Rural Journey

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How we got here....

It was somewhere between 1984 and 1986. We were serving a small rural community in North Dakota. The burden of the area became intense as we served the church and traveled the area holding tent meetings, kids crusades, revivals, and more.

As the vision unfolded for developing a support ministry for a declining Rural America, I penned it and mailed it to Assembly of God Home Missions. No one responded, timing is everything it seems. 

As we continued to walk out our lives as the Lord would lead us, the ministry would take several turns, eventually leaving the vision for Rural America way behind. We planted churches, established Urban Bible Training Centers, and joined the U.S. Missions when the strategy was set to reach the 39 largest cities in America. Rural America was lost in the rear view mirrior.

In 1998, God began the process for renewing His vision for Rural Amertica. He called us from an inner city church in Albuquerque, NM to a rural comunity in NW North Dakota. Williston was a city of 12,500 at the time. What a trip that would prove to be. 

Over the next four years God would revive the vision for the need of a support ministry designed to come along side and help rural communities and their churches. Finally, in 2002 we would reapply with the U.S. Missions for an appointment to Rural America In 2004 we would leave the church we had been serving for six years and begin implementing the ministry plan God had given us.

From here the journey would take many strange twists. An attempt was made to build a coalition of Districts with a five state region which included ND, SD, MT, WY, and NE. We held regional meetings which exposed U.S. Mission leaders to the region on a more intimate level. Dialogue among District leaders increased as we sought to build a cohesiveness for a regional vision.

An effort was made to serve each of these Districts in developing Evangelism as well as training ministries. For the most part, there was a limited sucess in these areas. What began to happen was a ministry that ran to the fire bells. Churches in crisis, between pastors, needed intervention and districts began to ask for help with these congregations.

God gave us great favor with these churches. We developed a ministry plan which we dubbed, Intentional Interms. We used assessments, devised a plan and at times performed surgery on churches in 6 districts. The success would win favor and it seemed that the original vision was being redirected. But was it?

Interaction with the National Offices of U.S. Missions would lead to an apparent opportunity to influence a national platform for developing Rural America. Upon accepting this assignment, the 5 state region would withdraw their support and i would be released to serve on the national level. Within 30 days, the door which had appeared open, would close abruptly and I would be virtually without support and without a job description.

God had a better plan. He opened another interm assignment in Santa Fe NM which would lead o a full pastorate. Upon accepting this church in Santa Fe, I assumed that I would have limited opportunities to serve in this 5 state region I had left, but sought to retain my U.S. Missions appointment with the idea that my new chuch would grasp the vision and allow me limited trips to the region. The vision was on life support at best.

Once agian God intervenes. Within 5 days of becoming the pastor of the church in Santa Fe, I received a call from Wyoming asking if I was intrested in accepting a campground in NE Wyoming. I wasn't sure and thought I made what was a ridiculous offer. The counter offer was equally ridiculous, but we accepted it. At this point we knew that God was not done with us in the 5 state region. He had indeed opened this opportunity to serve in Santa Fe, but didn't want us losing sight of His ultimate goal for our lives. 

Over the next three years, we did double duty to the best of our ability. We developed vision as we worked on bringing the camp facility up and served the church. A number of the Santa Fe church would become a part of the work teams to get the camp ready for its future. What a great blessing each of them have been to us.

Early in 2012, God began to deal with us about returning to full time service in the 5 state region. It seemed impossible to us. We felt that there were several things that had to take place before that could happen. Three of which we couldnt see happening at all. To our amazement, they all began to fall into place. 

One of them, taking full ownership of the RAM Center was at least 3 years away. We felt that until the grouds were transferred to us that it would be unwise to attempt to return. Within just a few weeks, the Wyoming district decided to release their interest in the camp grounds and our ministry became the soul owner of the property 2.5 years early.

We knew that God was opening doors that no man could shut. One by one we watched the things we thought were impossible come to pass. The stage was set, the only question left was when? The timing became clear when God spoke to a friend who had become very involved in the support of the ministry.

When the finances became available the urgency to 'get about our Father's business' increased and we knew that it was now or not at all. So, it is now! There is still a lot to be done. The steps ahead are vague to our understanding, but sure in the guarantee of the leading of the Holy Spirit. 

As we return to the work, we have received great promisses, making this an exciting adventure in many ways. We are not naive. As we take the step we covet earnestly your prayers. Until now it has been a dream of sorts. Today reality stares us in the face. There are giants in the land, but with our God we are well able to overcome it. 

Please pray with our team as we fallow Jesus into this effort. 

Diana Bauman