Remembering those who blazed the trails in Arkansas ministry has been extremely rewarding. It certainly gives special meaning to the song, “Precious Memories.”
This week, I was just thinking about Harold Morris. He was a true trailblazer in every sense.
Harold Morris was born in Clarksville, Texas. From there he would travel to many countries and touch the lives of thousands as he faithfully served his Savior.
In 1950, the trailblazing Morris was the first missionary to be elected by the North American Baptist Association. He and his wife, Lois served in the South American country of Brazil. They would later serve in France and Portugal. After many years on the foreign fields, they returned to the States where he served as an at-large interstate missionary.
Harold Morris definitely had a heart for missions — worldwide! It was during the time as an interstate missionary that his burden to reach the world with the gospel became a reality. In his Conway home, he began a radio broadcast on Saturday afternoons — such was the beginning of the Harvest Gleaner Hour, which today is known as Lifeword Media Ministries. The first broadcast was on radio station KSTL in St. Louis. Later, Little Rock’s KAAY and Conway’s KCON were added.
In 1965, I was a member of the Central Baptist College Choir. Our director, James Burch, informed us that we were going to prepare a song for a very special project. We traveled to a Little Rock radio station where we recorded “Jesus is Coming Again.” It became the introductory theme song for the Harvest Gleaner Hour. The song was, of course, the choice of Bro. Morris.
Having never lost his burden for lost souls, Bro. Morris continued to develop the radio ministry. As a result, not only were new stations added, other languages were as well. In addition to English, Spanish and Portuguese speaking people were hearing the gospel in their languages.
The trail that Harold Morris blazed continues today; however, it is more like an interstate highway. That ministry now is Lifeword Media Ministries, and it assists BMAA churches in taking the gospel to the world. In addition to offices at the BMAA Global Headquarters in Conway, there are also production centers in the Philippines, Ghana, Honduras and Guatemala.
From those humble beginnings in a Conway garage, Lifeword broadcasts the good news of Jesus Christ in more than 80 languages and dialects around the world. That trail of Harold Morris has been followed by directors A.R. Reddin, Paul L. Bearfield, George Reddin, Steve Crawley and the present executive director, Donny Parrish.
For much of his life, Bro. Morris had heart problems; and on Nov. 8, 1970, he was promoted to Heaven due to heart failure. But his heart for missions could not be stopped. His burden for the lost in regions of the world where the gospel had not been reached has continually been taken up by others who have faithfully followed the trail he blazed. And indeed, God has given us some precious memories of a faithful servant.