Day 2Tommy and Elizabeth Stevens
After five years, Tommy and Liz Stevens have grown accustomed to the echo of
gun fighting, which they can hear from their front porch. Tourists come from
miles around to see the old saloons and the daily reenactments of the shootout
at the OK Corral. But the couple is working on attracting both tourists and
locals to the love of Christ. Theyve made Tombstone, Arizona, their
headquarters in the center of a 16,500-square-mile area of ministry.
Mission: To help plant churches and strengthen churches in southern
Prayer request: Pray that God would fill the need for pastors and
new churches in the Cochise Baptist Association in Arizona where a majority of
the people are not related to any church.
Tommy is the director of missions for the Cochise Baptist Association where
he works with nearly 200,000 people in the southern part of Arizona, a state 92
A lot of people came out here to get away from people like me, says Tommy.
Weve come out here to get em.
When they arrived in the association in 1997, 13 churches
and two missions were already established. The two missions have grown to two
churches, bringing the number of churches to 15. Those churches started 33
missions. In addition, there are four active Bible studies. Altogether, the
Stevenses serve 54 congregations.
Besides assisting churches and other congregations in the association, the
couple operates a bed and breakfast in Tombstone named the Parsons Rest. This
is a place the Stevenses have designed as a ministers family retreat and a
place where missions groups stay when coming to work in the area. During the
past five years, 2,400 people have either eaten or slept at the Parsons Rest.
Last year, they lodged 24 teams.
Tommy and Liz Stevens take the reigns in southern Arizona where
they are helping churches grow in the Cochise Association.
PHOTOS BY GIBBS FRAZEUR
God has provided everything we need, says Tommy. Were able to comfortably
sleep 25 people. Weve fed as many as 107.
And while ministers and their families are not allowed to work while staying
with the couple, missions teams that stay with them go directly to the
For example, during Hellderado Days, a yearly festival in Tombstone, Tommy
and Liz go with missions teams to hand out gospel tracts, Jesus videos and
Bibles. One year, groups passed out nearly 2,000 tracts in two hours.
We put a table out and give away free water and doughnuts, Liz says. Then we
have a gospel band on the front porch. So for two hours while theyre standing
in line, they hear gospel music, and were getting to share the gospel.
Tombstone is a microcosm of the rest of the association. While there is some
resistance to the gospel from several groups in the areafor example, 13 witches
covens practice in Cochise County aloneChrists love still has an audience. In
2001, 700 people in the area made professions of faith. Last year, the Cochise
Baptist Association recorded more than 600 professions of faith and 257
Tommy also is at work with nine missions in Agra Prieta, Mexico, where he is
working with the Convencion National, helping them form their own
association. The Cochise Association has partnered with First Baptist Church of
Agra Prieta and continues to reach Spanish-speaking populations that have never
heard the gospel.
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