Posts Tagged ‘Missions’

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.

Texas Baptists goals and missional characteristics

May 6, 2010

Yesterday during the Texas Baptists monthly staff chapel service, Executive Director Randel Everett cast a vision for the next several years of convention ministry and gave the characteristics of healthy, missional churches. Click on the link below to hear what he had to say.

Goals and missional characteristics by Randel Everett

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A few more students needed for summer missions

March 24, 2010

Go Now Missions has a few more spots available for college-age students to serve on mission this summer. If you are interested in filling one of the positions mentioned below or if you know of someone who would be willing to serve, please contact Brenda Sanders at the Go Now Missions at 888-288-1853 as soon as possible.

Positions available:

COLORADO: LOVELAND- BUILDING BRIDGERS. We have two students appointed, but need another guy and another girl. They need to be Sophomores or above. The team will be training in the skills needed for church planting and then get to work with three great church planters. The team will be involved in servant and relationship evangelism, and home Bible studies. They will help with collegiate church plants and church plants in growing areas. You will work with people with a variety of world views. You need to be committed to cross-cultural experience. We are looking for spiritually and emotionally mature students.

TX: DEL RIO-MISSION INTERNS. We need two students (same gender) to serve as Mission Interns at FBC, Del Rio. They will get to work as leaders with mission teams coming in all summer. As well a working with a feeding ministry, children, youth and outreach ministries. You will get to work in a variety of ministries. If you speak Spanish, that would be a great help, but is not required. You will be able to grow both in your leadership skills and understanding of missions. The needs are great; will you come fill the need?

Feb. 14 – Day of prayer for student missions

February 9, 2010

On Feb. 12-14, more than 200 college students and leaders from every corner of Texas will gather at First Baptist Church in Midlothian for Go Now Missions Discovery Weekend, a time for students to worship, learn about God’s heart for the nations, minister to the local community and seek the Lord about serving on summer or semester missions this year.  

As this weekend takes place, the Go Now Missions prayer team is asking that churches and individuals dedicate Feb. 14 as the Day of Prayer for Student Missions, covering the students and leaders in prayer as they spend time seeking God and discovering ways they can accept and fulfill the call to take the gospel to all peoples and nations.  

“Committing to pray on Sunday morning when the students are making their last decision about serving in positions can only help and really begin to free up and enlighten the leadership team as they put assignments together, knowing that not only the people in that room are praying but also people at every corner of Texas,” said Ben Edfeldt, director of the Baptist Student Ministry at Midwestern State University and Go Now Missions prayer team leader. 

To get involved with the day of prayer, click through the links below. Prayer requests from students participating in Discovery Weekend will be posted throughout the weekend on the Go Now Missions prayer Web site.  

 

Living simply, learning much – a Go Now Missions report

January 11, 2010

Nicki Boyd, a social work major at the University of Texas at Arlington, spent a week during Christmas break with six other college girls to serve with Go Now Missions on the World Hunger Relief Farm near Waco. While at the farm, the team milked goats, helped with farm chores and learned about world food systems and their responsibility as Christians to help the hungry around the world. Below, Nicki shares a little about her experience and her first impressions.

Today is my first full day at the World Hunger Relief Farm. I have gotten to know my group pretty well after spending a very cold night together in the Nicaragua House. The Nicaragua house is a model home of what Habitat for Humanity builds for their tenants in Nicaragua.

These houses basically have 4 walls and a bamboo roof and are built for the very hot rainy climate of Nicaragua.  And they don’t include electricity or running water. It didn’t seem very suitable for the seven of us Texas girls who never even thought of experiencing winter without heating and without a toilet that flushed.

We got to know each other pretty well by sleeping very closely around our small oven fire. Even though this type of house was not designed for Texas, it’s actually similar to what some Americans experience and so many more around the world.

We started the morning at 6:30 a.m. with basic chores around the farm like milking goats, watering plants, collecting firewood and feeding baby chicks and chickens. Then we met back up for devotion and breakfast. Afterwards, we continued with more chores around the farm.

Our delicious vegetarian lunch was prepared by using crops grown on the farm. Later we were able to meet with Neil Miller, Executive Director of the Farm, and he shared his testimony with us of his experience as a missionary in Haiti.

We ended the day with a Hunger Banquet, which demonstrated what many people around the world would experience daily in their struggle for food. We learned mind-blowing facts about how 25,000 children die daily from starvation and also that with a salary of $9,000 a year, you are considered rich or among the wealthy class world-wide. That isn’t a lot of money here in America with our standard of living. But if you think about it, even our poor are better off than most people of other countries.

We learned many other facts along with these that helped me to realize just how fortunate we are in America, how fortunate I am. And this is only the first day. I feel that this experience is going to teach me a lot about God’s heart for the nations and explain more specifically what I can do in my community and how I can make a difference in our world.

Joy, joy, joy down in our hearts… a Go Now Missions report

January 11, 2010

The following are a few excerpts from journal entries submitted to Texas Baptists by Crystal, a senior at the University of Mary Hardin–Baylor. In them, she briefly shares about her expereince spending time with Asian university students while serving on a Go Now Missions team with three other students in East Asia during the Christmas holidays.

Dec. 20 – It’s crazy how dark it feels here, from the moment the plane landed. My heart breaks for the people here because it’s as if they are living so independently. I never imagined spiritual darkness would feel like this. I am anticipating the Lord is doing some awesome things here and I can’t wait to see it first-hand.

Dec. 22 – We met the students today. They are very kind and open to us coming in. They treat us like movie stars! The way they cater to our needs and help us out has made me feel special and treasured. It makes me want to treat those around me better because they are treasured creations of God. If the students can treat us so well without the love of God in them, then how much better am I called to treat others? Romans 3:10-12, Colossians 3:12

Not being able to fully communicate has been humbling and has made me observe and discern situations and people rather than to immediately talk. Because I only know “hello” and “thank you,” my conversations within the community are limited. 

Dec. 23 - The college is having a “Foreign Festival,” where students study cultures around the world. This was perfect timing for us to come and exchange cultures. We split up into the classrooms and the teachers let us teach about American culture. Because Christianity is just a western religion in their eyes and the proximity to Christmas, we shared the entire story of how Jesus was born and why he came.

I could not believe we were able to share the Gospel in an [Asian] classroom. Many students had never heard it before, so they had a lot of questions. Those that had heard it before mostly thought it was a good fairytale. In the afternoon, we played sports with the students and they invited us up to the dorm rooms to hang out. Building trust with the students is vital because if it is not there, they will be less inclined to accept the messages we share.  

Dec. 24 – Today, we had a lot of one-on-one time with our new friends. In my personal conversations, I got to talk about the joy that comes from a relationship with Christ. Many of the students have the perception that American life is great and perfect because it is busy and we have a lot of things. Their perception of the western world is bliss. I explained to them that there is much sadness and lostness in the U.S. as well.

It made me ponder the fact that brokenness looks different here in Asia than it does in the States, however the concept is similar. A life without Christ is hopeless. I am so thankful for the “joy, joy, joy down in our hearts” that a relationship with the everlasting Father brings to his children. It’s funny how experiences in life build on themselves. The little songs we sang in Sunday School and the verses we memorized in Awanas have stuck with me for years, and many surfaced during the trip.

 I expected Christmas Eve would be difficult to spend away from home, but I don’t regret being here during this time. It is a critical season and an open door to share the birth of Christ with those that have never heard. One especially amazing thing happened tonight. One of our friends, Steve*, came up to me after class.

He said, “I know Christmas is important to you in America so I want to take you to church.” Steve and 11 other students walked me and another girl on my team to a nearby registered church where we watched the Christmas story and the students translated it to us. It allowed us to talk about whether they believed it to be true.

One student accepted Christ as his personal savior on Christmas Eve, and we believe many other seeds were planted.  

Dec. 25 – We celebrated Christmas in the classroom singing carols, doing word puzzles and just hanging out with our new friends. Relationship-building is awesome!

 I also learned today of the religious persecution in Asia with the underground, Spirit-filled church. It is scary to think about. One man had his finger cut off right there on the spot when the government found out he had started a house church. The government is in control of so much. But the Lord is still at work here! The Spirit is strong in Asia. I am very grateful for the religious liberties we have in America and the opportunities for discipleship and growth.  

Dec. 26 – This trip has definitely increased my praise for the Father in regards to thankfulness for modern conveniences and the American lifestyle. I often take for granted toilets, toilet paper, clean water, brushing my teeth from a faucet, grocery stores, my car, heaters, washers and dryers, and most importantly accessibility to places of spiritual growth.

I have forsaken how blessed I am to go to church weekly and to meet in small groups, and to carry my Bible freely to school and for the opportunities I have to surround myself with Godly friends that encourage me to seek Him more, and for a family and a church family that pray, support and disciple me. My prayer is that our team can be an instrument of living hope in the lives of the students while we are here and that the Lord will burden hearts in America, like mine, to pray continuously for these people and to open up some hearts to become laborers here.  

Dec. 28 – Today I spent a lot of time with one girl in particular. I shared with her the story of Christ and gave her a Bible in her language. The students also had us over to cook and dance. They are so sweet and I know it will be hard to leave here.  

Dec. 29 – Evan* told us that we brought happiness to the campus. He said that before we came it was so boring and that after we left everyone would be really sad. I hope that they are able to understand that our joy comes from the Father and that they can have it too.  

Dec. 31 – Leaving Asia today was more difficult than I had ever imagined. The Lord has completely transformed my heart and attitude for this unreach ed people group. My hope is that the Lord will give me discernment on how I can best help these people and what I can do with the connections I’ve made and the experiences I’ve been blessed to have.  

As I prepared for the trip last semester, I didn’t understand why the Lord burdened my heart for the Asian people. I didn’t feel qualified, I didn’t have an interest in the Asian culture, nor did I imagine I would be able to raise $3,000 to go. But the Lord is so faithful to provide and to work on the hearts of his people. I wish I could efficiently explain in words how I saw the Lord work and how our prayers were answered. I hope this gives you a little bit of a picture of how He is at work in a small area of Asia. 

A conversation with Row 3 Seat B – Go Now Missions story

January 4, 2010

Crystal Donahue, a senior mass communication major at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, spent 16 days with a team three other Go Now student missionaries during Christmas break sharing Christ with students in East Asia.  Here’s a glimps into one encounter she had.

Ernesto wasn’t Asian, nor did I meet him overseas. He was just the guy sitting in Row 3 Seat B headed to Texas for work on the same plane as me.

“How was your New Year’s celebration?” he asked as I shoved my backpack under the seat in front of me.

“Good.” I smiled reminiscing on my time overseas. “I spent it in Hong Kong with some good friends.”

He looked at me surprised.

“What about you?” I asked. “How was yours?”

 Ernesto had spent the holidays with his family in California before heading to base in Texas for military duty. He has been in the Army for more than 10 years and was used to treasuring the small amount of time he had with loved ones. He shared a few short stories before centering the conversation on me.

Ernesto was an inquisitive man. I tried to ask him questions about himself, but he was too interested in my journeys.

I explained to him my interest in other cultures, and he was fascinated by it. He then saw the pen on my bag that I had received from the BGCT Annual Meeting that read “End Hunger 2015.” He asked why I was an advocate of world hunger alleviation so I got to share with them some facts about food instability in Texas and the need for hunger ministries. His eyes got big as he became so curious.

“Why do you want to do so much good?” he asked.

 The answer to his question was easy. Out of the overflow of love that Christ has for me, I desire to share with others. But when he questioned me, I don’t know what happened. I built a wall of protection around my faith.

“I have really good parents,” I said. “They set a good example for me, and I want to be like them and serve the community.”

Yes, this was true. But it wasn’t the full truth. For some reason I was hesitant to say that Jesus was the reason for my intentions. I was afraid if I gave him a religious answer that I would lose his interest.

Our conversation turned around, and we began chatting about music and movies until both of us nodded off.

But I wrestled with sleep. I had missed my opportunity to share Christ with this man. On mission trips, it’s implied your conversations will end up about the Lord. In fact, you do all you can to hope that whatever subject you talk about will end with the Gospel.

It’s sad how quickly my mind switched to, “I’m back in America, he probably already knows.” It didn’t take but 12 hours for me to lose my missions-minded attitude after I had seen the Lord do amazing things in East Asia.

Luckily I had some time to pray before the end of the flight.

“Twenty minutes until we land,” the pilot came over the speaker.

I looked at Ernesto. He was staring out the window. He seemed so broken, so hopeless.

“Thank you,” I told him, and he took off his headphones. “Thank you for your service to this country. Thank you for protecting my freedom so that I am able to have the opportunity to travel the world and serve people.”

 He smiled.

While in Asia, I realized how blessed our nation is to have freedom of religion, and this was the perfect opportunity to tell someone who defends my freedom that I am thankful for his service, because he makes my service possible.

Thank the Lord I had the opportunity to share Christ with him and encourage him to go to church and find help. He was broken by circumstance and needed help.

He then told me that he was afraid of church because he hadn’t always made the best choices in life.

The plane landed, and we went our separate ways. It broke my heart to think that this man, like many, feared the church. It bothered me that it took me hours into the flight to tell him Jesus was my passion. We talked about in debriefing the necessity of being on guard and girding up our loins. It didn’t take long for Him to test me in this area.

When off the “mission field,” it’s easy to get off “mission.” Thank goodness He isn’t done teaching when we think we’re through learning.

 “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” Psalm 139:23-24

Hispanic Youth Challenged to Care

September 18, 2009
Leaders of a Hispanic Youth Camp - Summer 2009

Leaders of a Hispanic Youth Camp - Summer 2009

On September 11-13, 150 youth from Hispanic Baptist churches in East Texas  attended camp at Pineywoods Baptist Encampment in Woodlake.  The theme for the camp was “Original Masterpiece”.  Rev. Daniel “Tiny” Dominguez, pastor of Community Heights Baptist Church in Lubbock, was the keynote speaker and seminar leader.

In his seminar, Bro. Domínguez concentrated on the need for youth and their churches to feed the hungry.  Since the hungry have different faces depending on where you live, attendees were asked to identify 2 kinds of people in their communities that face dire circumstances or live below poverty level.  Youth were then challenged to think of practical ways, they as individuals, and their churches, can make a difference in their neighborhoods by meeting one need at a time.  Food and clothing drives were among the most popular ideas mentioned.      

Undoubtedly, Texas Hope 2010 became the underlying emphasis of the camp.  Through powerful worship services and relevant preaching, the lives of many youth were changed.  There were 15 professions of faith, and 60 young people renewed their commitment to Christ. 

This was the last of 4 youth camps the Office of Hispanic Ministries helped support this summer.  In total, there were almost 900 attendees, more than 60 professions of faith, about 150 rededications and 30 calls to ministry.  The fields are truly ripe for harvest!

FOCUS Hope 2010

September 17, 2009

SFA002

College students all over Texas are impacting their campus and communities through FOCUS Hope weekends. Each year the Collegiate Ministry at the BGCT hosts FOCUS, a state-wide weekend conference designed to encourage, equip and motivate students to reach their campuses with the hope of Christ.

Instead of having one statewide event this year, each college and university Baptist Student Ministry is taking a weekend to be missional and take the hope of Christ to their campuses and communities in partnership with Texas Hope 2010.

This weekend is the official kick-off of FOCUS Hope, although several weekends have already taken place since Aug. 28.

Last weekend, several North Texas universities and colleges met at The Heights Baptist Church in Richardson for a time of worship and service. Several groups helped deliver furniture to international students at the University of Texas at Dallas while others helped paint a house and help with Habitat for Humanity projects.

About 200 students from the BSM at Stephen F. Austin, Kilgore College and Angelina College came together for a time of worship on Friday night and then spent Saturday delivering Texas Hope 2010 gospel presentation CDs to several apartment complexes as well as taking clothing to the elderly through Love Inc.

Gary Davis, director of the SFA BSM, had the following to say about last weekend:

I hope they walked away just with a sense of getting involved and not just being complacent and content with just going to class, but seeing  the need to go and serve. I hope they saw ways they can get involved and help out and not just be students but be servants as well.

As college students spend a weekend serving others, pray that their encounters will encourage them to lead a lifestyle of sharing the hope of Christ and being intentional with their actions. To find a project taking place near you, visit the FOCUS Hope Web site.

BUA to hold Mary Hill Davis missions conference

August 26, 2009

Here’s the release from BUA. For more information, visit www.bua.edu/maryhilldavis.

A “merge-model” of Hispanic ministry, practical advice for short-term mission volunteers from a key Kenya Baptist leader, and riches of resources for churches doing cross-cultural ministry make up this year’s Mary Hill Davis Missions Conference at Baptist University of the Americas on Sept. 11-12.

The registration fee of $25 ($20 for members of BGCT churches) includes printed materials from the workshops and the Woman’s Missionary Union banquet on Friday evening. The conference, for anyone involved in planning mission work in their churches, ends Saturday at noon to be followed by a free admission,  community-wide missions fair.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to hone Baptists’ ‘mission-ability’ and honor the on-going leadership of WMU in carrying out the Great Commission,” BUA President Rene Maciel said. “We will be privileged to learn some Missions 101 from Nairobi pastor Elijah Wanje and are convinced that First Baptist Church Kaufmann can teach a lot of us about how to cross cultural barriers to become the unified church Christ prayed for.

Co-sponsors of the conference are Baptist General Convention of Texas, Texas WMU, Hispanic WMU, Texas Partnership Missions, San Antonio Baptist Association, Buckner International, Baptist Credit Union, and Anchored Love Ministries.

The Friday dinner will feature presentations by Texas WMU president Joy Fenner, Texas Hispanic WMU president Bea Mesquias, and WMU interim executive director Nelda Seal.

The conference runs from 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11 through noon, Saturday, Sept. 11.  The missions fair is noon- 5 p.m. Saturday.


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