The Work Begins
The history of the Jonesboro church really begins in Shreveport, Louisiana. In 1936, Elder Ira C. Pound was conducting a series of evangelistic meetings in Shreveport and Mrs. W. L. Norred, who was visiting her sister, attended some of these meetings. The message so impressed her that she invited Elder Pound to Hodge, Louisiana, to hold cottage meetings in her home. About six months later Elder Pound came to Hodge and held meetings in the Norred home. A year later in about 1938, more extensive evangelistic work was carried out in Weston by Elder Pound, Vern Kelsey and Arden Clark. After the meetings, Mr. Kelsey and his wife kept in contact with the few believers and prepared them for baptism. Ten members joined the remnant church as the result of the faithful work of these Adventists. These faithful few, with the help of Mr. Kelsey and Mr. Thomas, built a small country church in Weston about six miles from Jonesboro on the Monroe highway. During this period of time Woodrow Larson and Vernon Thomas were two of the outstanding literature evangelists who worked in the Jonesboro area. The effects of war were felt in the little town of Weston and members began to move away. The church membership and attendance began to dwindle away until finally the windows and doors were nailed shut on the little church (Record, 1956).
Weston Company Organized in 1952
For a time it seemed that the seed sown would die and wither away, but the Lord was watching over the little flock and impressed the hearts of Mr. and Mrs. Lea Facundas, Sr., faithful lay workers in Monroe, to write letters and visit the scattered members of the Weston church. They came faithfully every week to meet with the group in Weston. The old building was redecorated, attendance grew, and as a result, the Sabbath school was reorganized in Weston in January of 1949. Brother Facundus began a series of meetings and in December a few more members were baptized. He continued to work and hold meetings. By the spring of 1952 several had been baptized as a result of his faithful work and the Sabbath school was organized into a company (Record, 1956).
Jonesboro Church Organized in 1954
In 1953 Elder Martin Shain and Don Winger held a tent meeting in Jonesboro, and as a result of these meetings, twenty were baptized. On Sabbath, January 9, 1954, the Weston company was organized as the Jonesboro church with thirty-three members (Sanders, 1954). The little building at Weston was now too small and so it was sold for $275. This was the seed money for the present building. The members temporarily met in the Jeffress Building (Record, 1956).
A New Church in 1956
The temporary meeting place became unavailable so they met from house to house. A building was sorely needed so the women in the church began their fund raising projects. Cakes were baked and sold by the dozens. Needles flew on quilting days, for each one completed meant dollars toward the goal. Believing in the work and encouraged by the faithful laymen, the conference gave over $2,000 toward the Jonesboro church building. With this money on hand a lot was bought for $750 and work started. The wiring, light fixtures, pulpit, platform chairs, songbook racks, and the interior finish in the auditorium were all donated and installed by Mr. Facundus. The sheet rock was bought by Mr. and Mrs. Anderson, bathroom fixtures by Mr. and Mrs. Watkins, paint for the children’s rooms by Mr. and Mrs. Freeman (Record, 1956). On August 25, 1956, the Jonesboro church was dedicated. Special appreciation was given to Mr. Lea Facundus, Sr., who had traveled over 100 miles round trip each week, helping to work on the building. At the same time he had been conducting a series of meetings assisted by his nephew, Jack Facundus, a medical student from Loma Linda, who had been canvassing in that vicinity that summer (Evans, 1956).
(1956, Sep. 12). Southwestern Union Record, pp. 3, 6, 7.
Evans, I. M. (1956, Jul. 25). Ibid., p. 4.
Ibid. (1956, Sep. 12). p. 3.
Sanders, F. O. (1954, Feb. 17). Ibid., p. 5.