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Williams and FBC to Team on Thailand Trip


Angela Flippo (left) and Susan Watson holding a baby during their mission trip to Thailand.

When Angela Flippo and Susan Watson made a mission trip to Thailand this spring, they found their lives changed in a profound way. Now, the two Williams Baptist College administrators are planning a return trip, and they are encouraging others to go with them.

Flippo and Watson are leading a trip next spring, known as Mission Thailand 2012, which will be a joint endeavor between WBC and Walnut Ridge First Baptist Church.

"From our very first encounter with the gracious, generous Thai people to our last glimpse of the terraced, Thailand terrain, we desired to return and bring a group so others could benefit from seeing, feeling, tasting, touching and hearing the voice of cultural exchange while serving others," said Watson, who is dean of students at Williams.

The mission trip is scheduled for March 15-25, 2012. The group will work with Richard and Connie Cummins, who are missionaries in Thailand and former employees at WBC. Mrs. Cummins also operates an orphanage in the couple’s home.

"Susan and I had heard stories for years about the wonderful work of the Cummins’, but it didn't sink in or become real to us until we finally visited them for the first time. I knew before I left Thailand that I had to go back and take others to see how God is using and working through the Cummins," noted Flippo, who is WBC’s vice president for enrollment management.

Flippo added, "The orphanage that Connie has in her home is amazing in itself, and the way she has formed genuine relationships with the Thai people is indescribable. I was astonished by all the work that she could accomplish in one given day."

Among the duties the group will undertake are teaching English to child care workers and others in Thailand, working with children and doing needed maintenance at the orphanage. They will be in Chiang Mai, Thailand, a city with a population of around one million people. The team will also have a chance to tour the area and experience its culture.

For now, the focus is on raising funds for the trip. Volunteers will be washing windows at Sonic in Walnut Ridge Saturday, June 11, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Donations will be accepted.

A neighborhood gold party by Braswell & Son is set for Tuesday, June 21. With gold currently selling at an all-time high, people can bring their gold jewelry and cash it in for money, with Mission Thailand 2012 getting 10% of total sales from the party. For more information, call (870) 759-4117.

Then, on Thursday, July 7, the group will kick off its "Mission Within a Mission Weekend," to raise funds the Thailand trip and to help victims of local flooding.

On the evening of July 7, the group will serve centercut pork steak dinners from Strawberry's of Holcomb, Mo. The dinners are $16 each and must be pre-ordered by July 5. Those who wish to order meals can call or stop by the First Baptist Church office at (870) 886-2722. They can pick up their orders on July 7 from 3:30-6:30 p.m. at FBC’s Ministry Activity Center (MAC), and they can dine in or carry out.

The group is also hosting a community-wide garage sale at the MAC. Hours will be July 7 from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Friday, July 8, from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, July 9, from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. New merchandise will be put out daily, according to the organizers.

"As part of this fund raiser, each family affected by the recent floods will receive a coupon for $25 of free merchandise at the garage sale. Everything is 75 cents unless otherwise marked," Flippo said.

Other fund raising activities are planned for the fall to help make the Mission Thailand 2012 trip possible for all who want to go.

Watson noted, "The stated mission of First Baptist Church is to ‘worship God, love people, and serve both.’ WBC recognizes that higher learning has at its core a higher purpose. Both groups are supportive of each other and recognize that ongoing engagement and service are an integral part of connecting with the local community and the world."

For more information on the trip, contact Angela Flippo at (870) 759-4117 or aflippo@wbcoll.edu, or Susan Watson at (870) 759-4188 or swatson@wbcoll.edu.

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