by Jon Jamison, Co-Director, Friendship Baptist Center
Friends and Ministry Partners,
We need to make an announcement that impacts the Friendship Center.
On July 1, for the first time since 1999, we will no longer be the Directors of the Friendship Baptist Center. A new chapter is beginning, not only for us but for the Center as well.
As you know, we love this community and have been so blessed to find such wonderful family here. The youth we met nearly 20 years ago, now have kids of their own (and they’re awesome). People who once came to the Center to receive ministry, now minister alongside us. The Center, which used to be solely funded by the Baptist Convention of Iowa, now is its own nonprofit organization and has a Board of Directors and is jointly funded by churches, individuals and the Baptist Convention of Iowa.
It is impossible to convey just how deeply we have loved knowing and serving with so many of you for so many years. We came here as 25-year-old babies and have spent our adult lives growing into the people we are today…because of you and because of the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus.
Maggie just turned 11 and has never known life apart from many of you or from the Friendship Baptist Center. She receives ministry at the Center almost daily. She chose to follow Jesus through this ministry and through the significant leadership of its volunteers. She was baptized last year, right in the middle of the “Big Room”! Thankfully, she’s also had opportunities to offer ministry through the Center on a regular basis. God has mightily used you and the Center to demonstrate His love and compassion to Maggie and through Maggie. As an MK, WMU ladies around the world have diligently prayed for her since before she was born (Our little miracle baby)! This will be a difficult transition, to say the least. How grateful we are for the Friendship Center!
From After School Ministries to Disciples to Mom’s Group to ESL to Community Breakfast to Sunday Night Church to Community Meals and certainly to Peppermint College – we have deeply loved our life with you. We can truly say that you have blessed our lives immeasurably.
As for the future: We have every confidence that the Friendship Center has wonderfully bright days ahead. We are leaving it in the capable hands of its Board of Directors and such an amazing group of committed volunteers. Plans are being set in motion to move the Center into the future, both short term and long term.
I ask you to please to continue the work that God is doing in the MLKing community of Des Moines. If you have questions, feel free to reach out to me or one of our Board of Directors: Todd Stiles, John Jakes, Bobbie Thies, Tim Lubinus or Joni Wilkinson.
We are simply incapable of expressing our love for you adequately. Please know, that while we firmly believe God is leading us in this direction, leaving here will be the hardest thing we’ve ever done.
But it’s time.
We love you, Friendship Center. We love you, friends and ministry partners. Thank you, Jesus, for walking with all of us throughout these nearly 20 years.
We will be moving to Columbia, South Carolina. I (Jon) have accepted a ministry position with the South Carolina Baptist Convention as their Compassion Ministries Strategist. I’ll work with churches and missionaries across the state and will seek to help them strengthen ongoing ministries and will work to develop new ministries. Specifically, we’ll focus on Refugee, Hunger, ESL, Multi-Housing ministries and ministry with people impacted by poverty. We would certainly appreciate your prayers as we follow God into this next adventure.
We will certainly continue to pray for the Friendship Baptist Center and the vital ministry in this community.
-Jon, Mindy and Maggie