IOWA MISSIONS By Jerry Carlew
The Iowa Missions work is based in Dubuque, Iowa, and headed up by Mike Demory, formerly the minister of the Church of Christ in Clarksville, TX. Mike, originally from Iowa, had longed to return to his home state where Churches of Christ are rare, and non-existent in most areas. Before July 2006, Dubuque, a town of approximately 58,000 people, had no congregations of the Church of Christ. The nearest one was approximately over 110 miles away.
The area is predominantly Catholic, Lutheran, or Presbyterian and has three seminary schools which make his job more difficult than a normal missionary setting. These denominational teachings have been taught to everyone since their childhood. Therefore, looking at Christ’s teachings through the New Testament is different, and in most cases not accepted and is even thought of as being a false teaching. It can become difficult when someone “new” tries to tell another person that everything they have been taught all of their life is incorrect.
Mike set up the Heartland Church of Christ shortly after his arrival in July of 2006. The Church has shown small, but steady growth. They have set up a weekly cable TV program which airs several times a week and they publish weekly articles in the local newspapers. They were involved with a successful door knocking campaign with the help of the Arnold, Missouri youth group in the summer of 2007 and attempted to knock on 36,000 doors! They have recently been involved with the Iowa State Fair and have met many fair goers and set-up numerous home Bible studies with them.
In March of this year the Sunset Church of Christ in Nashville, Arkansas, donated to the Iowa congregation, a 1999 Dodge 15- seat van, which they use extensively. They moved recently (in August, 2008) into a building for worship, with the help of the Birdville Church of Christ in Ft. Worth, TX. They are renting the building, which is much better than meeting in people’s homes, or sharing a building with someone else, which had been done previously.
The Church in Prescott began supporting this congregation earlier this year and hopes for their continued success and growth in the future. Mike's road is a difficult one because of the longstanding religious affiliations of the people in that area, who do not want to hear any other viewpoint. In fact, a lot of Mike's religious discussions are with local seminary students who want to debate his teachings just for the “experience”. The attempts of a mission field into an educated population is sometimes more difficult than attempts into an un-educated one. The Heartland Church of Christ needs and should always be in our prayers.