State Fair 2018

Fair attendees stand outside the nursing moms and baby changing tent provided by BCNM and Southern Baptist churches at the New Mexico State Fair in 2018.

ALBUQUERQUE (BNM) – The Baptist Convention of New Mexico is seeking volunteers to help run two booths at the New Mexico State Fair in Albuquerque from Sept. 5 through 15. 

The booths provide parents a clean, safe space dedicated for changing and nursing their children free of charge. Although New Mexico Baptists have had a presence at the fair for 40 years, BCNM has set up these booths at the fair for approximately 10 years, according to BCNM evangelism and discipleship assistant Cheryl Vaughn. Volunteers clean the changing spaces and witness to fair attendees and staff. The booths also provide various novelties for children. 

Vaughn said some people attending the fair specifically seek out the changing stations. She also mentioned that volunteers have been recognized at other events for their work at the fair. In the past, the booths have involved about 160 volunteers, she said.

“It [the booths] gives us opportunities to be an open door for people to see Christians in a positive way,” said BCNM evangelism and discipleship team leader Tar Henderson. Henderson also said the service opportunity allows volunteers to “serve in a unique area of service.” He mentioned people tend to favor using the booth spaces as opposed to using the fair restrooms as changing or nursing stations. In addition to offering more privacy and cleanliness than restrooms, Henderson said another benefit to using these booths is that families are able to stay together. He said the BCNM loves its volunteers, and that he feels this event is a great ministry opportunity.

In addition to addressing a need for families at the fair, volunteers have opportunities to pray with the families and encourage them to seek a church or remain active in their current church. Vaughn said several people have even come to faith in Christ as a result of conversations with booth volunteers.

Anyone above the age of 15 is welcome to volunteer. Vaughn and Henderson have planned a training session for Aug. 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the BCNM office in Albuquerque. The session will include a meal, and volunteers will be able to select their preferred time slots following the session. Volunteers work in three-hour increments with two or three volunteers at each booth. Volunteers can register for the training session online at bcnm.com/state-fair. Contact Vaughn for more information at 505-924-2314 or cvaughn@bcnm.com

Drew Stevens is a news management intern with the Baptist New Mexican news journal and GoBNM.com, news and information outlets for the Baptist Convention of New Mexico.

Media Services Assistant / Staff Writer

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