Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

An opportunity to help the terminally-ill in Southern Africa

June 21, 2010

In the African village of Maliwane in Lesotho, a 64-year-old grandmother lay dying of AIDS, her only source of comfort and relief coming from a five-gallon bucket of hygiene and medical supplies shipped from a U.S. church.

The bucket was shipped to Jim and Teresa Flora, partners with Baptist Global Relief, who walked two hours to reach the grandmother’s home and teach them how to use the supplies in side. It’s not much, but it’s what the family has to care and comfort their matriarch.

The Texas Baptists Church2Church Partnerships Office has joined with Baptists Global Response to launch a summer missions opportunity to collect and send these “In-Home Care Kits” for terminally ill persons in Southern Africa. Much like the Buckets of Hope, various health care supplies will be placed in a five-gallon bucket. These supplies will provide a touch of physical and spiritual healing to terminally-ill people in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The kits, which can be put together for $75 or less, are opportunities for churches, Sunday School classes, Vacation Bible Schools, missions groups and people of all ages a way to be a part of a circle of caring and sharing to these terminally-ill people.  Items in these kits will make the caregiver’s task much easier, but more importantly, will ease the suffering of the ones affected by terminal illness.

“These kits are a tool that not only provide physical comfort but also are a way for missionaries to share Christ individually with those dying of HIV/AIDS and other illnesses.” said Marla Bearden, Church2Church Partnerships.  She believes Texas Baptists can send 1,000 In-Home Care Kits to Africa.

Visit www.inhomecarekit.org to find what items go in the kit, how to pack the items and other promotional items including a seven Day prayer guide that provides information that will help increase understanding and compassion for people suffering with HIV/AIDS around the world.  Once your kits are complete please deliver/send them to Texas Baptists at 333 N. Washington Ave., Dallas 75246. Deadline for sending kits is Sept. 1 and they will be distributed by BGR missionaries in winter 2010.  For more information contact Marla Bearden at 1-800-244-9400 or email her at marla.bearden@texasbaptists.org.

The world of social media

June 14, 2010

During the last few weeks, the Texas Baptists communications department has been talking about ways to better connect with Texas Baptists. Because of the day and age we are in, naturally social media was brought into the conversation. We’ve been using several outlets like Twitter, Facebook, blogs, You Tube and Flickr for a while now, but we realize we could be using these in a better way to help, encourage and connect Texas Baptists.

This is where we need your input. Let us know how we can better serve you through these outlets.

  • How would you like Texas Baptists to connect with you through Facebook and Twitter?
  • What types of videos do you want to see on our You Tube channel?
  • What topics do you want addressed through the Texas Baptists blog?
  • Are there other types of social media that you would like to see us adopt?
  • This is your chance to share your opinion and ideas. We are listening and want to make improvements that will help Texas Baptists be better encouraged, better equipped and better prepared to reach the state with the hope of Christ.

    Grants available for volunteers to help in Haiti

    June 10, 2010

    Texas Baptists is coordinating mission trips to the Grand-Goâve area of Haiti (2.5 hours from Port-au-Prince). Chaplains, counselors, builders, doctors, nurses, eye doctors and any willing hard workers are needed for rebuilding projects and other mission opportunities.

    Trip dates are June 26-July 3, July 10-17, Aug. 21-28, Sept. 4-11, Oct. 9-16, and Nov. 13-20. Trip costs are $40 per day plus airfare and include meals, water, tents, showers and toilet facilities.

    Texas Baptists is offering grants to assist with airfare to Haiti. Contact Marla Bearden at 214-828-5382 for more information.

    College students are gross

    April 29, 2010

    But it seems to work for them. The Baptist Student Ministry at the University of Texas at Arlington recently held its annual Jar Wars and Slim Slide to raise money to send students on mission to various places. This year, they set a record in messiness and fundraising. As a result of this event, $15,000 was given to missions.

    Still, that stuff they’re sliding in is gross.

    Uncharted territory

    April 29, 2010

    Two years ago, Jon Meyer took a leap of faith and packed his bags for an unprecedented assignment in the former Soviet block nation of Moldova. With a Ph. D. in Social Work and as senior advisor for BCFS’ overseas division, Children’s Emergency Relief International (CERI), he would serve as a consultant to the Moldovan government, developing guidelines for supervising the country’s first group of professional social workers.

    What led you to this project?

    Years ago when I was in school, I attended a worship service where I committed my life to serving God as a foreign missionary. At the time, I thought I would go the traditional route by attending seminary and applying to some type of missions organization. Turns out, God had a different plan.

    I guess I’ve always been an adventurous person. When this opportunity came about, the timing seemed to be right for me on a personal level and CERI was open to it, so I jumped in. We had a plan of what I would do in Moldova, but we also recognized that we were taking on uncharted territory working with a foreign, communist government. It was a total faith thing.

    What did you set out to accomplish?

    My role as a consultant to the Moldovan Ministry of Social Protection was to develop a model for supervising social workers throughout the country. This was a unique project because the profession of social work in Moldova is still in its infancy. I learned about the entrenched poverty of Moldavians as well as the difficult work environment for social workers by visiting numerous villages across the country.

    I also got to make home visits to assess families as part of the government’s effort to decrease the number of children living in orphanages. I also did a lot of work with CERI’s national staff, developing standards based on U.S. models that will make our work with young adults transitioning out of orphanages and into life on their own more effective.

    Were you successful in your mission?

    Yes, in that I think my work laid a good foundation for social work supervision upon which the country can build. At the end of my project, I produced a comprehensive model that guides the supervision of social workers at the regional and village levels. Bringing about change in Moldova at a national level was difficult though due to a number of political and cultural barriers. Many of those barriers stemmed from the government’s communist mindset. Therefore, I think my model would be most effective implemented at the local level as a step-by-step, how-to guide. There are many children in Moldova living in troubled environments, so I pray this model will ultimately help give social workers the hands-on guidance they need to effectively address many social problems impacting children and families.

    What did you find to be the biggest challenge during your assignment?

    Without a doubt, communication was really challenging. Luckily, CERI helped me by providing a translator. This wasn’t a real silver bullet though, especially when we were trying to talk about industry-specific issues. Because the translators were not familiar with social work, there were some points that didn’t get delivered with their full impact. Purchasing food at a local grocery store was at times tough too; especially when products didn’t have pictures to show what they were. Fortunately, like I said before, I’m adventurous.

    Did the various barriers prevent you from feeling settled in Moldova?

    Not really. Our CERI national staff did a fantastic job finding me an ideal apartment to live in, close to everything I needed in downtown Chisinau. I also found a spiritual home through helping out at a rural Baptist church in Calarasi, and establishing a new church in the city. I grew very close to the pastor of the Chisinau church and spent every Sunday with him and his family. It was a real blessing.

    Any final thoughts?

    The two years I spent in Moldova were unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. I had my share of challenges, but at the end of the day, I am hopeful that my work will help the country’s first professional social workers provide safe, quality services for the thousands of children who need their help. The whole experience was a blessing.

    Since returning home to the United States, Dr. Meyer has accepted the role as an evaluator for BCFS’ Community-Based Services Division. He is presently working on evaluation and research projects aimed at abstinence and teen pregnancy prevention.

    Interview courtesy BCFS.

    Putting it all on the line

    April 29, 2010

    It’s one thing to talk about the need to help hungry people. It’s better to give to an effort that helps them. The greatest commitment is the one many churches across Texas are making: directly helping the hungry through food outreaches.

    First Baptist Church in Gatesville is one of the congregations that has stepped up to the plate to help the hungry. Roughly half the town’s kindergarteners and first graders are at or below the poverty line. Many students are on free or reduced lunch programs, finding their only meals at school.

    In response, the church provides about half a ton of food assistance a year in the community. The church works so every child has something to eat. It’s clearly an issue close to Pastor Steve Dominy’s heart.

    “It ticks me off that Texas is hungrier than any state in the nation. Texas is the greatest state in the nation, and there is no way that that should happen. And I am willing to bet that 99 percent of the population doesn’t know about that. So I hope they raise awareness about hunger issues in the state and mobilize some people to get off their butts and do something about it.”

    World hunger and Christ’s call

    April 29, 2010

    Ryan Musser, youth minister at First Baptist Church in Hewitt, shared this insight the other day. It’s stuck with me, so I want to share it here.

    “I learned something today about mile 42 in the middle of a hill. I was reminded that the call to take up our cross is not an easy task, and it involves sacrifice. So many times we talk about world hunger and we say that task is just too big. The kingdom of God isn’t about doing easy things. It’s about doing right things. And we were given a way to live, and a sacrificial way to live. And if it hurts, we are supposed to continue pressing on because that is what our King has already done.”

    But why?

    April 18, 2010

    By John Hall

    Tomorrow, a group of bicycle riders – pastors and laypeople – will begin a 6-day trip from Ballinger to San Antonio through Hamilton, Waco, Belton and Georgetown in an effort to raise money for hungry people as well as awareness that hunger is an issue in our home state.

    Several people have asked, why are you doing a bike ride? The simplest answer might be, why not?

    I can’t answer for everyone on this ride, only myself.

    Last fall, I was faced with what one person called a “crisis of conscience” as Peruvian orphans were standing before me, around me and in my arms. Before support from the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger, these smiling children had no access to clean water and were severely undernourished. Without the help of Texas Baptists, they were lacking basics that most of take for granted.

    Sadly, there are many children in need worldwide just like these orphans. And there are children in need of food here in the state that I love to call home.

    Faced by the need, I had a choice – do something or forget I ever saw it.

    Participating in Bike Out Hunger is my way of doing something. I can’t solve world hunger. But I can ride a bike a bit – each day of this trip likely will be the longest trip I’ve ever completed. And maybe riding that bike can help raise some money for children in need. Maybe someone else can discover there are children worldwide like I did and want to help them.

    God moves through Congreso

    April 12, 2010

    I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to share about Congreso. God moved through Congreso like never before. Right before Easter, a record 7,000 Hispanic students came for the event in Waco, with more than 2,000 spiritual decisions being made for Christ. Many of those students were committing to follow Christ for the first time.

    According to all the reports I’ve heard, students filled the floor of Baylor’s basketball arena as they committed themselves to Christ, some of them with tears in their eyes.

    Praise God for working in students’ lives. Thank the Lord for the hard work of Frank, Angie and the multitude of folks who put Congreso together. For a complete report from Congreso, check out’s the article Kaitlin put together, which includes a great photo slideshow that shows God working. If you’d like a little more Congreso, video of the general sessions can be found on the Texas Baptists’ video page by clicking here.

    Hope springs eternal in Bogota

    April 12, 2010

    The stories of congregations’ involvement in Texas Hope 2010 continue to come in. First Baptist Church in Bogota went door-to-door to every home in the city, visiting with people, taking prayer requests and offering people Bibles.

    The day before Easter, the church had a festival with free food, games for children, activities for adults, live music and opportunities for people to share prayer requests and receive Bibles.

    The outreach already is producing fruit. On Easter, the congregation had several families come visit as a result of the church’s effort to share the gospel.

    The church’s youth minister, Tim Martin, had this to say about the effort:

    “On Easter Sunday, we had a packed house,” Martin said. “We had I’d say five or six families who came as a direct result of what we did on Saturday.”

    The guests’ appearance encouraged the congregation and helped members see the kingdom impact their efforts were having, Martin said.

    “When we saw these faces … we were so excited they were giving us a chance,” he said. “They wanted to see if our church was everything we said it was in the weeks before. We saw that we weren’t just spinning our wheels, we were actually having an impact.”


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