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Big Blessings in Tiny Timbo

Small congregation opens its coffers to assist missionary efforts.

With a single stop sign and fewer than 50 residents, little Timbo, Arkansas, hardly looks like a place where big things are happening.

But over the past 25 years, Timbo Valley Assembly of God has given more than $1.3 million to missionary efforts around the world. The congregation of 120, which meets in a $1.5 million building paid off within two years of construction, supports 100 missionaries on a monthly basis and helps fund several local and global outreach projects.

David G. Campbell, who has served as the church’s senior pastor for 37 years, says it wasn’t always this way.

“For the first 16 years I had a crippling poverty mindset,” Campbell says. “The area was economically depressed. I was bivocational, working as a teacher most of the year and for the U.S. Forest Service in the summer to support my family. Sunday morning attendance averaged 16 to 20, and Sunday night and Wednesday night attendance was smaller.”

During a time of prayer in the early 1990s, Campbell sensed God prompting him to lead the church in giving. He launched an end-of-the-month missions offering, dubbing it Broke Sunday since it came at a time when household finances were tightest. Over the previous eight years, the church had given a total of just $613 to missions. That year, the missions offering exceeded $5,000.

“The real blessing was more than money,” Campbell says. “The real excitement was in the revival that came with the obedience. Attendance steadily grew until we were averaging over 100 in Sunday School in a 30-by-80 building that seated 85.”

Several local residents, including a number of drug dealers and addicts, accepted Christ as Savior and became regular attendees. Some Sundays, people rushed forward for salvation before the sermon even started. The church launched a ministry at the local jail, which also resulted in a number of conversions.

“I was church secretary during these years, and I am still in awe of the miracles God has granted our church,” says Sue Gammill, a member of the church for more than 40 years. “We are truly blessed as we support missionaries and mission projects around the world and in our community and state.”

Today, the church continues to thrive and grow in generosity. Three years ago, Timbo Valley AG agreed to support all the AG missionaries in Louisiana. Two years ago, the congregation added the missionaries of Mississippi. Campbell says the blessings the church has experienced have been the fruit of simple obedience and love in action.

“You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving,” Campbell says.  “The Bible is full of teaching on giving: ‘Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over’ ” (Luke 6:38).

The congregation took a major step of faith in 2003 by tithing the church's total debt, a sum of $23,700, and trusting God to pay off the mortgage on the new building. Again, blessings followed. Within two weeks, enough money came in to pay off the debt.

Earnest Allen, who has attended the church for 20 years, says he is convinced that big things can happen through small steps of faith.

“We have seen the blessings flow as a result of the abundant and unselfish giving from the members and even people outside our church who wish to give to a mission-minded church,” Allen says. “We have seen it grow from a little church down by the creek to a beautiful, debt-free building that is a testimony to the entire area of what can happen when God is in control.”

Christina Quick

Christina Quick is a former Pentecostal Evangel staff writer who attends James River Church (Assemblies of God) in Ozark, Missouri.