Team of Mississippi Baptists tour metro Atlanta, visit 'most diverse square mile in America'

Clarkston is home to refugees from 60 different countries


CLARKSTON, Ga. — A 12-member team of Mississippi Baptists have built connections in Clarkston, an Atlanta suburb that has become home to refugees from around the world.

Once a largely white community, Clarkston is now home to people speaking some 100 different languages, and many of them can be heard in the multi-ethnic and multi-generational Clarkston International Bible Church.

The  Mississippi Baptists were told the refugees who settled in Clarkston fled  their homelands largely because of war and religious persecution.

"They’re looking for a life to live,” said Chad McCord, director of missions mobilization at the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board and organizer of the Clarkston tour.

The Mississippi team represented eight churches.

“It was good to see that our group came from larger churches and smaller churches,” said McCord. “This vision journey wasn’t just for one kind of church. Any church can be involved in these.”

Lead Pastor Trent Deloach and Mission Pastor Jason Lee of Clarkston International Bible Church guided the group to tour a massive Hindu temple in the Atlanta metro area, not far from Clarkston. The temple had been constructed in India, intricately carved by hand, labeled, disassembled, sent to Atlanta, and reconstructed. 

“We saw the people worshiping in the temple, and it opened our eyes up to lostness,” McCord said. “We always have lostness around us, but to see men and women falling prostrate before false gods opens our eyes to the fact that we have to be on mission. We have to be taking the gospel. I hope our guys and ladies that went on this trip see that God has brought the nations to us. Yes, we want to go to the nations, but we have the nations here, and we have an opportunity right here to reach them for the gospel and make sure they have a chance to accept Jesus as their Savior. 

The Mississippi team split up in Clarkston to visit two homes of multicultural Christian families. One group visited a Pakistani family while the other visited a couple who had met and married in the states, a Guatemalan man and his Nepali wife. Over homecooked Pakistani and Nepali meals, the team heard these families’ testimonies.

“They came to America as unbelievers,” McCord said, “and they became believers.  ... God has changed their lives. Now they have a vision to reach their people being resettled there, as well. It was a neat opportunity to get to talk to them. It really changes your mindset and gives you more of a desire to reach others for Christ.”