from the start

The youth camp work among Arkansas Free Will Baptist began to develop in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s.  While many served in various capacities, three men Rupert Pixley, Lawine Coffman, and J.W. Blanks gave a considerable amount of their time and in doing so, developed a solid program for students. 

Around the mid 1950’s, a four acre tract of land was purchased on Meadow Lake Road (Conway, AR) to began a youth camp.  Two dormitories were built out of cement blocks, a kitchen, and a tabernacle.  Eventually, more land was needed so an additional three acres were purchased. 

The following was written by Lawnie Coffman:

“In a few years, we outgrew it (property on Meadow Lake Road) and needed to relocate.  We looked all around the Conway area, but found nothing that looked good to us.  Then, while on a scouting trip north of Conway, I remembered a friend, Ted Wall, who lived on the north side of Lake Beaverfork.  I went to see him and asked if he knew of any property for sale.  He said, “I have 80 acres here and I don’t need.  I might sell you part of it.”  I asked him what he would take for the back forty.  He replied, “Well, I owe $3,800.00 that I would like to get paid-off”  I was so surprised that I said, “Why don’t I just give you $4,000.00 for it?” He said, “This is the first time in my life that someone paid me more than I asked for something.”  Then he told me to make a road across his front 40 acres anywhere I wanted. 

The next state association met at Fort Smith, and I reported that I had bought the forty acres if they wanted it.  The state association voted to take it.  Soon, plans were started to build camp on it.  J. W. Blanks, Rupert Pixley, and I picked a place for a road across the front forty.  We hit a rock the size of a house.  That is why there is a hump in the road. 

(History of Arkansas Free Will Baptist  David A. Joslin Editor)

Tabernacle -- Meadow Lake Rd Property

Lawnie Coffman / Rupert Pixley / J. W. Blanks Beaverfork Property

Cabin Construction

Lawnie Coffman stocking the Fishing Pond

Hand Drawn plan for Coffman Chapel