question then became was it God’s will for the only “pastor” the work had ever know to be the pastor or was God’s will and calling in my life to continue as a missionary. It had been ten years since I had come to the Bullhead City area and I had become a pastor. On Sunday, May 4th, 2003, forty people signed the charter membership of Mohave Baptist Church. Mohave Baptist Church was now it’s own autonomous church.
On Sunday, November 23rd, I resigned as the pastor and Gary Johnson became pastor of Mohave Baptist Church.
Pastor Gary Johnson
The Lord saved me in March of 1985. I had been raise in a Protestant church, and knew that Jesus Christ had died on the cross to pay for my sins, that He was buried and raised again, but had never placed my faith in him until I was 21 years old, and was convicted of my guilt before God. Within the first year of being saved, the Lord stirred in my heart to preach his word.
I thank the Lord for the 7 years he allowed me to pastor Mohave Baptist Church.
God began to work in my heart and called me to go to the east central part of Minnesota to start a new church. As Pastor Lindbloom and I prayed about a man to replace me, the Lord placed Bro. Randall on my heart. The church was well acquainted with the Randall's. He was praying about what the Lord would have him to do also at that time concerning the ministry.
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