Highway 20 Project
The church’s vision for the State of Washington began in 2007 as the “HIGHWAY 20 PROJECT,” the goal of which was to reach 12 communities (large and small) that were located along a 270-mile stretch of State Route 20 — from the south end of Whidbey Island (Clinton, Langley, Freeland, and Greenbank), then east to the mainland and across the Cascade Mountains all the way to Okanogan (Burlington, Sedro Woolley, Lyman, Hamilton, Concrete, Winthrop, Twisp).
The impetus for this mission was taken from Nehemiah 2:18 (“Let us rise up and build”), which translates into a desire to help rebuild the walls of protection in people’s lives through the preaching of the Gospel and the establishing of sound Bible-believing, Gospel-preaching churches in our Judæa.
The first phase was to provide each home in these communities a free copy of the Gospel of John and the Book of Romans, together with other tracts and literature and an offer for a free on-line or in-home Bible study. Large groups of church members spent two days each month going from house to house, camping out when the distance from home grew too great.
Phase two (2008) focused on areas of interest that were gauged from responses received during phase one, looking to establish Bible studies in homes and public places.
Phase three (2009) commenced with the church's purchase of a travel trailer, locating it in the town of Twisp. Brother Chris Majors and his family, along with other team members, utilized this home-away-from-home to provide a more permanent presence in the Methow Valley between Twisp and Okanogan.
In 2010, the focus became "Cultivating the Commitment" by sending a team to move and live permanently in the area. Led by Brother Majors, two families moved to Okanogan in July and commenced regular meetings in Twisp, while following the Lord's leading to hold Bible Studies in the County Jail and in various homes.
In 2012, the Lord directed the team to an area around Bridgeport, where a large Hispanic community was located. Outreach continued in the Methow Valley as it simultaneously moved into the Okanogan Valley. Souls were saved in all these regions, and several were baptized and added to the Oak Harbor church. The expansion of the area being evangelized led to a renaming of the ministry as the “North Central Washington Baptist Outreach” (NCWBO).
In May of 2013, Bible Baptist Church moved Brother Mike McDowell and his family to North Central Washington to team up with Brother Majors. Brother McDowell came to Oak Harbor in early 2012 after serving faithfully for ten years as a pastor in Oregon.
Before long, God opened to them another door of opportunity with the huge migrant population that moves to the area from May through November each year for the fruit harvest. The team began preaching weekly in the open air at a camp that housed over 400 Jamaicans. They were also able to use their limited (but growing) knowledge of Spanish to witness to some of the thousands of Hispanics that live in similar camps and the towns throughout North-Central Washington.
The number of Jamaican workers increased to over 500 in 2014, which led to an increased effectiveness of the ministry to them. Both the Majors and McDowell families became well-known to many of the Jamaican men. An average of 20 men gathered every Sunday to hear the preaching of the Word of God. The Lord moved in the hearts of several to share those truths with their own countryman.
In October, both men made a short trip to Guatemala for the purpose of enhancing their learning of the Spanish language.
In 2015, with continuing evangelistic and discipleship efforts in the orchards, the Spirit directed the ministry team to concentrate more of their evangelistic labors two hours further south in the city of Wenatchee — an area of over 100,000.
The work continued in Wenatchee as the “Blessed Hope Baptist Mission” for 6½ year. Brother Joshua Hower joined the work in late 2019, but with the departure of Brother McDowell and Brother Major to assume the pastorates of churches in Missouri and Indiana, it was decided to close the mission as of January 31, 2021.
Once the COVID-19 restrictions come to an end, other parts of the “Highway 20 Project” will be considered for church-planting outreach.