Arkansas history

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Arkansas

The Belleville Assembly in Belleville, a small town in west-central Arkansas, had its beginnings in 1923 when Lawrence London came from Henryetta, OK to preach the Gospel at a schoolhouse in Piney. Several souls were saved at these meetings. Over the years, the believers had Bible studies in their homes; Gospel preachers would come for one- or two-week Gospel meetings at the homes of the Christians.

Some of the believers moved to Belleville in 1944 for employment and continued to meet as before. In 1977, Donald Grisham from Oklahoma came to Belleville to help Victor Flesher with meetings in the Flesher home. In 1978, a building was purchased, and the Belleville Assembly was formed called Christians Gathered to the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The first Breaking of Bread was in July 1978. Clayton Cox from Oklahoma, John Elliott from Missouri, and Al Shutt of Arkansas have also provided leadership in the assembly.

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Not far from Eureka Springs is the small town of Alpena. An assembly began in the early 1930s, and the Alpena Gospel Hall was built in 1935. Michael Capp came to Alpena preaching the Gospel and saw some people saved. Nealy Grisham and Lee Grisham, who were among the first to be saved, carried on the work of the assembly for many years, with others.

The assembly has received helpful ministry and assistance from brethren such as Lawrence London, Tom McCullough, Henry Miller, John Miller, Peter Pelon, Dan Dunnett, George Thompson, a Mr. Steel, and George Hoekstra. These men probably came to Alpena in the 1930s and 1940s and maybe into the 1950s. Others who have come to preach the Gospel or give helpful ministry include Louis Smith, William Lavery, Lawrence Perkins, Art Ward, Walter Gustafson, Jim Webb, John Elliott, Joel Portman, Don Nicholson, and Rob Weber.

In 1975, following the home call of Nealy Grisham, there were only five sisters left in the assembly. These faithful women Pearl Grisham, Fern McNinch, Elizabeth McIntosh, Mrs. Amos Eckhoff, and Gertie Grisham continued to meet with the assistance of brethren from Springfield, MO until 1976 when two families from Minnesota the Clifford Bjorks and Neal Olsens moved to the area to help carry on the assembly work. Between 1976 and 1981, Al Shutt and Louis Smith and some other brethren from assemblies in Michigan made frequent visits to support and encourage the assembly.

In 1981, again the numbers were badly reduced and for a time John Chesney from Springfield, MO was the only brother left in fellowship along with several sisters. That same year Mr. and Mrs. Al Shutt from Michigan, Mr. and Mrs. Will Trowbridge from St. Louis, MO, and Mr. and Mrs. John Meader from Iowa came to reside in the area and were added to the assembly.

Today the assembly is small but continuing to carry on in the ‘old paths. The assembly has a very active Gospel outreach among Spanish-speaking people, who are numerous in northwest Arkansas. In this work, the assembly receives assistance from Paul Thiessen and Harrys Rodriguez, missionaries in Mexico. The assembly is also involved in a Gospel work in an area in El Salvador from where many of their Spanish-speaking people have come.

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Lone Star Bible Chapel in Eureka Springs, in the northwest corner of Arkansas started in 1979. Jack and William Faulkner and their wives had started attending a Bible church in Eureka Springs sometime before that. With their encouragement, this group constructed a new building in 1979 and began Breaking Bread, meeting as New Testament church. The elders since that time have been Jack and William Faulkner and Dan Hooten. The building was expanded in 1994.

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