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Spanish lecturer continues legacy in Mexico mission

Nov. 9, 2005

By SCARLETT STEAKLEY, reporter

Gloria Al Padre missions is more than a few mission trips to Mexico. It is a legacy. Passed down to a new generation, GAP fulfills the promises made to the Mexican people.

"I've been involved with this for 30 years," said Joan Barrett, Spanish lecturer and director of GAP.

Barrett said her father, Billy Parmer, created GAP after Hurricane Beulah in 1963. GAP grew with a dozen churches in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas that work with construction projects of churches, orphanages and medical and educational facilities.

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Parmer
"Churches fund the projects. Churches work the projects," Barrett said.

GAP also conducts classes for training in Mexico to teach people in their respective fields, Barrett said.

"These people are only agricultural," Barrett said. "There are no industries, there are no jobs, and they are very poor."

The GAP base compound is in Aldama, a city in Chihuahua, Mexico.

"The base compound is made up of the agricultural base, the construction base, the medical facility, the pastor's home and the caretaker's home," Barrett said.

There are several mission trips each year through First Baptist Church-Valley Mills, as well as other churches involved with GAP.

"I encourage mission work because it helps your ministry when you return home," said John Wheatly, the pastor at FBC Valley Mills. "I am a proponent that every capable member ought to do mission work somewhere."

Wheatly said he recently returned from an eight-day medical mission trip. FBC goes on an annual mission trip with the youth and tries for a medical mission trip at least once a year, Wheatly said. He also travels to Mexico with GAP at least two to three times per year.

"We've been called a mission broker," Barrett said. Barrett said GAP works with other churches to bring together funds and resources in order to meet needs.

GAP founder Billy Parmer was a former pastor of FBC Valley Mills for 27 years. She said he always called Chihuahua,