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History

Red River Valley Bible Camp History:

It was during a revival meeting in Paris, Texas at the East Paris Baptist Church, in the early 1970’s that Ralph Gossett shared a vision he had of a Baptist camp ground that provided the best preaching and gospel singing, fed and housed the attendees in dorms and had RV hook-ups available all FREE OF CHARGE. Near the close of the revival, a couple who were members of East Paris Baptist Church, Mr & Mrs Morris Cass, told Bro. Ralph that they had some land that they wanted to donate to establish such a camp- as he had described. At first he declined, but as they insisted, a few weeks later he agreed to accept the land, a total of 56 acres, and the Red River Valley Bible Camp (RRVBC) was established. The Christian community of North East Texas, and in fact, in much of the United States, owe a great deal of grattitude to Mr & Mrs Cass for their generosity, because it is through land they donated for the camp meeting ministry that many pastors/ preachers, staff members, and lay people have been encouraged and re-fired for the work of the Lord.

Much work had to be done to get that piece of land cleared and ready to host a camp meeting, and the people came and gave of their time and selves to do what needed to be done, because they, “had a mind to work”, they realized they were doing something that was bigger than them. They were doing an eternal work, they were doing the work of God!

During those early years of RRVBC it was hard to see the full vision. Camp meetings were held in an open air tent– in the middle of July. Men had to stand around the perimeter of the tent with shovels and hoes to kill the snakes that tried to get into the tent. But God was putting the foundation down for a great ministry.

The Red River Valley Bible Camp held it’s first ever “camp meeting” in 1973 with Evangelist Manley Beasley as the featured conference speaker. However, due to stormy weather and the premitive conditions of the camp and roads into and out of the campgrounds, the camp meeting was not held at Red River Valley Bible Camp, but rather, at the East Paris Baptist Church.

In 1993, Bro. Ralph, having retired as a pastor in 1990, presided over his last camp meeting. He gave the camp to Bro. Mike Fortenberry, who at the time was the pastor of East Paris Baptist Church in Paris, Texas, who continues to direct RRVBC to this day. In August 2007, Bro. Ralph died at the age of 82. At the funeral many people talked to his family and among themsleves about how they missed the fellowships, the spiritual refreshment, and the many times that God met with them during those old camp meetings. After much prayer, advice and discussion, Ralph Gossett’s oldest grandson, Kyle Gulledge, who also serves on the Board of Directors, re-instituted the annual Back to Bethel Camp Meeting in July 2009.

The ministries of Red River Valley Bible Camp are far reaching as pastors from all over the state of Texas and many other states, foreign missionaries and lay people attend the annual camp meetings and other ministries of RRVBC. We’ve come a long way from those primitive early days. All of our facilities are modern with the comforts you would find in a modern church, yet able to still keep that “camp meeting” atmosphere. Every December, you can experience the joys and spectacular event of Jesus’ birth during Christmas at the Camp. In addition to all of this, Red River Valley Bible Camp is also the home to the Cowboy Church of Paris, Texas- they hold services every Sunday morning on the beautiful grounds of RRVBC. Plus RRVBC is available for your church to use for conferences, retreats and other ministries.

Bro. Ralph had as a primary goal to bring in some of the best preachers that America has known, and that tradition has continued under Bro. Mike Fortenberry and Bro. Kyle Gulledge.

Conference Speakers of the past and present:

Manley Beasley, Billy Bridges, Bill Stafford, Don Page, Sonny Holland, Paul Gills, Ron Dunn, John Wylie, Percy Ray, Jack Taylor, Paige Patterson, Mike Fortenberry, Malcom Ellis, Kyle Gulledge, David Allen, Phil Hoskins, Herb Reavis, Mike Tice, Paul Boughan, Jeremy Pruitt, Ralph Gossett, Jimmy Robertson and many others.