Local pastor travels to Africa for mission work

Sunday, November 11, 2012
Advance Church of Christ preacher and Sikeston, Mo., resident Kyle Carter holds a copy of the Southeast Missourian in front of the Source Cafe on Main Street in Jinja, Uganda. Carter recently traveled on a mission trip to Jinja to work with the local churches of Christ and Kibo Group International. Carter worked in the city and villages along side resident missionaries Bobby and Candice Garner — all three are graduates of Dexter High School. (Submitted photo)

Kyle Carter has an interesting background. He's a former freelance photographer who currently works as a financial adviser and a full-time pastor. Recently he traveled to East Africa to visit a friend and his wife who serve as missionaries. Carter shares about this trip and the church he serves in Advance in this week's Ministry Focus.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

A: Landall Kyle Carter, age 30, resident of Sikeston, Mo. I work as a financial adviser for U.S. Bancorp Investments Inc., and Insurance Services LLC, based in Sikeston, as well as the full-time preacher for the Advance Church of Christ. I cover 10 different US Bank locations in Southeast Missouri including Sikeston, Poplar Bluff, Dexter, Bloomfield, Doniphan, Neelyville and Willow Springs.

I am a former freelance photographer and have been published in every major publication from Sports Illustrated and the cover of US Today to the cover of the National Enquirer and lead art for the Los Angeles Times. I have two kids, Kylee, age 3, and Ryan, age 1, and have been married to Kim for almost nine years. She is a computer tech for Sikeston Public Schools, taking care of nearly 1,800 computers for the entire school district.

Q: How long have you been a member of your faith?

A: I have been a Christian since the age of 10. I was baptized on a Sunday night in April at the Parma Church of Christ in Parma, Mo. I started preaching at the age of 15 and went to Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tenn.

I started preaching for the Advance church of Christ in February 2008. We average about 80 members on any given Sunday.

Q: Who or what inspired you to become a pastor?

A: A pastor I am not. The pastor is another name for elder or shepherd. (reference Jeremiah 23:1 and Ephesians 4:10-12)

The question I believe is who or what inspired me to become a preacher?

I have been very lucky in my life to work and study with some of the most well-studied people of the Bible. Some of my closest friends are students of Greek and Aramaic and there are a lot of conceptions about religion in general that simply are not true. I began speaking on Wednesday nights by offering the invitation during services when I was 15.

I began my full-time work quite literally as a fill in for Billy Davis -- he was out sick one week and I was called by one of the members to fill in for him on a Sunday. He passed away a couple days there after and they asked me to come back the next week to fill in. I kept coming back each week and "filling in" for about six months before I became the full-time preacher. Billy was there for 41 years. I'm working on year five.

Q: You recently traveled to Jinja, Uganda, on a mission trip. Tell us a little about the trip and what led you to go.

A: My friend Bobby Garner and his wife Candice have been missionaries there for almost five years. I've known Bobby all of my life and he has always wanted to do mission work. I always said that I would be glad to support him, but would never go with him.

About a year ago, the Advance church began supporting the work in Jinja and after a conversation with the Garners around Christmas time when they were home on furlough, I knew I had to see this work for myself. The church wanted me to do a "diligence" trip for them so that I could actually see the work being done and know that it is being done properly, especially since we are going to be supporting it. According to the Garners, other than Bobby's parents and Candice's sisters, I'm the only person from Southeast Missouri to come to see them and to see the work.

The trip was truly an educational and life-changing experience. I went with only the expectations of learning about the work. I came home with not only a full understanding of the work, but also a much deeper appreciation for mission work in general and for the field in which they serve.

Q: What upcoming events or sermon series do you have scheduled at Advance Church of Christ.

A: On Dec. 2 we have our wildlife dinner after services that morning. We have everything from deer and elk to even some wild fried chicken and some wild green bean casserole. Sunday nights we are studying the rise, pilgrimage and eventual fall of the Israelite nation. We are currently in the book of 2 Kings.

Q: What's your favorite Bible verse and why?

A: I have two:

The first is John 15:13: "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends."

This verse is hanging in my office, both at home and at the bank. I have four friends, one of which I got to go visit a couple weeks ago in Africa, that I've always said no matter what they need I'll be there. No questions asked, no matter what time. If any of the four of them need me, I'll be in my car or on a plane and headed their way.

The second is Jeremiah 1:5-8: "‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.' 6 Then said I: ‘Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.' 7 But the Lord said to me: ‘Do not say, ‘I am a youth,' For you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. 8 Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you,' says the Lord."

When I was younger, because I was adopted, I often used this set of verses as an argument against abortion, and I still believe it can be. However, the older I get the more I glean from verse eight and not being afraid. I think it's probably what gave me the strength to leave my young family in Missouri and to fly half way around the world for a week to work with my friend.

Q: What makes your church unique?

A: As far as the church structure, not much. We are an autonomous Christian congregation. We seek to base doctrine and practice on the Bible alone, and seek to be a New Testament congregation as originally established by the authority of Christ.

Q: What ongoing ministries does your church have that people might be interested in?

A: One of the ongoing works that we support, as well as the Kibo project with the Garners, is Bootheel Youth Camp, for which I am a board member.

Bootheel Youth Camp is a weeklong summer camp located Northeast of Bloomfield (in Stoddard County) where campers from as far as Arizona and Louisiana come for a spiritual retreat that helps them grow closer to God. While doing this, each camper is helped to develop a Christ-like personality and to learn how to be a Christian leader in the church. There are four different weeklong sessions in the summer as well as a pee wee weekend for younger campers.

As of this year, the girls' cabins at BYC have all been renovated and air-conditioned. Hopefully, by the beginning of camp this year we will have the boys' cabins completely air-conditioned as well. All young people from third grade through high school seniors are welcome to attend a session of camp.

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