By Mandi McCluer
On March 1st, Iowans from around the state gathered at Crestwood Baptist Church in Des Moines for the Reconciled Conference. Those who attended were informed on various needs and challenged to respond, so that they might help reconcile others in their community and beyond to God. Topics included poverty, hunger, human trafficking, and drugs and alcohol. The main speakers were Mindy Jamison, missionary and director of the Friendship Baptist Center, and Matthew Gullion, the director of missions for the North Eastern Indiana Baptist Association. Mindy Jamison gave a presentation on the realities and stereotypes of generational poverty. She encouraged listeners to have a greater understanding so that they might better relate to and support those living with little to no income. Matthew Gullion spoke about his experience as a former CEO of a drug rehabilitation ministry called REACH. By outlining a range of details and answering individual questions, he sought to give audience members the tools they needed to start ministries of their own.
Beyond these speakers, however, several other testimonies were given. Jacob Gardner shared how he was called to lead worship for the Friendship Baptist Center’s Monday Night Church once a month. Gene Stockton related how a bus ministry was started to transport kids to his church in Sioux City, Heartland Community Baptist. Bobbie Thies spoke of how she was led to teach ESL. In addition, Junior, whose family has lived next to the Friendship Baptist Center for the last 15 years, told his story of being transformed after receiving Christ.
After coming together to share experiences and encourage each other to action, Iowans went home. The conference, however, did not end there. While it will probably be impossible to measure the impact on each individual, since the meeting, a hunger ministry has begun developing and two recovery ministries are in the process of beginning. Those who led the event are thankful for what God has done through this gathering, and they are already looking forward to next year’s Reconciled conference.