Several years ago, a dear friend of mine, and a member (and deacon) in our Church, Joe Myers excitedly called to inform me that The Lord had impressed him and Juanita to get involved with the basically unreached tribes that inhabit a string of islands that are located in the Atlantic Ocean from the coast of Panama to Columbia.

These islands take their name from an area of Panama bordering the Gulf of “San Blas”; and house an indigenous native population with no written language, no names, and no money except for their vast amounts of coconuts which they use for bartering purposes.

Joe and Juanita had heard of a missionary family that had been there for many years; and, when they arrived on site, they found a somewhat floundering mission work being carried on by the widow of the man who had died several years prior,

Their first project was a gravity flow fresh water piping system from a spring that was located several miles up in the mountains to the largest population center on the “main island”. If you remember Joe Myers, you know that this system was completed in record time, using whatever materials he could scrounge up.

One of the problems they encountered was the lack of a written language; but, The Lord had that completely under control; because, sitting on a pew in our Church, and almost rubbing elbows in every service with Joe and Juanita were Bill and Louise Vasquez. Bill Vasquez was God’s answer to their dilemma because he was quintilingual – fluent and familiar with five languages!

Now, “who’d a thought it”; right here is little ole Newport, Tennessee is a man needing a translator; and right there in the same church was a man who could work in five languages! How ‘bout that!

Since the government of Panama discouraged the bringing in of Scriptures; Joe found out that a song book would be allowed; and so he and Bill began translating our church hymnal into a hither-before unwritten language (complete with Scriptures, of course).

Among the many things they found; there was no word in any of the languages they could formulate for “denomination”. Bill was able to combine all of his language skills and come up with most every other word; but no word for “denomination”! “Christian”, yes; “Believers”, yes; but no “denomination”.

Which leads me to ask (and I’ll grant you, this is quite a leap); what denomination are all these critters of the four-legged furry persuasion that inhabit the Mooty Plantation?

I don’t think they are Roman Catholic because there doesn’t seem to be a central authority figure.

I don’t think they are Presbyterian because they are way too noisy in their assembling.

I don’t think they are any of the charismatic groups because they are a little too quiet in their assembling.

They could be Methodist; I’m not certain, but there is definitely a method in their assembling of the various acorns and hickory nuts; and their methodical visits to the watering hole. Could be; the jury’s still out on that one.

No! I believe they are Baptists; and there are several reasons:

With all the nuts they collect, they are obviously preparing casseroles for the next fellowship dinner.

Also, they are always chasing one another up and down and around and around the trees; and because of their losing focus on the big picture; they become easy prey for the various and sundry predators that prowl up and swoop down the lane.

When we get to heaven; you need to realize that God doesn’t recognize all these denominational fluffs and stuffs to which we desperately cling. No; He’s just looking for the blood-bought children of His, Believers in the Sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Is that you? Don’t know? I do; and I’ll share!

Tom Mooty writes these columns for the Thursday and Weekend Editions of the “Newport Plain Talk”; and he appreciates your comments and criticisms. See Mooty on the streets of his hometown, Newport; e-mail him at; or write to him at P.O. Box 851, 37822. Mooty serves the West End Baptist Church of Newport as its Senior Pastor.

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