By Sharon Mager
CUMBERLAND, Md.—On a sweltering, humid July afternoon, Walter and Darla Lewis work preparing, serving food and cleaning up after a dinner for carnival workers at the Allegany County Fair in conjunction with the Western Baptist Association’s (WBA) annual fair ministry. After dinner, Darla pulls a wagon filled with children’s activities to a baby comfort station about a block’s length away. She pulls out tables, sets out Bibles and the children’s booklets and tidies up the area for women to feed and change their babies. Walter shows up a little later pulling a cooler. He’s wiping sweat from his brow as he sits and takes a swig of cold water. The couple have been married 47 years. They’ve seen a lot of life, they’ve done a lot of ministry, and they have no plans to stop.
Walter and Darla are members of LaVale Baptist Church. Walter’s father, grandmother and aunt are charter members. Both serve on the missions and evangelism committee and Walter leads the church’s men’s ministry.
Whether it’s at the Delaware Baptist Association Raceway Ministry in Dover, or the WBA Fair Ministry alongside a mountain in Cumberland, Walter and Darla are there, chatting with passersby, faithfully giving away Bibles, tracts, Christian booklets, health kits and children’s activity booklets. They share the Gospel as the Holy Spirit leads, and they pray for people in need. Sometimes Darla takes on the persona of “Emerald,” in her clown costume, pulling her wagon, blowing up balloons for the children and telling them about Jesus.
Through the years, they’ve been involved with bus ministry and children’s ministry. They’re disaster relief volunteers, recently deployed to help with the Ellicott City flooding. They’ve traveled many years to help with Crossover events prior to the Southern Baptist Convention. Walter has been on a mission trip to England. Darla served in Rwanda. They also ministered on an Indian reservation in North Carolina. The couple is tireless, and they’re humble.
When asked why she does so much, Darla says, “I do it because God wants me to.”
Walter agrees. It’s a simple matter of obedience.
“We try to teach missions in our own church and we know we must be examples. We continually encourage others to get involved in missions,” Water said. He especially encourages young people to start doing missions.