By Michael Reisig
Pastor Lynn Chiles and the Yocana Baptist Church preach that Jesus is Lord, and in no other name given under heaven can man can be saved.
Pastor Chiles was raised in Northern Louisiana. He found the Lord early on, was preaching by the time he was 18, and ordained at 24, in 1964. Chiles met his wife, Barbara, and married her in 1959, and they have been a team ever since. Today they have six children and a host of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“Although I had been preaching for years in north Louisiana, Texas, and southern Arkansas, I came out of the seminary late in life, in my early 40s and realized I wanted to go north,” Chiles recalled. “We headed to Arkansas and I’ve been preaching in Arkansas for the last 26 years. We started in Daisy, preached a while in East Texas, and finally ended up in Mena.
“I came to Mena and met with the Ouachita Baptist Association here and was given an opportunity to pastor at Board Camp in 1992, eight years before coming to Yocana Baptist Church in 2000,” Chiles explained.
Chiles is assisted with the operation of the church by treasurer Judy Logan and past treasurer Jerry McCallie. They offered some information regarding the church, explaining that the Yocana Baptists began in 1870. The church wasn’t always called the Yocana Baptist Church, but it was always the Baptist church for the community. Jerry McCallie said the original church burned down in about 1925 and the present building was constructed shortly thereafter. Over the years the congregation has continued to add to the structure, providing multipurpose buildings with kitchens, classrooms, and a baptistery.
Judy Logan said, “We have made a number of improvements to our buildings, but we have always had a loving church group. We have an awesome church family here.”
Pastor Chiles added, “It’s a haven for people who are looking for a kind and loving church. We do mission work through the Arkansas Baptist State Convention Church, assisting children’s homes, and the Ouachita Baptist Association, and the Ouachita Baptist Association Camp, as well as a number of other mission works, fully cooperating with all the Southern Baptist Mission entities and programs.”
Judy added that they work with local people and families as needs arise, such as emergencies, house fires, injuries, and other financial contingencies.
Jerry McCallie added, “Also, at Christmas time we pick out families we know that are dealing with difficult times and provide them with gifts and food.”
“The scriptures say ‘Return unto me what’s required,’ and the Lord said, ‘I will return unto you full measure tamped down and running over,’” Pastor Chiles added.
The Yocana Baptist Church meets every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. for coffee and donuts. Sunday School is at 9:45. Worship service is at 10:45. Judy and Jerry added that every fifth Saturday the church has a potluck dinner with music and singing that praise the Lord. The potluck is at 6 p.m. and the music starts at 7 p.m.
“Come out and visit with us,” Pastor Chiles offered. “No one is turned away and everyone is welcome. If you’re looking for a loving, friendly, church home, Yocana Baptist Church is the place for you.”