Posts Tagged ‘Mark Larson’

By Jeannie Dortch. Photos courtesy of Paul Bickford, Ried Stelly and Mark Williams.

Callout-BLOG-kohx2In September 2013 Jim Somerville explained KOHx2, FBC’s second yearlong mission trip: “How much more possible it would be to bring the Kingdom if FBC partnered with other people, other churches, and other agencies and institutions. Everything is easier when you have a little help.”


SKEINS knitted wares

A little help is what made this story grow into one worth telling!

In December 2012 I heard Ann Curry from the TODAY Show tell everyone listening to the morning broadcast to perform 26 acts of kindness in memory of the children and teachers killed in Sandy Hook, CT. I had promised FBC’s SKEINS ministry (Sewers, Knitters, Embroiderers involved in Needlework for Service) that I would knit hats for children in South Africa, but had not made good on my pledge. It was that number 26 that gave me the goal and end point I needed to begin.


Playground built by money raised
through special offerings

It wasn’t long before I met Mark and Sara Williams, CBF (Cooperative Baptist Fellowship) missionaries to South Africa, who were visiting Richmond, and gave them my first four feeble attempts. Then I learned about more ties between FBC members and the Williamses. June Burton was raising money to dig a well for the villagers in the community where Sara and Mark work. Debbie Boykin and Candi Brown were leading mission trips to that community, and Candi was spearheading a campaign to raise money to build a playground there.

I wanted to draw attention to these good causes, too. When the Fine Arts Team sought artists to display their work in the annual Arts and Crafts Show, I wondered if my hats, each unique, were considered show worthy? With a few phone calls, I discovered they were. And with a few more calls, I gathered more SKEINS knitters to contribute their work as well. These hats gave opportunities to share with the show’s attendees about the other FBC ties to South Africa. Gwen and Truman Smith, Sara Williams’ parents, answered questions about Sara and Mark’s work. June Burton provided flyers on “Digging Wells for Eli,” the project she named in honor of the Williams’ son. And a signup sheet for the first mission trip, led by Candi, was available.

Pratt Stelly-250px

Pratt Stelly on mission in Tibet

Pratt Stelly stopped at our Arts and Crafts Show booth and later wrote on Jim’s blog, referring to participation in FBC’s year-long mission trip as riding on a metaphorical bus that stops for passengers to disembark and help those in need: “At the Arts and Crafts Fair I was drawn to the darling baby hats from the SKEINS group. I was given a pattern right there on the spot, and stopped to buy yarn on my way home from church! I knit 10 hats before I left for China …. And this is where I got off the “bus.” While I want to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond, Virginia, I feel like we should also bring the Kingdom of Heaven wherever we are in the world. I took my hats to Tibet in hopes of finding an orphanage, but could not find one that took babies. I decided to give the hats to needy people I passed on the street. … While we did not speak the same language, we shared the feeling of love for one another, and that is what it is all about. I will continue to knit and give hats wherever I am.”

Marian Robinson, another new knitter, says: “I saw the preemie hat … at the Arts and Crafts Fair. I was especially interested in the unusual design pattern. Jeannie sent me the directions. I was thrilled and excited to be part of this mission. I started immediately along with my cousin Kathy who was visiting from Massachusetts.

Mark Larson and kids

Mark Larson on mission in South Africa

We knitted a dozen hats in time for Mark Larson to take with him to South Africa in October. The task was a simple one, but the satisfaction received was more than I could have ever imagined.”

And finally, from Linn Kreckman, founder of SKEINS: “After listening to Gwen Smith speak at Missions Friends in September, Evan, my 6-year-old grandson, wanted to find time with me to knit for ‘the children who don’t have a mommy to keep them warm.’ His hat was a labor of love, full of beginning knitter’s holes, but one that was knit from the start to share.”

South African kids

FBC mission team members sharing hats
with SAF community

It is amazing how so much more can be accomplished when the work is joyfully and willingly shared. Math is not my strong suit, but KOHx2 may just be the easiest multiplication problem I ever worked!

Editor’s note: The goal for “Digging Wells for Eli” is $7,000 for one well. At the time of this writing, almost $6,000 has been raised and digging began November 11, 2013. For more information, contact June Burton.
For information on SKEINS, contact Linn Kreckman.
Jeannie Dortch just finished her 26th hat and plans to continue knitting.

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By Mike Gill. Photos by Todd Martin and Mark Larson.

Can a boy described by some as a “lost cause” become an Eagle Scout? He can and did, says Cub Scout Pack leader Mark Larson.

calloutA young scout’s difficult home situation made fitting in with the other boys hard. Mark worked with the Scout Master of another troop to provide the structure this boy needed. The lost cause went on to be the senior patrol leader, an Eagle Scout, and an exceptional young man. Scouting has rules that everyone has to follow, but it serves individual needs as well.

Scouting at First Baptist Church

Boy Scouts have been meeting almost steadily at First Baptist Church since 1932, just a few decades after being organized in the United States.

Troup 443’s 18 youths, ages 11 to 17, participate in at least one adventure activity every month, ranging from hiking to canoeing. Assistant Scout Master Paul Kreckman describes them as a “high adventure troop.” Their annual trip to Camp T. Brady Saunders in Goochland County allows them to share their adventures with other scouts from the area.

Scouting at First Baptist ChurchMore than 30 first- through fifth-grade Cub Scouts experience outdoor fun with two organized camping trips per year. Just as the older scouts, they hone their leadership skills at regular meetings and eagerly anticipate annual events: the Pinewood Derby and the Blue and Gold Banquet.

The troop and pack are committed to giving back to the community, mainly concentrating its efforts on Northside and The Fan areas of Richmond, where most of the scouts live. In addition to those efforts, in 2012, their annual “Scouting for Food” event resulted in their collecting approximately 4,000 pounds of food for those in need throughout the city.

Scouting at First Baptist ChurchJohn Farmer serves as the Chartered Organizational Representative for the scouts, liaising between the troop and pack leaders and FBC. John has been involved in scouting since the 1940s. For him the most fulfilling thing about scouting is watching “the development of boys…some (participating) from age six to eighteen.” Last year an impressive six scouts in Troop 443 earned the prestigious distinction of Eagle Scout, the highest rank awarded by the Boy Scouts of America. John went on to explain that while some Scouting activities are timeless, such as swimming and forestry, “Scouting does an outstanding job of changing with the times,” remaining relevant for boys whatever the decade, or century.

Scouting at First Baptist ChurchSo, how can FBC members support Troop 443? Although supplies that the scouts use have very exact specifications, monetary donations to help procure those supplies are always greatly appreciated. Mark says that the Cub Scouts have a continuous need for adult leadership. While the youths in Boy Scouts largely run their activities themselves, the Cub Scouts always need volunteers to help with meetings or trips, as well as other events.

Another century of scouting would be a wonderful investment for FBC and Richmond!

Editor’s notes: Scout leaders Mark Larson, Paul Kreckman and John Farmer are FBC members.
Boy Scouts meet every Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. in Suite 230. Cub Scouts meet at 6:30 p.m. in Suites 210 and 250 on the first and second Tuesdays and in the Dining Room on the fourth Tuesdays. Both groups meet from September through June. To make a monetary contribution or to serve as a volunteer, contact Paul Kreckman, Mark Larson or John Farmer.

Mike GillMike Gill and his wife, Sherry, have attended First since 1999. They have two children, Lane and Lindsey. Mike is Director of Middle Schools for Chesterfield County.

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