Missionary shares inspirational message at First Baptist Church

Mercy Gonzalez-Barnes, American Baptist missionary, left, greets the congregation on Nov. 1 with the Rev. Sharon Holt, pastor of First Baptist Church of Southington.

Mercy Gonzalez-Barnes, American Baptist missionary, left, greets the congregation on Nov. 1 with the Rev. Sharon Holt, pastor of First Baptist Church of Southington.

Rev. Mercy Gonzalez-Barnes, an American Baptist Churches USA missionary, made a stop on Sunday, Nov. 1 at First Baptist Church of Southington during her New England tour. Gonzalez-Barnes, who lives in southern California with her family and serves in Mexico, has been called to an expanded venue including Latin America and the Caribbean. Commissioned in 2000 by American Baptist Churches International Ministries, she will now be part of a team ministering to Cuban Baptists several times a year as well as other work throughout the region.

“I am responding to this new call and emphasis in my ministry with fear and trembling, but also with excitement as I am also being stretched to continue to grow and to be aware of the many diverse needs of our Latin American partners,” Gonzalez-Barnes said in a press release.

In the sermon she presented during Sunday worship, she candidly shared her enthusiasm and uncertainty with the First Baptist congregation while challenging them to “stretch forward,” heeding the call of the apostle Paul. Following worship she met congregants and further discussed her work.

The new role will require Gonzalez-Barnes and her family to relocate to Pennsylvania near American Baptist Church USA headquarters in Valley Forge. She is also pursuing her doctorate degree in ministry.

“This is an exciting time of change in Cuba, and in that spirit I continue to ask for your continued support of this ministry and for your prayers as our family transitions to this new responsibility,” she said in the release.

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