In Memory of
Joseph Ray Land
Born to Earth
Jan. 1, 1920
Born Again Child of God
April 1, 1927
Raised to Gods Presence
July 5, 2001
Praising Jesus Now
and Forever more
Joseph Ray Land was born Jan 1, 1920 to the pioneer mission family of Joseph Alexander and Delia Land, in Deming, New Mexico. Joe Ray was the only son, having three older sisters: Ruth, Lois and Dorothy.
"Bro. Joe Ray" as he was known to most, wanted us to share his testimony of faith with you, his friends. At age six "at a summer camp near Guymon, I first realized that I was a sinner, lost and on my way to hell" On April 1, 1927 "I prayed the sinners prayer while seated on my fathers knee in our home" and was baptized in the Baptist church at Granite, Oklahoma. The scripture Matt 7: 13, 14 "Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction" brought about Gods convicting spirit.
John 5:24 says ". . he that hears my word, and believes on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life . ." Bro. Joe Ray affirms "This verse has been my rock of strength to this day. I know my redeemer! He has sustained me !"
In 1933, while at another summer assembly, Joe Ray felt the call of the Lord to preach. He was always active in his church life and community. He was also a talented athlete serving as captain of his football and basketball team at Pond Creek, Oklahoma.
In 1938 he went to Oklahoma Baptist University where he fully surrendered to Gods call on his life and began preparing himself for the ministry. Joe Ray preached his first sermon on his 19th birthday Jan. 1, 1939. While at OBU, Joe Ray met Dorothy Elizabeth Tummel who became his wife and life long partner in Gods ministry. Her talents in music, teaching, children, youth and prayerful listening have been Gods gifts to their ministry. At OBU Joe Ray studied history and pre-law and was offered a fellowship to Princeton. "Gods CALL to serve Him was too strong for me to go off on a tangent." Dorothy and Joe Ray were married Aug 25, 1942 and entered Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where he continued to prepare for the ministry.
He completed his Master of Theology in May 1945. During this time God blessed their home with a daughter, Marian Elisabeth. The home was later blessed with two sons: John Robert and David Ray. All are presently active in their churches and serving the Lord.
Beginning during his college years, Bro. Joe Ray has been a faithful minister of Gods Word throughout Oklahoma. Included in his pastorates are:
First Baptist Church, Hunter 1941 - 1942
First Baptist Church, Bennington 1943 - 1944
First Baptist Church, Fort Cobb 1945 - 1948
First Baptist Church, Thomas 1948 - 1952
Highland Park Bapt. Bartlesville 1952 - 1959
First Baptist Church, Shattuck 1959 - 1962
Victory Park Baptist McAlester 1962 - 1968
Director of Missions
Pittsburg Baptist Association 1968 - 1985
Joe Ray and Dorothy were always strong supporters of missions and felt the Lord was calling them toward foreign mission work abroad. However the Lord had different plans for their ministry and called him in May 1968 to become Director of Missions for the Pittsburg Baptist Association in McAlester and surrounding areas. Starting with a small office in the basement of First Baptist, McAlester, and with the support of the pastors and churches of Pittsburg Association, he began to catch a vision of building a training and equipping center to reach out to all the churches in the Association and beyond. Pittsburg Association was one of the first in Oklahoma to build its own building to supply the needs of its churches and they became the first rural association to establish a complete library of Baptist literature and materials needed to train church leaders and workers. In addition, projectors, tapes, copiers and printers were made available to the churches. College and Seminary extension training classes for church staff were offered, and they were first in the nation to establish an associational level music training school.
The Baptist Center at Strong and Monroe stands today as testimony to this vision - a beacon of light across from the Regional Medical Center which serves the southeastern quarter of Oklahoma.
Bro. Joe Ray Land retired from Pittsburg Association in Jan 1985, but continued to serve for several years as supply and interim pastor for area churches until failing eyesight and health prevented him from preaching. The association celebrated his 50th year in preaching on Jan. 1, 1989 at High Hill Baptist Church.
years Bro. Land has had a quotation hanging on his wall which says,
"If in Gods eyes more is required -
In His own time He will Provide a way."
Psalms 100: 2 says:
"Serve the Lord with Gladness
Come before His presence with singing"
We rest assured that Bro. Joe Ray Land stands strong and whole again, singing praises before the Lord. We look forward to the day that we too may stand "cleansed by the blood" at the feet of our Lord Jesus.