Missions


Fellowship Begins With an Invitation

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. (Mark 16:15)

FellowshipIn his book, Evangelism in the Early Church, Michael Green reminds us that when Jesus was crucified there were only 11 men left to carry on his work and bring the gospel to the entire world!

Undistinguished, poorly educated, and with no influential supporters, they were nobodies living in a second-class province on the Roman frontier.

How could they possibly succeed? And yet, they did. By one estimate, Christianity grew from about 1,000 believers in 40 AD to 5 to 8 million in 300 AD — a growth rate of 40% per decade and the dominant religion of the Roman Empire! Today, Christianity is the world’s largest religion, with about 2 billion followers.

The rise of a secular judgmental culture challenges our efforts to spread the Good News. When it comes to discipleship, today’s church-going American Protestants often struggle in their efforts to share Christ with non-Christians. A recent survey of 2,930 Protestant churchgoers in the US revealed that a majority agreed it’s their duty to share their faith. Yet, over the preceding six months just 25% had shared their faith once or twice, 14% had shared at least three times.

The survey also asked how many times they personally “invited an unchurched person to attend a church service or some other program” at their church in the last six months?

  • 48% of church attendees responded, “zero”
  • 33% had personally invited someone one or two times
  • 19% at least three invitations

Inviting someone to join you in attending church is probably the easiest form of outreach. And it may be one of the most effective based on the findings from a survey of 15,000 Americans who were asked to list the best of 13 approaches when a church wants to be heard.

Getting them to visit a church:

  • 67%: a personal invitation from a family member would be very/somewhat effective
  • 63%: a personal invitation from a friend or neighbor would be very/somewhat effective

Get them to receive information about a local congregation or faith community:

  • 63%: very/somewhat willing when it comes from a family member
  • 56%: very/somewhat willing when it comes from a friend or neighbor

Bent Creek Baptist has a history of commitment to missions and community outreach. As we gear up to increase our efforts it might be best to remember that a simple straightforward invitation to come to church is one of our best God-given tools.

That said, please consider this an invitation to our neighbors living in the Bent Creek area, as well as residents in Buncombe and Henderson Counties to join us for Sunday worship service at 11 am.


Deacon Means Servant

Paul and Timothy, the servants 
of Jesus Christ, to all the saints 
in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons. (Philippians 1:1)

Pastor Tommy Bridges with our new deacons, Don Fender and Daniel Byers

Pastor Tommy Bridges with our new deacons, Don Fender and Daniel Byers

Last Sunday, Don Fender and Daniel Byers were installed as deacons at BCBC. It is a noble undertaking.

Deacon, diakonia, means service at the table, and is mentioned 34 times in the New Testament. Don and Daniel join a long and distinguished group of men of the church in a service that has evolved since the early days of the Apostles in Jerusalem.

Here’s some history

Early on, the apostles, in dealing with the benevolence ministry problem at the Jerusalem church, told the congregation…

It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. Acts 6:2-4 (NKJV)

“Business” in this sense according to the Greek “chreia” means “need”.

Derek Gentle, writing in The Baptist Start Page, traces the history of Deacons. From the 2nd through 5th centuries, deacons were the real agents of charity provided through the church. They served the needs of widows and orphans. They visited the martyrs in prison and helped to train new converts. They watched over the church members, reporting to the bishop any who seemed about to fall away. They also attempted to restore the excommunicated.

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. (Acts 20:28)

The Middle Ages 

For a long period from the 5th to the 15th century, the Office of Deacon changed and less resembled the New Testament model. Medieval deacons assumed an increasingly ecclesiastical role. It became a path to advance to the priesthood.

The Reformation

This again changed during the reformation, which started in the 16th century. Martin Luther stated, “The diaconate is the ministry, not of reading the Gospel or the Epistle, as is the present practice, but of distributing the church’s aid to the poor.”

John Calvin agreed, “Scripture specifically designates as deacons those whom the church has appointed to distribute alms and take care of the poor, and serve as stewards of the common chest for the poor.”

Similarly, in the early 1600’s, John Smyth, an early Baptist minister in England and a defender of the principle of religious liberty, and Thomas Helwys, one of the founders, of General Baptist denomination, saw the primary role of deacons as carrying out the benevolence ministry of the church.

An expanding role again

By the latter half of the 18th century however, the activities of deacons expanded this time to include serving as business managers for the church in order to relieve the pastor from the secular concerns of the church.

In 1846, R. B. C. Howell, an early Tennessee Baptist and editor, referred to deacons as, “A board of directors, and have charge of the all the secular affairs in the kingdom of Christ.”

Deacons today

Deacon Cross by Ron Schmidt

Deacon Cross by Ron Schmidt

By the 1950’s and intensifying in the 1970’s this role for deacons was rejected. In 1991 Jerry Songer, of the Chattanooga Central Baptist Church, wrote that, “The board of deacons and business manager concept is no longer a viable model”

Baptists today agree that God established the deacon position to provide servant leadership for churches. According to the Bible, the office of deacon is an honor and a blessing.

For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 3:13).

We thank Don Fender and Daniel Byers for their service.

 

Thanks to Doug Van Wirt for the photo.


The Freedom Challenge: Tanner Besosa Blogs from BMW

Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. (1 Peter 2:16)

Tanner Besosa

Tanner Besosa

Tanner spent time last week dealing with Hurricane Matthew. The Florida Free BibleMissionary, & Work Training Center (BMW) evacuated the students to one of their sister ministries in Indiana. They are safe, and are now back fixing the minor damage around campus.

The Freedom Challenge

Among the challenges faced by college students is the freedom challenge. Out from under parental guidance and restrictions, priorities can change. For Tanner this has “made my responsibility for school work and spiritual life increase, because I no longer have anyone to push me to do school work or my alone time with God.” The responsibility falls on him now, and this “forces” him to be responsible.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)

Freedom in Christ III

Freedom in Christ III

Some of the challenges faced by a student at BMW differ from those confronted by students attending a secular college. For example, how do you say no to your friends when they choose to do something that you are uncomfortable with? “Most of the time,” says Tanner, “I do not have to say no to my friends, but every now and then I do have to say no so that I do not fall behind on school work. For the most part, none of my friends take part in immoral living.”

At BMW however, students have differing views of Christ. “Teen Missions doesn’t lean to one or another doctoral view, so people from different denominations can work together without one or the other being pushed aside. But it does sometimes make for debates on doctrinal issues. Yet, by the goodness of God, it never affects our ministry here.”

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. (Ephesians 5:1-2)

Next time, we’ll discuss the diversity challenge for students.

The first post of Tanner’s blog can be found here.


Each of Us, Evangelists

For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 13:47)

The Light of the World, Holman Hunt, 1853

The Light of the World, Holman Hunt, 1853

Over the past few Sundays, Pastor Tommy has described a vision for the BCBC congregation to take their faith to their neighbors as a natural part of our daily interactions.

Today, Pastor Erwin W. Lutzer, writing for Decision Magazine, made a similar plea.

Says Pastor Lutzer, “We want God to come in great power to convert people, but the Bible stresses the need for personal evangelism. I believe that America’s crumbling walls cannot be rebuilt until Christians—bankers, lawyers, nurses, factory workers—all see themselves as representatives of Christ wherever He has planted them.”

But here’s the challenge…

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. (Matthew 5:13)

“One of my greatest disappointments,” he continues, “is the number of Christians who work next to unbelievers without ever making it clear that they are Christians. Lovingly and winsomely [sweetly, innocently, charming, winning, engaging], we must share the Gospel message through our lips and testify to its transformative power by our lives. Unless that happens, America’s walls will not be rebuilt.”

“We as the church,” he concludes, “through the power of the Gospel, have the seeds of renewal. Unless they are watered, cared for and cultivated, we will not rebuild our crumbling walls.”

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. (Matthew 5:14)


Time for Decision

Urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

Franklin Graham

Franklin Graham

“Christians are being marginalized,” says Franklin Graham.

“My grandchildren are not going to have the same opportunities that I had.”

“There’s not a single political party that can turn this thing around.”

What do we do?

The answer is obvious. Listen here.

A Time for Decision

The simple fact is that if Christians do not speak publicly about what the Bible teaches regarding issues of right and wrong, there aren’t many other good sources for… ethics… outside of ourselves and our own subjective feelings and consciences.


Perseverance and Growth in Nicaragua

Even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. (Psalm 137:10)

Enjoy this final post of a series of reports from Nicaragua by Daniel Bridges

Wednesday, 7/13/16: Growing in discipleship 

The discipleship group this day was very difficult. Something about losing the Holy Spirit through sin was brought up during group. I started to feel the weight of legalism here in Nicaragua, and it made me feel down for a while.

Then, I realized that all I am called to do is share who Jesus is and try to give them the resources to grow. It’s not up to me to change their minds about things. The Lord is in control of their hearts and not me.

After this difficult time, it was very helpful to be able to go see Ice Age with the group at the local movie theater! It was a lot of fun, and I ate a lot of popcorn.

Thursday, 7/14/16: Perseverance

After a relaxing morning, we headed off for El Trianon. There we sang songs, got to know the message, and gave a message to some of the youth.

After this we played soccer with kids in a field nearby. It was a good day, and even though I wasn’t very confident that the message I gave was good, my teammates were very encouraging!

Friday, 7/15/16: Growing in the Word

We spent the day at the Mission Center, and had our discipleship group. It was much better than the last meeting, and I was able to share Romans 7:15.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do. But what I hate, I do. (Romans 7:15)

and also John 14:16, which reminds us that the holy spirit will never leave.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, (John 14:16)

They seemed to understand and agree with me, and we all said we have struggled with knowing we are saved because of sin, but then we all understood that we could not go anywhere away from God as we looked at Psalm 139. It was a great encouraging meeting.

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

Even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. (Psalm 139:7-10)

Later that night we ate ice cream with the group.

Saturday, 7/16/16: Out and about

This day was the Word Race free day and we planned a bunch of fun stuff to do with them!

Cerro Negro volcano

Cerro Negro Volcano

We started off the morning hiking the Cerro Negro Volcano. It is astounding every time you get to the top and see all of God’s glory on display, and I definitely wouldn’t mind returning for a 5th time in the coming years.

After leaving the volcano, we went to Leon to eat lunch at Hollywood Pizza, and then headed to the Parque Acuatico en Telica (Water Park in Telica). It was a blast to swim and slide with many of my friends from the US and Nicaragua.

Thelma and I would sneak up on each other in the pool and pull each other underwater. I think I won, because she screamed at one point “Esta historia continuará!” which means this will continue later, it is not over.

This day was a very relaxing and fun day, but we all were exhausted.

Sunday, 7/17/16: Sunday School with the kids

In the morning Lauren Parham, Lauren Wagoner (my fellow intern), and Ron and I went to Dr. Michael’s church.

Lauren, Lauren, and I did a Sunday School activity with the kids. It was a great morning and on the way back we stopped for iced coffee at central plaza!

Monday, 7/18/16: Goodbye to good friends

It was very sad to say goodbye to all our friends on the World Race team. They will for sure be missed.

Then, we were supposed to have discipleship group, but it stormed so no one was able to come.

During this time although, I was able to have a great conversation with Carlos. Later that night we went to a surprise birthday party for Tony’s sister Lenin. I kept going from Tony’s house to Carely’s house to hang out with her and her little sister Ayleen (who is just as crazy as Carely was when she was younger). It was a tough day, but the night went a lot better than the morning.

Tuesday, 7/19/16: Time off from a busy week

Today was the anniversary of the Sandinista revolution, so we stayed inside all day.

Buses loaded with people inside and on top are all making their way to Managua for a huge celebration. It’s always dangerous to travel on revolution day because of the traffic and drunk people, so we had a “snow day” at the Mission Center.

Later in the afternoon we went back to Bethel while the traffic was less, and said our goodbyes.

That night we watched Home Alone 2 for our “snow day”. Halfway through, our discipleship groups surprised us with Fresca, Oreos, encouraging words, and song. It was a great last day.

Wednesday, 7/20/16: Off to Managua

We set off for Managua at noon. After eating quesillos (corn tortillas with cheese, onions, and cream) I felt pretty sick in the bus, but I survived.

We stopped by the hospital and visited with Ixcel. Then, Ron, Lauren, and I went to the hotel.

Thursday, 7/21/16: Going home

My flight left Managua around 8 am, and I arrived in Atlanta around 1:30 pm.

Little did I know what lay ahead of me. I planed to leave for the beach with my brother Nathan at 6 pm when I landed in Asheville. So, timing was very important. But my flight was delayed and then cancelled. The next flight was cancelled as well.

While waiting in the help desk line, I heard a man and woman speaking with someone about renting a car to Asheville. I asked, “Are you all going to Asheville?”

“Yes,” and they had 4 seats open if anyone wanted to come. After some thought I joined the group, and traveled home with Steve and Sally.

By God’s grace we made it, and I went to the beach early the next morning with Nathan, returning yesterday the 24th.

Final thoughts

Reflecting on this whole experience, I see God’s hand in all of it.

I see God’s true sovereignty in all of life, and His provisions for my life. I look back and smile because I know that God was with me every step of the way, even if I didn’t acknowledge Him right then!

Daniel Bridges in Nicaragua, 2016

Daniel Bridges in Nicaragua, 2016

Thank you church and friends for all your prayers this summer. This trip was truly unforgettable — a profound spiritual and physical journey for me.

I am confident that the work I did was not in vain, and that God will use the words I spoke and the  verses I shared with my discipleship guys to begin a transformation in their spiritual lives.

Sincerely,

Daniel Bridges

North Carolina State University

Earlier posts in this series include…

Daniel Bridges: Live Fully for Him

Daniel Bridges: Time to Share God’s Message

I Prayed for My Heart and Read His Word

Daniel Bridges: Labor Not in Vain

 

 

 

 


Daniel Bridges: Labor Not in Vain

Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. (Psalm 55:22)

Tuesday, 7/5/16: Toiling for the Lord

Lyndsey Parham and Pastor Tommy Bridges, ready to pour concrete.

Lyndsey Parham and Pastor Tommy Bridges, ready to pour concrete.

We started construction of the floor at Casa Bethel today. It was a day full of labor; but it went very well, and everyone ended up very tired!

Wednesday, 7/6/16: Serving those who serve

Thelma in the jungle

Thelma in the jungle

We spent the entire day at the Mission Center, in order to serve the ladies who clean hear. Thelma had us clean chairs, clean pillows, and clean all of the boy and girl’s dorm rooms. There was a lot to do. We finished around 7 pm, then showered and set off for dinner.

My group session lasted from 1 pm to 3 pm; and it went well. We talked about solitude — just sitting in God’s presence and bringing to Him your desires and any thoughts. We practiced it during our meeting, and I hope that the guys and me will regularly practice solitude in our free time.

Lynn and Lyndsey, with a friend in the middle, cleaning up.

Lynn and Lyndsey, with a friend in the middle, cleaning up.

Around 8 pm we set off for the Central Plaza. We ate dinner there and had ice cream at the food court.

Thursday, 7/7/16: Working with the homeless

This morning our ministry lead us to some homeless men who live in Posoltega. We sang worship songs and my dad shared his story, as did Cole, Ashley, and Luis (Ixcel’s younger brother).

It was a great time, and we hope and pray that one day these men will come to know Christ as Savior and that they will place their hope in Him.

After the message and more songs, we played basketball, which made me feel at least average in my basketball skills, because none of them are very good!

After lunch at the Mission Center we made our way to Santa Maria to lead a kids message and games. During the service I had a very long, Christ-centered conversation with our new driver, Wilmer. I told him my story about who I am in Christ and I heard about life as well. I thanked God for allowing me to have that conversation; and I pray that Wilmer will come to accept Christ as Lord and Savior so that he may be saved and God may be brought glory!

Friday, 7/8/16: Talking about Scripture

Today we went to a different part of Posoltega. We did a similar activity as in Santa Maria with the kids, and while the group was arriving and doing this, I had my group session with the guys. We talked about scripture. It was good to talk about some logistical ways we can encounter God in the scriptures and learn about ourselves as well.

Pastor Tommy and Lynn Bridges with a young friend

Pastor Tommy and Lynn Bridges with a young friend

After this we headed back to the Mission Center for lunch. Mom, dad, and I headed to Bethel so that mom and dad could say goodbye and distribute containers of lotion to many of the widows in Bethel. They were grateful to receive this gift, and it was a blessing for me to help them translate on their last day here.

Saturday,  7/9/16: Let’s talk about the Lord

We set off for Masaya today. During the 3-hour drive I talked with Josue about how God changed my life. I heard about his life as well. It was great catching up with my old friend!

At Masaya we ate, shopped, and then went to the potter’s house to hear his message (which is different for every single group). It was cool seeing him again.

Then we set off for Managua. We arrived at the hotel around 6 pm and said our goodbyes to the team. I was exhausted by the time we got home.

Sunday, 7/10/16: Relaxing on the Sabbath

We watched Kaleb play baseball this morning. We sat in the shade near the field (which is literally just a grass field with four bases on it) and enjoyed talking with each other and watching the game. It was fairly hard to follow without a scoreboard to remind us what inning they were in and how many outs they had.

We returned to the Mission Center after the game and got ready to go to the beach. All the young people from our discipleship teams and our group had a great time swimming, playing, and later expressing our gratitude for one another. It was a great time, and I am thankful to have been able to go to the beach, because I’m unsure if I’ll make it there with my family.

It was a great day.

Monday, 7/11/16: Satan burdens my heart

Morning today was tough. I felt a burden on my heart, and that burden was the desire to return home, but for the wrong reason.

Satan has been telling my heart that it wants to go back to comfort, where I can do nothing and remain stagnant in my faith. I saw this because during the conversation about what we will be doing in the final weeks, it became clear that there will be a lot of travel to villages and sharing. I felt a sadness build up in me because I knew I won’t be living in comfort for a while.

I had to address this feeling. So, I prayed about it, and rested in the fact that no matter what I do, I’m successful because I claim Jesus as my own. And because of this I shouldn’t be afraid of going and doing what I may not want to do. No matter what, I will be successful through the work He has done.

Resting in this I hope I can overcome this feeling of ambivalence for sharing and the nagging desire to return home. It’s really is tough lacking the motivation to continue, but still having to work.

After group I felt better about my feelings. I know that I need to continue to do God’s work for the full time I am here. Although I may want to return home, that doesn’t mean I should stop doing the thing for which I came!

That night we celebrated Cassie leaving by getting pizza and ice cream, and just enjoying community together.

7/12/16

Since the group from Concord cancelled their trip, we have had chill mornings and not very busy afternoons.

We said our goodbyes to Cassie by going to a nearby pool to swim and share with the community. After returning from lunch we had a restful rainy afternoon.

Note for this week: It’s hard sometimes to see the fruit of your work and to be discouraged, but I am strengthened by 1 Corinthians 15:58.

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” This verse, shared to me by Lauren, has really helped me stay confident that the work I do here is good because it is for the Lord and His glory. (1 Corinthians 15:58)

In Christ,

Daniel Bridges

North Carolina State University


I Prayed for My Heart and Read His Word

Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 42:11)

Thursday, 6/30/16. Fan it into flame through prayer.

In the morning I felt God putting these thoughts in my heart, and I wrote this down.

Sometimes it’s hard to want to seek God, or have a true desire to love Him, or have Him be the Lord of everything you are — a steward of what He’s blessed you with.

But even if you have a shred of desire, a spark of longing to know Him, love Him and serve Him more. Fan it into flame through prayer, His word, and by putting yourself around others who want the same.

It’s our heart’s natural tendency to stay and point towards the world, but if we can change the directions of our desires towards God — to knowing Him and loving Him — our hearts will yearn and crave to seek Him and honor Him and tell the world about Him all on its own.

God’s desire is to transform our hearts, but we have to at least want to want it. That’s where I started. At one point I didn’t truly want to bring God glory, but I wanted to want it, and I used that to pray Psalms 27 and 42 that I would want more of God and only God.

One thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)

As I prayed for my heart and read His word, even when I didn’t want to, He was working to transform my heart towards truly desiring His will and His word. I thank God for not giving up on me, and for allowing me to fan this spark of desire for Him into flame.

The group said goodbye to Ron and Marty after lunch and began a cleanup day at the mission center. We swept, gathered, and dumped trash into the back of the cattle truck. Then we set off to the Chichigalpa dump and witnessed the sad state of the people living there. I saw them getting bottles to be recycled and to earn money. The houses are built out of what they find there. We shoveled all the trash off the truck, and headed back to rest.

Friday, 7/1/16: God has a plan.

The group painted the kitchen, and the World Racers did another building as we interns led our groups.

It was harder this meeting because many guys don’t read. But I believe God still has a plan, and I know he will continue to work in their lives whether or not they read.

After the group session, Kaleb, Josue, Tony, and I drove with a new driver to the airport. It was great fun welcoming the Bent Creek team. We went to the hospital in Managua to see Ixcel. She was happy that we came to visit. We got back late to the project and were glad the group made it safely.

Saturday, 7/2/16: Buying cement for a church in Chichigalpa

Playing with kids in Bethel

Playing with kids in Bethel

Some of the group and I went to the market to buy cement for a church in Chichigalpa. After all that manual labor we came back to the project to sort out all the duffles the team had brought. Later in the afternoon we visited Bethel and enjoyed visiting people and playing with the kids.

Sunday, 7/3/16: Worship in the barrio

During the morning we led a Sunday school-type activity with the kids. We sang songs and read the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. It was great singing and having a good time with the kids!

After this we had a baby shower for Arlen and her baby who will arrive, hopefully, before I leave! The celebration was a great time to enjoy the community and have fun. I am very proud to be an uncle (Arlen and I have been calling each other brother and sister for years).

Listening to Daniel and the Lion's den

Listening to Daniel and the Lion’s den

Following the celebration we went to Casa Bethel Church, which is in a barrio of Chichigalpa called “New Sunrise.” We worshiped and worshiped some more. Then some of my group and I went and played with the kids around the back, while my dad presented a short message to the congregation.

Monday, 7/4/16: Going door to door.

This morning we set off for Bethel to do some door-to-door ministry. We talked to people, most of whom I had never met.

We talked about their lives and about God. It was pretty hard because I was translating, and sometimes it was very hard to do it well.

But the time spent there was also encouraging because we met a husband and wife who had been married for 60 years. They were 91 and 88 years old. It was encouraging because it was such a great example of love and living with God for many years!

After this time in Bethel we had our D-Team (Discipleship Team) meeting about the book we are reading, while some of the others were meeting in the Mission Center with the Bent Creek team and World Racers. The group session went well. We joined the others after we finished. Then Cole, my friend Luis, and I shared our testimonies. It was a great day.

To finish it all off we had fireworks, cake, and a movie to celebrate the 4thof July!

In Christ,

Daniel Bridges

North Carolina State University


Meeting Earthly Needs of Our Sisters

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Hebrews 13:16)

Ixcell

Ixcell

Writing in his book, The Practice of Godliness, Jerry Bridges reminds us, “There are tremendous needs in the world today, and we Christians ought to be involved in meeting those needs.”

The apostle John made it clear.

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need, but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him. (1 John 3:17)

Mr. Bridges continues, “We should give to our church and to the work of missions, but we should not overlook the fact that the most well-known passage in the Bible on giving… has to do with giving to the poor.”

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)

Seemingly small gestures can have an enormous effect. Before leaving for Bethel, Nicaragua on July 2nd, Doug Van Wirt, made a detour to get medicine for a young lady named Ixcell who is a patient in a Managua hospital. The medicine she requires isn’t available in Nicaragua.

Mindful of the departure time, the extra time to get the medicine was a little unsettling for Doug, but the flight was uneventful, easing he nerves.

Upon arrival, Juan Carlos, the girl’s father and a Vision Nicaragua local staff member, drove Doug and the medicine straight to the hospital. As they entered Ixcell’s room, she greeted them with a beautiful smile. When her dad told her about the medicine, she cried for joy. The doctor gave her the first injection about an hour later.

With more work to do, Juan Carlos and Doug drove on 2 hours further north to the Vision Nicaragua Mission Center.

Doug updated this post on July 27th with good news.

“Thank you for those of you who prayed for Ixcell in Nicaragua. The antibiotic did its job, and by the grace and mercy of God, she has been discharged from the hospital and is now HOME!”

 

 

 

 


Daniel Bridges: Time to Share God’s Message

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

Hi, here is an update on my time in Nicaragua over this past week. Thanks!

Saturday, 6/25/16: God provides for me.

The Indianapolis team flew out this morning, and a World Race team of 6 girls arrived late in the afternoon. Without any groups at the mission center, the day was very chill. The interns and I relaxed,  played games, and talked.

We visited Bethel in the morning to give sponsorship money to some of the guys. It was great catching up with old friends. One old friend and I talked about how God has provided for me spiritually; and how He encourages me, knowing that I will lead a group in the future. We had a great a great day of relaxation and rest.

Sunday, 6/26/16: Look ahead

After breakfast we went to the Bethel soccer game. I talked with Carlitos and Luis (Juan Carlos’ sons, and Ixcels brothers), and also Marcos. It was fun hanging out and watching some soccer.

Later, we discussed as a team about what our time will look like over the next 3 weeks. Then, Marty gave us the Strengthfinder book, which is designed to uncover our talents and areas of expertise. It’s similar to Myers-Briggs personality test, but more in-depth and personalized. Then, I played Settlers of Catan with Cassie and Lauren (my two fellow interns) and enjoyed bonding with the team.

Monday, 6/27/16:  God uses what I say.

Today, we planned everything we are doing when the other groups arrive, and how all of the planned activities will work out. The two groups (guys and girls) will both be going through and discussing Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Barton, which is all about opening up your deepest desires in God’s presence and experiencing spiritual transformation.

We then discussed when to do the D-Team (Discipleship Team) meeting during the rest of the time we are here. We decided to meet for a 2-hour session on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please pray for me and that these sessions will be impactful and that God will be present as we all meet to find out more about Him.

We had a meeting on short notice today. It was a little tough because I wanted to be able to speak to them perfectly; because even in the US, leading a group can be hard on the communicating side. But after talking to Marty and the other interns, along with some Nicaraguans, I realized I was underestimating myself and forgetting that God will use whatever I say and whatever the strength youth believers say to penetrate people’s hearts and allow us to grow closer to God together.

Tuesday, 6/28/16: Into the jungle

San Cristobal

San Cristobal

This morning we set off as a group (interns, World Racers, Mission Center staff, and a guide) into the jungle below the San Cristobal volcano. We got a sneak peek at a “resort”-type camp that will open in the coming months; and we learned about the plants and trees that inhabit the jungle. It was beautiful, and I had a great time joking around with Thelma (she works cleaning clothes).

Thelma in the jungle

Thelma in the jungle

After this adventure we returned for lunch and later went to Leon where we shopped, got coffee and smoothies, and saw one of our teammates get a tattoo. That said, it was an interesting fun-filled day. I am starting to get to know everyone at the Mission Center, and this makes me very happy!

Wednesday, 6/29/16:  Share the Gospel.

In the morning, we went to Bethel to play with the kids and show the World Racers around the village. I spent time with Karely and her sister, Chiquita. We all played; and the crazy kids nearly wore me out! After this we went to meet a girl named Cadence who described her ministry in Nicaragua and showed us where there was going to be an orphanage.

Our first meeting was scheduled for after lunch, and I was very nervous. It went well and thankfully Carlos the translator was there because I was able to share the Gospel, my story, and also heard the youths’ testimonies. I knew that God gave me the words to say, and it was a very good start as we begin to journey together to know God more.

Playing with the kids in Bethel

Playing with the kids in Bethel

I think many of them will benefit from reading Sacred Rhythms… including me. I thank God that it went well, and now I feel a little more at ease because we’ve broken the ice.

Continue to pray that we all will see God more and fall more in love with Him, and that because of knowing Him more we will want to tell others and be disciples who make disciples.

Thanks to all for supporting my journey.

Daniel Bridges

North Carolina State University


Daniel Bridges: Live Fully for Him

Because by his power he has given us everything necessary for life and righteousness, (2 Peter 1:3)

Daniel at Cerro Negro

Daniel at Cerro Negro

Monday, 6/20/16: I’m in Bethel; thank you, Lord.
I thank God for the smooth flight and travel to to Bethel and that I made it safely. Everything was seemingly perfect! Since I got in late, I didn’t speak with anyone from the team — just went straight to bed after getting to the Mission Center. There will be a bible study to lead and, before then, lots of other things to do.

Note: The team from Indianapolis and I started each day with coffee and a 30-minute devotional before breakfast. Marty, who heads the team from Indianapolis, is leading us through the Book of James.

Tuesday, 6/21/16: God is teaching me here.

Fruit Race

Fruit Race

After breakfast we had a fruit race. We went to the market, bought fruits, and delivered them to the widows of Bethel as a surprise.

After lunch we went to Santa Maria where the guys played with the kids while the women had Bible study with women in the village.

Girl from Santa Maria

Girl from Santa Maria

Then, we came back; and after dinner, young people from a local church came and led an event for us at the Mission Center. We worshiped, played games and enjoyed the company of each other. After they left, the team spent time together, and then went to bed to rest up for an early morning of volcano climbing.

God is teaching me here. Through a persistent feeling of loneliness and apprehension, I’m learning that his presence is sufficient for me, even though it isn’t comfortable or even fun to do His work sometimes. But He promises to give us more of Him if we seek His kingdom.

I pray. Even though I’m terrified about leading Bible study with guys I may or may not know, I recognize that He will show me more of Him. And even if I don’t know the team well, and sometimes feel alone, I understand that God will use my discomfort to bring Him glory. I have confidence that even though I long to see my friends from home, and my loved ones, this trip will be worth any apprehension.

Wednesday, 6/22/16: Living with feelings, unsettled

It’s a beautiful day. We hiked Cerro Negro, about an hour drive followed by a 45-minute hike. We enjoyed running back down the side of the mountain. After leaving Cerro Negro we ate at Hollywood Pizza and then toured the cathedral in Leon. My apprehension lingers, but it was a good day.

Cathedral in Leon

Cathedral in Leon

Thursday, 6/23/16: God has given us everything. Live fully for Him.
This morning our group set off with a large group of Nicaraguans in two trucks for the village of Jiquilillo. We played with the children, painting faces, throwing frisbee, and blowing bubbles.

This happened while all the sick adults and children went to a medical clinic set up by Doctor Michael. The village is right next to the ocean, and the view is beautiful. We are freshly caught fish for lunch, and it was delicious.

 Fishing Boat in Jiquilillo

Fishing Boat in Jiquilillo

Late in the afternoon we drove back to the project where the team from Indianapolis began to pack up to leave the next day.

During the ride back, my friend Marcos and I talked about how people don’t want to give their lives completely to God. We talked about how God has given us everything, so we must live fully for God and not ourselves.

Thank you, Jesus. This conversation eased a little of my anxiety over leading a Bible study group the next week. I continue to pray that God will speak to me through His Holy Spirit.

After returning from Jiquilillo, we ate dinner and, since it was their last night, we got ice cream in Chichigalpa.

Friday, 6/24/16: We are the clay, and God is the potter.
After breakfast the staff at the Mission Center played the pinata game. It was fun to watch! Then, we set off for Masaya, where there is a restaurant and a huge market for shopping. [Editor’s note: Has anyone noticed that eating is a highlight of David’s day.]

We stopped at the potter’s house on the way from Masaya to Managua. There, a man in a village who mostly does pottery spoke about how God is the great potter. He showed us how he takes clay and molds it into a usable mound, constantly changing it during the process.

Finally, when clay is fired, if the potter was unable to remove enough impurities, the fire will ruin it. We are the clay, and God is the potter. He patiently removes each impurity, cleaning and changing us into who he wants us to be. Then, he takes us and molds us into what he wants.

The key is allowing him to do so, answering His call to come to Him, and dedicate our lives to be used and shaped through His plan, so that when we go through the fire of death we will come out with Him and not broken.

It was a beautiful picture of our condition and how God sees us. My prayer is that He will mold me according to His plan and not mine.

Later, after this amazing time, we went to Managua. We said goodbye to the group from Indianapolis and headed back to the project.

In Him,

Daniel Bridges

North Carolina State University


Meet People on Their Own Terms

I have become all things to all, to save at least some. (1 Corinthians 9:22)

Paul the Apostle, by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn c. 1657

Paul the Apostle, by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn c. 1657

Born a Jew, Saul was the Hebrew name given him by his parents, but because his father was a Roman citizen, Saul also had a Latin name, Paul.

As a strict Pharisee, going by the name Saul was appropriate for his calling during that time of his life. But following his conversion to a Jesus follower, Saul determined to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles. So, he made the small but significant change of leaving behind “Saul” to become “Paul,” a name Gentiles were accustomed to.

Adopting his Roman name was typical of Paul’s missionary style. He first put people at their ease and then approached them with his message, using a language and style they could relate to.

He changed his name, but never his message! He changed a tactic to better serve his strategy.

Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. To the Jews I became a Jew to win over Jews; to those under the law I became like one under the law — though I myself am not under the law — to win over those under the law. To those outside the law I became like one outside the law. To the weak I became weak to win over the weak. (1 Corinthians 9:20)

Take a cue from Paul as you engage in day-to-day apologetics. Meet people on their own terms in order to ready them — if not now, later — to accept His message.

All this I do for the sake of the Gospel, so that I too may have a share in it. (1 Corinthians 9:23)


Please Support Tanner Besosa as He Heads to Guatemala

And my tongue shall talk of Your righteousness, rightness, and justice, and of [my reasons for] Your praise all the day long. (Psalm 35:28)

Dear Family and Friends,

Tanner Besosa

Tanner Besosa

I’ve had an eventful few weeks in Florida. We are preparing for Boot Camp, which is our training before we take our young men and women to the mission field. We are setting up camp sites, and preparing the food we will take on the field.

But the most eventful thing that has happened is that instead of going on the planned trip to witness at the Indiana fairs, there is need of a leader to help build an orphanage in Guatemala City, Guatemala. So, I and 3 other leaders will take 29 young men and women to Guatemala to build the orphanage, as well as share the love of Christ with orphans around the city.

With this sudden change in plans I now find that I need $600 more to pay for the trip to Guatemala.

Please pray for me and that the Lord will bless the work I am about to undertake. And please pray that I will raise the money I need.

I also ask that you prayerfully consider supporting me if the Lord leads you. You can contact me at (828) 707-7017. My e-mail is Tanner@4outdoorsmen.net, and my address is 867 E Hall Rd. Merritt Island, FL 32953.

If you have any questions about the trip, or if you feel lead to encourage me please contact me. Thank you all so much for your prayers and support!

Love in Christ,

Tanner Besosa


The Genesis of Vision Nicaragua

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)

Vision Nicaragua Mission in Bethel, Nicaragua

Vision Nicaragua Mission in Bethel, Nicaragua

Lauren Parham is an employee of Vision Nicaragua and a member of the congregation of Bent Creek Baptist Church.

Some of her responsibilities with Vision Nicaragua include participating in their sponsorship program. She also coordinates their youth ministry, including discipleship, bible studies, and youth retreats, as well as serving as a resource for students serving with the Vision Nicaragua teams.

Lauren Parham

Lauren Parham

During a worship service in 2015, Ms. Parham described the events leading to the development of Vision Nicaragua.

Here, in less than 4 minutes, is the inspiring story of the the genesis of Vision Nicaragua.

 

 

We are proud of the role that members of the BCBC congregation play in meeting the spiritual and social needs of the residents of Bethel, Nicaragua and surrounding villages.

Please pray for the continued spiritual wellspring and the physical health of our missionaries.

Norm & Val Mydske

Norm & Val Mydske

Telica Volcano, Nicaragua

Telica Volcano, Nicaragua

 

 


Tanner Besosa: Commitment to Christ

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest. (Matthew 9:37-8)

Teen Missions International

Teen Missions International

Teen Missions was founded in 1970 in the belief that as young people experience the mission field, God will call many of them to a life dedicated to world evangelism.

Since then over 40,000 teens and adults from the U.S. and Canada have experienced missions firsthand. With more than 100 established missions in over 60 countries, they have experienced God’s grace in difficult and often demanding circumstances.

Tanner Besosa

Tanner Besosa

We at BCBC feel blessed that Tanner Besosa is experiencing that calling.

Tanner successfully completed his first semester at the Teen Mission’s Bible, Missionary, & Work Training (BMW) Center program. He’s now busy with six new classes, including Homiletics (art of preaching or writing sermons), The Pursuit of Holiness, Missions Life II, The Study of Romans, The Study of the Gospels, and The Study of the Books of Poetry.

Here, Tanner shares a story from one of Teen Mission’s bases in Africa, where they have MSSM (Motorcycle Sunday School Missions).

Missionaries drive to different Sunday Schools to teach children about the love of Jesus Christ. One day, their bike broke down on the road. They checked it several times but couldn’t locate the problem.

Looking for help, they pushed the bike to a village they had never visited. It turns out that the villagers had watched them drive by day after day and were eager to learn what these strange bikers were doing.

The missionaries told their story and shared the gospel with the villagers. At that, the whole village accepted Christ as Lord!

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, (John 1:12)

Then as the missionaries were leaving, they tried one more time to start the engine. Miraculously, it turned over without problem, and off they went.

This is just one of the many things God is doing through Teen Missions. I thank you all for your love and prayers, you are all in my thoughts; and I pray that the Lord will bless you.

Love in Christ,

Tanner Besosa

Editor’s note: Tanner is one of many young people at Bent Creek Baptist Church making a strong personal commitment to Christ and living it as a missionary.

The cost to learn and the cost to travel, spreading Christ’s message, are constant challenges. If you would like to support Tanner, please contact him at 828-707-7017 or at tanner@4outdoorsmen.net.

Or, you can call the BCBC office for more information about supporting any other members of our congregation who participate in missionary work. Thank you.


Missions Report: Nick Davis in Mexico

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers few. “Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38)

Hi Everyone!

Nick Davis

Nick Davis

It’s been really active out here in Mexico for the past couple of weeks. We’ve heard a lot of lectures from a couple different speakers. We’ve also done a lot of songwriting and production and other music-related activities that probably bore a lot of people to death. We do an open mic night every Thursday, though. I post a lot of the songs I play on YouTube, so I’ll share some of them with you guys when I get the chance.

We’ve participated in that after school program I talked about in my last update a couple times. It’s called Circulo Andante. It’s been a great having fun with about 20 to 25 kids from a small village outside of Ensenada, as we’ve been teaching them  music, telling  bible stories, and a lot of other fun stuff. They really enjoy it and that’s enough for me.

Camping in the Mexican wilderness.

Camping in the Mexican wilderness.

I know where I’m going on my outreach. For those of you who don’t know, the Outreach phase is the last two months of a Discipleship Training School (DTS). You get to go out to another part of the world and use what you’ve learned during the Lecture phase (The phase I’m in now and the first three months of a DTS) to spread the gospel and help the community any way you can.

Classmates

Classmates

I will go to Queretaro, Mexico, and to Panama for my Outreach. I don’t have a lot of details about what my Outreach team in either place, because my Outreach Team is still praying and working out the details on what we want to focus on. However, we will work out a lot of stuff out  and possibly make some videos or something to introduce you guys to my whole team and detail what exactly it is we’ll be doing. No matter what it is I have faith God will work through us to help out the areas we’ll be visiting.

Performing at an open mic session.

Performing at an open mic session.

I want to thank everyone who supported me in getting here, again. The amount I’ve grown and learned since I’ve been here has been nuts, and I’m not even halfway there yet. I couldn’t be more grateful for the support I’ve gotten and the support I still get from everyone. I can’t wait to share with you guys what else God does with my life through the rest of this DTS.

Thank you all so much.

Nick

This is the second report by Nick from Mexico. His first post can be read here.


“God’s Tribesman” Met the Lord Last Week

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. (Psalm 116:15)

Christian evangelist Rochunga Pudaite, holds the Hmar Bible.

Christian evangelist Rochunga Pudaite, holds the Hmar Bible.

Christian evangelist Rochunga Pudaite, the founded of Bibles for the World, died last week at a hospital in Colorado. He spent almost all of his 87 years working to spread the word of the Bible in native languages.

“Because of his efforts, millions of people around the world have been introduced to the message of the Bible, and they understand what it means to be true followers of Christ,” noted Jeff McLinden, vice president of Bibles for the World. “His life story and ministry work demonstrate how much one Christian can do when directed by the Lord.”

Rochunga Pudaite was born in 1927 in Senvon, Manipur, India. But his story really began almost two decades earlier, in 1910, when his father became a Christian and dreamed that one day someone would translate the Bible into the Hmar language. Little did he know that his son would fulfill his father’s dream. But his Father knew that this faithful boy would accomplish so much more!

Reverend Pudaite and wife Mawii.

Reverend Pudaite and wife Mawii.

Reverend Pudaite was the first child in his village to attend school. Then, with the help of Dr. Billy Graham and Dr. Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision, he attended Wheaton College, in Illinois. Following his postgraduate studies in Biblical Theology, Dr. Pudaite translated the Bible into his native Hmar language. Later, he and his wife, Lalrimawi (Mawii) Pakhuongte, established Christian schools that helped the largely illiterate Hmar people. Today, that first school has grown to include 85 village schools, seven high schools, two junior colleges and a Christian college and seminary.

They also began a child and student sponsorship program that has impacted tens of thousands of lives in India. In addition, more than 350 churches are now a part of the Evangelical Free Church of India, the indigenous denomination they founded. And there’s more, Dr. Pudaite founded a hospital and research center in Manipur to provide the region’s poor with medical care and assistance.

Dr Pudaite is survived by his wife and three children.

God’s speed.

Dr. Pudaite’s biography is told in James Hefley’s book God’s Tribesman: the Rochunga Pudaite Story (Holman, 1977).

*Bent Creek Baptist Church is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. By clicking the book cover shown above your purchase of this book on Amazon will earn BCBC a fee from Amazon.com. Thank you for your support.


Nick Davis Writes From His Mission to Mexico

Hi Everybody!

The beach taken from the roof of the school.

The beach taken from the roof of the school.

Sorry it’s taken so long to send any info out on how I’ve been doing. No need to worry. There’s just been a lot to take in and, while you’ve all been in my thoughts and prayers all the time, I’ve had very little time to think about writing since I arrived. But now that I’ve settled in I should be writing fairly regularly (Once every week or so, probably).

Nick Davis

Nick Davis

It’s amazing here! Absolutely stunning! To get to the beach I literally have to walk outside and cross the street. So I’m there pretty much whenever I get a chance. I’m in a tourist town so if you were worried about me getting kidnapped by a Mexican gang or something…don’t be. At least not for the time being. It’s a beach town so it’s very chill. More crime than most American beach towns but relatively low crime for a Mexican city in general.

All the students are great and really talented musicians. We have a little over 35 students spanning 9 different nations (11 different nations if you include staff). We’ve been doing a lot of songwriting just in the last 2 weeks. There’s one in particular I wrote that I’ll preform for a crowd in the next couple days. I’ll definitely upload a video and send it. It’s a very creative atmosphere here.

Class photo (minus the kids). They’re just there because they felt like it, I guess.

Class photo (minus the kids). They’re just there because they felt like it, I guess.

We’ve started a local outreach too. Recently, we went to one of the more rough spots in town in the evening and handed out soup to the homeless. We wanted to feed them and hopefully have an opportunity to start a conversation about the reason we’re trying to help (that being Jesus, of course) just to build relationships and maybe show people it’s possible for Christians to do street ministry without shoving a tract in their face.

I’m also in a small group that’s going to help with an after school program for children starting sometime this week. We’ll be teaching them to play songs. We will play games with them and such. It should be a good time for the kids.

I can’t thank all of you enough who have supported me in whatever ways you could to send me here. It’s amazing and I can’t wait to see what else God has in store while I’m in Mexico and wherever I go on my outreach (I’m not sure yet but it’s either Panama, Uganda, or Haiti. I’ll give you more info on that when I know).

 

God bless.

Nick

I may or may not have jumped off a cliff...

I may or may not have jumped off a cliff…


Daniel Bridges, Nepal: 2015

Our group on the airplane

Our group on the airplane

First off fam, thank you for supporting my mission this summer. Here is my post, most of which I wrote while in Nepal with City Project.

7/5/15, Sunday

Ti-se Guest House (tee-say)

Ti-se Guest House (tee-say)

We arrived in Nepal around 4 pm and went to the Ti-se guesthouse around 5. It was a smooth day of travel. I praise God for our luggage being protected. We ate dinner at Garden Kitchen restaurant located near our guesthouse. The food was delicious.

 7/6/15, Monday

A stupa near our guest house

A stupa near our guest house.

We met in the Parker’s house for a brief orientation. It was useful, fun, and encouraging. The Parker family is awesome. After orientation we ate lunch followed by a scavenger hunt around the Boudhanath stupa. A stupa is a large shrine. Buddhists walk around it, clockwise, spinning prayer wheels to attain karma. But it is a sad place. There’s obvious lostness and idol worship.

We got our tea as it began to downpour and walked through rivers of streets on our way back home. Later, we went out with the Parkers (our host family in Nepal), the Woodsons (Americans who know the Parkers). It was a good night.

7/7-8/15, Tuesday and Wednesday

Each morning we visited an English-language school to converse with the students and help them practice. Then, we explored the stupa and shared our religion with people we met.

At the children's home

At the children’s home

Later, we met back at the Ti-se and went to a children’s home where we shared and acted it out the story of Noah. The kids 6 to 9 years old and so cute. They painted their favorite animals and sang a song for us. We felt like we should also sing. So, we “butchered” amazing grace for them. It was a good and encouraging time. The day ended with dinner at the Parkers’ home.

7/9/15, Thursday

View from the mountain stupa

View from the mountain stupa

Today, instead of sharing our religion as we walking about, we took two taxicabs to a stupa on a hill — about 30-minutes from Ti-se. Total cost was about $5.00 per taxi.

It was another sad place amid beautiful scenery. We returned to the Ti-se and then to the children’s home.

7/10/15, Friday

I felt sick in the morning, so I couldn’t go to the English school. After taking medicine, I joined the group at the children’s home. We gave them a lot of fun stuff, and they gave us Christian thank you scarves. We ate Mexican food at the Parker’s followed by a great time of worship, with Heather playing the guitar, Woody on mandolin, and Katelyn strumming a ukulele.

7/11/15, Saturday

Shopping in Thamel

Shopping in Thamel

We shopped in Thamel and got a lot of great stuff. This place has shop after shop of rain jackets, backpacks, swords, and more — lots of knock-off-brands. We ate at Fire and Ice Pizza, and it was great! It was like the Mellow Mushroom of Nepal, except there’s only one.

Fire and Ice

Fire and Ice

We went back to the Ti-se and packed for Sunday. We then went as a group to Kori’s and had good discussions that encouraged people for their spiritual gifts.

Sharing with Tibeten villagers

Sharing with Tibeten villagers

7/12/15, Sunday

Mountain Road to Timure

Mountain Road to Timure

We left for Timure village at 7:30 in the morning. It was about an 8-hour jeep ride, with the last 3 hours being incredibly dangerous and bumpy. I thanked God for being good and worshiped with some music to calm me down.

We arrived late afternoon and helped the village people unload trucks filled with metal to build houses.

Our camp at Timure

Our camp at Timure

We set up camp on the hard rocks, ate dinner, had a team meeting, and went to sleep later.

7/13/15, Monday

We woke up and had devotion followed by quiet time. I went down by the river with Sung-Bu (a native Christian translator), and we talked about Psalm 131.

My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. (Psalm 131:1-2)

We ate breakfast and then stopped by a woman’s house for tea and to share the gospel. Differences in language made it difficult. We returned to the Ti-se for a team meeting before dinner. We ate, played cards, and then went to sleep.

7/14/15, Tuesday

Again, the day started with devotion and quiet time. After breakfast we headed to the lady we had tea with to help move rocks from her garden for an hour. We moved rocks from a doorway of a man’s house so he could get back inside. From there we went to play volleyball and later returned to camp.

7/15/15, Wednesday

The day stared with an excursion into the mountains. It was fun but hot. We had breakfast, quiet time, and then went to see if the people from Tuesday needed help again — they did not.

We moved into an alley to dig out a house where a woman lived. Conor and I started removing the roof off a house. After we finished the alley house, we all worked together on the roof, and successfully got it all off.

Daniel with Kean and Gracey Parker

Daniel with Kean and Gracey Parker

Then, we went to the house of the lady with had tea and shared the gospel with earlier. They listened intently to God’s story as a baby sat between Kean and Gracey (the Parker’s children).

7/16/15 Thursday

We woke up, packed, had devotion, and prayed for safety. A truck took us as far as a landslide that blocked the road about 10 minutes from the village.

We started walking. Nearly there, I was helping ladies over a mound of dirt when people started yelling. I turned to see rocks falling near me. I was prepared mentally for this, because I had devised a plan for a landslide days before. That plan was to sprint in one direction. I made it safely to the trucks thinking my team was going to die! I was terrified!

We made it out relatively unhurt. We rushed into the jeeps and prayed as we listened to worship music most of the way home. We finally made it back. After showering and unpacking, we met with the group to discuss what had happened.

7/17/15, Friday

Flying to Mt. Everest

Flying to Mt. Everest

After the trauma of the previous day, it was good to go on the Everest flight with our group. It was gorgeous. Later that day we went back to Thamel. These final days were relaxing.

7/18/15, Saturday

We spent today getting ready to leave in the afternoon. We arrived at the airport at 6:30 pm for our 9 pm flight. All our flights went smoothly.

7/19-24/15, Sunday to Friday

The final days of City Project were great. We debriefed and heard about what the next year might look like for us as students. But what really stood out to me over these days was what I learned from God.

While thinking about what happened to us in the landslide, I thought, “How can those people up there be comfortable or safe and secure?”

And the Holy Spirit inwardly spoke to me and allowed me to realize this: God’s peace is our greatest comfort and his promise of salvation is our greatest security. So, it doesn’t matter where we are, we are comforted and saved by God. I also learned that the Gospel is so worth laying down yourself for, because of everything Christ has done and will do through you in living for him.

City Project was amazing. I will miss all the people I met and the places I saw. I will not forget what God showed me and I will not lose what God worked through me.

The Timure valley

The Timure valley

Thank you all for supporting me and allowing me to respond to Christ’s great commission!


Protestant Missionaries: Changing Lives, Changing History

Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2 Corinthians 3:17)

Steve Hafler (Highlands Baptist Church, Centennial, Colorado) preaching in Madagascar.

Steve Hafler (Highlands Baptist Church, Centennial, Colorado) preaching in Madagascar.

Protestant ministry is motivated by the love of God to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Protestant missionaries also understand the importance of meeting daily human needs.

There’s more. Missionary work has historically exerted a profound impact on modern Western society, shaping societal changes for the better and influencing its spread and adaptation over time. What follows is an overview of research by Robert Woodberry, at the National University of Singapore, which supports that conclusion. Prof. Woodberry defines conversionary Protestant missionaries as those who…

  1. Actively attempt to persuade others of God’s gift of Jesus
  2. Emphasize Bible reading by the masses
  3. Believe that grace/faith/choice saves people, not group membership or sacraments

His research reveals that Protestant missionaries wanted common people to read the Bible in their own language and increase their religious involvement. Therefore, as they tried to spread their faith, they stimulated mass education, mass printing, and civil society.

Education. Protestant missionaries served as a catalyst in developing mass education, voluntary organizations, and most major colonial reforms such as legal protections for nonwhites in the 19th and early 20th centuries. These innovations fostered conditions that made stable representative democracy more likely.

Baptist Mission Press (BMP) in Calcutta, India.

Baptist Mission Press (BMP) in Calcutta, India.

Printing. To most elites, printing seemed ugly. They were afraid that giving books to those “not qualified” would erode elite status and control of public discourse. Catholics printed few texts. Jews, Eastern Christians, and trade companies only printed materials for their own consumption (mostly in “foreign” languages). When Muslims, Hindus, and Theravada Buddhists engaged in printing, it was usually in response to mass printing by Protestant missionaries or people they trained.

Korean translation in Hymns of Praise, a Presbyterian mission publication, 1894

Korean translation in Hymns of Praise, a Presbyterian mission publication, 1894

Protestant missionaries printed in local languages, forcing elites to respond. For example, within 32 years of importing a press to India in 1800, three British missionaries printed more than 212,000 copies of books in 40 languages. Along with other missionaries they created the fonts and paper that dominated South Asian printing for much of the 19th century.

Societies that excluded protestant missionaries started mass printing later, with slower expansion. In fact, the historic prevalence of Protestant missionaries predicted the variation in per capita newspaper circulation in different countries throughout the 20th century!

Stanley Pool (now Malebo Pool) is at the beginning of the navigable Congo River.

Stanley Pool (now Malebo Pool) is at the beginning of the navigable Congo River.

Civil society. Social scientists tend to ignore religion, but Prof. Woodberry states that historical and statistical evidence accounts for about half of the variation in democracy among countries in Latin America, Oceania, Africa, and Asia; and removes the impact of most variables that dominate current statistical research about democracy.

Among European-settler colonies, “Protestant-based” United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand have been more democratic than “Catholic-based” Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Costa Rica. This, despite the fact that these countries share similar precolonial conditions (eg, temperate climate, communal land holding, small indigenous populations). When Protestant missionary work is included, it over-rides theories based on climate or pre-Protestant class conditions.

Christianization of Poland on April 14, 966″ by Jan Matejko

Christianization of Poland on April 14, 966″ by Jan Matejko

Following the fall of communism, Eastern European Protestant (and Catholic) countries (Poland, Hungary, East Germany, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic) had earlier, more stable democratic transitions than Orthodox Christian and Muslims ones (Albania, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia). Similarly, Protestant and Catholic former Soviet republics (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia) had earlier, more stable transitions compared to Orthodox and Muslim ones.

All of these countries shared similar pre-transition institutions and entered a similar international environment. All had large secular populations and comparable exposure to Marxist and Enlightenment ideas via monopolistic state education. It is religious differences that predicted who mobilized against communism and how smoothly states made the transition to democracy.

Moreover, the view of religion by leaders of Enlightenment-linked revolutions influenced subsequent events. Protestant English and Scottish Enlightenment, for example, were not anti-Christian; and where they spread, democracy flourished. The French Enlightenment (more Catholic by comparison), was virulently anti-Christian; and where it spread, stable democracy suffered through violence and totalitarianism.

Even in 19th-century Great Britain, suffrage and electoral system reforms were related directly to pressure from Evangelical Anglicans and Nonconformists — including nonstate Catholics. Similarly, in Sweden, Norway, and Netherlands, competition between religious groups with Evangelicals, Nonconformists, and Enlightenment elites spurred suffrage to the lower classes and facilitated democratic consolidation despite opposition by conservative defenders of the state church.

A century ago Max Weber, a German sociologist, philosopher, and political economist, argued that, “Protestantism helped spur the rise of capitalism.” Prof. Woodberry concludes, “Religious beliefs and institutions matter. What we consider modernity was not the inevitable result of economic development, urbanization, industrialization, secularization, or the Enlightenment.” Activist Protestant missionaries profoundly shaped the process of development.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, (Ephesians 3:22)

The ground shaking implication of all this is that the way to achieve the greatest social and cultural transformation is not to focus on social and cultural transformation. Rather, we should attend to the “conversion” of individuals to faith in Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life.

Professor Robert Woodberry

Professor Robert Woodberry

To learn more, listen here to Prof. Woodberry being interviewed about his work. Start at about 26:45 minutes.

 

Editor’s note: It took several years to publish this research. Skeptical reviewers asked Prof. Woodberry to include a wide array of variables in his analysis. Prof. Woodberry even had to provide the assistant editor of the journal (American Political Science Review) with his dataset, the code used to estimate statistical models, printouts of all the models in the article, tables from unpublished articles cited in the text, as well as the results from five custom-made case studies that don’t even appear in the article. After all this the results did not change and the journal published his research findings.


Chase Massey: Why Not Me?

Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done. (Proverbs 19:17)

Chase Massey

Chase Massey

The BCBC Sunday School has initiated a mission outreach program at the Western North Carolina Rescue Mission.* Our students head to the mission once or twice each month. They serve food, wash dishes, and clean tables. They speak with the residents. Chase Massey is one of about six or seven in his class participating in the program.

Chase shares his thoughts about a conversation he had with one of the residents.

“This guy got in with the wrong crowd when he was young. He got caught up in it for a long time.” Finally, he grew tired of his life as he was living it and “started acting right”. Yes, “it’s a good thing,” Chase told the man, “but it will probably be tough. You just have to stay strong and stick with it.” Good advice.

After Chase left the mission he reflected on the day. “It’s kind of a strange feeling,” he says. “I feel better, but at the same time I feel weird.” He concludes, “I’m thankful that my life is more together,” while at the same time “I feel bad”. “Somewhere along the line somebody fed that man bad information.” “One wrong choice led him down hill.”

Many of the most important moments in life occur when we’re young. These lessons form our character and define us. The man Chase met is learning from his past to shape his future. Chase will use this interaction to shape his future as well.

What about the rest of us?

Evangelizing the unreached is not without its costs. Missionaries need and deserve the best care before, during, and after their mission to keep them resilient and effective.

Kenneth Williams, writing in Missionary Care: Counting the Cost for World Evangelization, tells us that the Apostle Paul is an excellent model of one who needed others to care for him. In his letters, Paul mentions at least 75 friends and colleagues who played a significant role in his life and ministry — many of whom ministered to him.

Except for Luke, there’s no evidence that any of them were “professional” caregivers. Aristarchus, Mark, and Justus comforted Paul (Colossians 4:10-11). Onesiphorus refreshed Paul and wasn’t ashamed to be with him in prison (2 Timothy 1:16). Phoebe was a patron (Romans 16:1-2), while Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus lifted his spirits (1 Corinthians 16:17).

Like Paul, Chase and his colleagues need ongoing support from their church family. Our work doesn’t end after providing financial gifts and encouragement before they leave to do God’s work. Upon returning home, the biblical model for caring includes help in bearing their burdens (Galatians 6:2), encouraging and building  them up (1 Thessalonians 5:11), and restoring those in doubt (Galatians 6:1).

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2).

Young missionaries are vulnerable to the problems of people they meet in the field. So, it’s not surprising that when they reflect and compare their station in life they ask, “Why not me?” We must be ready to do our part in supporting our young evangelists. It starts by asking about their experience and listening (James 1:19) as they share what’s in their heart.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, (James 1:19)

 

 

*Correction: In an earlier version ABCCM (Asheville Buncombe Christian Community Ministry) was listed as the location of the ministry.


Mission to Nicaragua: July 2015

Editor’s note: For anyone who has never participated in a missionary trip to Bethel, Nicaragua, what follows is must reading.

Selflessly, despite daily temperatures touching 100 degrees, our members fill each day of their mission trip. Working for Jesus, with grace and love, they meet the local and spiritual needs of the people of Bethel and surrounding villages. What follows is truly inspiring.

Thanks to Doug Van Wirt for sharing his experience and thoughts during the latest BCBC mission trip to Nicaragua.

Dear Friends and Family,

On our way.

A nuestra manera.

Our time in Nicaragua were one of the best mission trips for me. (Yes, I probably I say that every year.) Thanks to Lauren Parham (Vision Nicaragua missionary), Lyndsey Parham, and Emily Jenkins for coordinating and leading the team. They did a superb job.

We had a large team — 24 people at one point. Some joined at the Atlanta airport, while others joined in Nicaragua. I took more than 600 photographs and videos. Some are shown here. Others are on my Facebook page (restricted access, become Doug’s friend to see more).

Tuesday, June 30: Departure

Gathering at BCBC on Tuesday morning.

Gathering at BCBC on Tuesday morning.

Gathering at BCBC on Tuesday morning.

Gathering at BCBC on Tuesday morning.

Next stop, Atlanta.

Next stop, Atlanta.

Tuesday was all about traveling to Nicaragua. We met at BCBC in the morning, said our goodbyes, and then off to Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. In addition to luggage, we brought duffel bags stuffed with gift bags for children in Nicaragua — some prepared by members of our congregation.

Taking the train to the plane.

Taking the train to the plane.

While re-weighing our bags at the airport we discovered that one of the duffels weighed almost 70 pounds! It contained four 5-pound dumbbells! Ugh, those exercise-crazy girls! We re-distributed the weight, checked in, and took off on the 3½-hour flight to Nicaragua.

It's great to be back.

Es genial estar de vuelta.

A dozen of our Nicaraguan friends greeted us. They drove the bus all the way to Managua to pick us up. We arrived in Bethel at 11:30 pm, after three more hours traveling along the western coast to the Chinandega area. Everyone went right to sleep at the Vision Nicaragua Mission Center. (The locals call it “Casa Misionera” [Missionary House].) The accommodations are basic, but fine for us — bunk beds (with fans), flush toilets, and cool showers.

Wednesday, July 1: Team preparation and gift bags

The Mission Center.

The Mission Center.

I’m pleased to report that our friends are doing a fine job maintaining the Mission Center. Vision Nicaragua is amazed that God is using this facility far beyond our initial plan as a home base for our team. Other mission organizations and local churches are using the space as well. In fact, we had to be careful with scheduling, as the facility is in use more than not.

On our first day, members of our team re-packed the gift bags, adding age and gender information for the two upcoming gift bag distributions. This was also a time of orientation for first-timers on our team.

Carlos, our interpreter; his mother, Antoniak; me; and Antonia’s s sister Estella. I never felt taller!

Carlos, our interpreter; his mother, Antoniak; me; and Antonia’s s sister Estella. I never felt taller!

Sisters Antonia and Estella serve as Vision Nicaragua cooks at the Mission Center. They do a great job planning the meals, buying groceries at the open-air market, and, of course, cooking for us. The cuisine combines local Nicaraguan and American fare. It’s rare that anyone dislikes the food or loses weight in Nicaragua!

Thursday, July 2: Team building and Leadership Conference for the residents and staff

Lyndsey Parham led in team building.

Lyndsey Parham led in team building.

Lyndsey Parham led us in team building. Everyone, including the local Vision Nicaragua staff (cooks, guards, director, maintenance person, cleaning ladies, gardener, doctor’s assistant, interpreter) and our mission team participated. Over the next two days we learned to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our team, taking on the full armor of God.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:13-17)

Put on the full armor of God.

Put on the full armor of God.

Pastor Sam with Carlos, our interpreter. A leader must pray for wisdom and favor.

Pastor Sam with Carlos, our interpreter. A leader must pray for wisdom and favor.

Our mission team, local staff, and current and future leaders of Bethel.

Our mission team, local staff, and current and future leaders of Bethel.

The Leadership Conference began after lunch. The Vision Nicaragua board requested this activity for the local staff. So, Pastor Sam, Paul Jenkins, and I led the conference, which was expanded to include our mission team, the local staff, and current and future leaders in Bethel — about 50 people. Topics included “Humility/Pride”, “General Leadership”, “Creating and Leading Your Team”, “Logistics and Tactics”, “Planning in Advance”, “Relating to Your Team, Family Leadership”, and “Integrity”.

Later, participants shared dinner (delicious Nicaraguan-styled Spanish rice) followed by an after-dinner session. Our local director Mario and maintenance man Juan Carlos drove the attendees home in two caged-bed trucks. Most of the residents have few transportation options, some have bicycles, a few have motorcycles, but none own an automobile.

Friday, July 3: Leadership Conference (2nd half-day) / Family night

The second day of the Leadership Conference included a small group exercise to practice team leadership. This included taking input from all the team members regarding development of a logo for the local port city of Corinto. The Leadership Conference was well received. I pray that it provides new skills and inspires many to take leadership roles as God opens opportunities.

Dinner at the mall.

Dinner at the mall.

Dinner at the mall.

Dinner at the mall.

That evening the mission team ate at the nice air-conditioned local “mall” in Chinandega. What a relief! Temperatures during the day flirt with 100 degrees. On one day the heat index exceeded 110. After about 5 days, I adjusted to the heat, but still needed a fan to sleep. Just about everyone had a pedestal mounted oscillating fan for their beds.

Saturday, July 4: Basketball outreach at Quazelquaque / July 4th party with Nicaraguan youth sleepover.

Bring 'em on.

Bring ’em on.

The day started with a pre-arranged basketball game with the locals at a covered basketball court in a nice little town named Quazelquaque (pronounced kwa-zel-káh-kay) about 45 minutes away. The referees were late, arriving just before the second half. No problem. We won in overtime. Then, Pastor Antonio, the local pastor-in-residence for Vision Nicaragua, shared the gospel with both teams and fans.

Pastor Sam grills, while Paul and the puppy help out.

Pastor Sam grills, while Paul and the puppy help out.

Many local youth came to the Mission Center for a July 4th party. Pastor Sam grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. Delicious!

Paul Jenkins starts a new Nicaraguan national pastime.

Paul Jenkins starts a new Nicaraguan national pastime.

Hmm Hmm Good!

Hmm Hmm Good!

Paul constructed a cornhole game, with beanbags made from cotton athletic socks.

He may have discovered the new national pastime for Nicaragua! There was almost always a cornhole game in progress, especially among the Nicaraguans. Luis, one of our guards, was blessed with exceptional accuracy.

Calling a square dance with help from Lauren as interpreter.

Calling a square dance with help from Lauren as interpreter.

“Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends." CS Lewis

“Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends.” CS Lewis

After dinner, I taught and called a square dance, with the wonderful help of Lauren who served as interpreter.

Swing your partner.

El swing de su pareja.

Picture this. Nicaraguans with Americans, calling dance moves in English then Spanish with no PA system, and “Virginia Reel” and “Bumblebee in a Jug” playing through an iPhone.

"If you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.” - Muhammad Ali

“If you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.” – Muhammad Ali

No problem. We danced Allemande Left, Right and Left Grand, Promenade, Pass Thru and California Twirl, and making right and left turning stars in the center. Now, everyone to the center, with a great big yell! Everyone had a good time.

Afterwards, we sang the Star Spangled Banner, shot Nicaraguan-made fireworks, and burned sparklers. Several of the young people spent the night with us at the Mission Center. There was plenty of room in the men’s dorm. The girls probably had to double-up.

Sunday, July 5: Sunday Worship at Dr. Michael’s church / Evening worship at Pastor David’s church, Campo Bethel.

Dr. Michael speaks at the church in Chinandega.

Dr. Michael speaks at the church in Chinandega.

Sunday was an awesome day of worship. We went to Dr. Michael’s small masonry church in Chinandega — about a 20-minute drive. The room was full, and we were impressed that the members memorized scripture verses.

The children recite Bible verses.

The children recite Bible verses.

Everyone shared their verse, and our mission team sang songs. Then the children were dismissed to children’s’ church, which was taught by several members of our team.

Pastor Sam spoke on John 5, the man at the pool in Bethsaida, where Jesus asked, “Do you want to get well?”

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. (John 5:7-9)

Pastor Sam explained that this man’s mat was like a security blanket. We all have our security blankets that we rely on rather than depending on God.

When the children returned from their lesson they showed us hand-prints of prayer, which they use to help them remember to pray for others.

“Our God is Greater”

“Our God is Greater”

They sang the same song we used at our church VBS Marketplace Adventure — “Our God is Greater” — using the same choreography, except with Spanish lyrics. (The video is on my Facebook page.) It was really great!

"Beautiful eyes are those that show the beautiful thoughts that burn below." - Ellen Allerton

“Beautiful eyes are those that show the beautiful thoughts that burn below.” – Ellen Allerton

Clearly, the small masonry church in Chinandega is healthy. Vision Nicaragua’s Dr. Michael became pastor about a year ago. He loves people and the Lord. How many bi-vocational pastors do you know are physicians?

That evening, we went to pastor David Gutierrez’s Campo Bethel church in the back area of Chichigalpa, about 15 minutes in the opposite direction. Campo Bethel is a poor section of the city, near the cemetery. You may remember that David used to run the block company for Vision Nicaragua. He has been pastor of this small church for about 5 years.

 

Campo Bethel Church

Campo Bethel Church

Campo Bethel Church is indeed defined by its people not the building, which has a tin roof, no walls, dirt floor, and plastic stacking lawn chairs. The people who attend this church are joyful to glorify God.

Campo Bethel Church

Campo Bethel Church

They collected an offering before Pastor Sam’s sermon. We were humbled when they discreetly gave the entire offering to us for our use as missionaries!!!! Wow! These poor people gave an offering to us. Of course, we accepted it with thanks for their blessing. The offering included dollars and córdobas totaling about $85 — about 2 weeks wages for them.

Monday, July 6: Homeless outreach / Youth bonfire with s’mores

Serving the homeless in Bethel.

Serving the homeless in Bethel.

Pastor Antonio, who works for Vision Nicaragua, maintains a ministry to the homeless. He and Mario drove two truckloads of homeless men to our Mission Center — 54 in all. We gave them haircuts and a meal, and Pastor Sam spoke to the group.

Twenty-nine men came forward and made a decision for Christ.

Twenty-nine men came forward and made a decision for Christ.

As always, Carlos Salazar showed that he is a fantastic interpreter. He has the ability to translate American idioms into Spanish. He also listens while speaking. It’s amazing!

After Pastor Sam spoke, Pastor Antonio invited the men to give their lives to Christ. Twenty-nine men came forward and made a decision for Christ. We are amazed at what God accomplishes!

Not all events went as we hoped. That evening, we attempted to broaden our outreach to new youth in the village of Bethel. We invited some of the lesser-involved youth from Bethel to the Mission Center for a bonfire and s’mores. Unfortunately, during dinner, a team cell phone that was left out in the open disappeared. Nobody owned up to it. So, we sent them home in the truck. Some of the local Nicaraguan youth who were leaders were shocked and saddened that someone would do this. Unfortunately, all the youth that night felt the consequences for the actions of one. We never did find the phone.

Pastor Sam tallied the score at the end of the day: 1 cell phone gone vs. 29 new believers in Jesus. It provided perspective on the war we are in, and that we are on the winning side — God’s side.

Tuesday, July 7: Pastor David’s church, kids activity and gifts / Taco party in Bethel

John 16:24 says, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name.

John 16:24 says, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name.

John 14:13 says, “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.”

John 14:13 says, “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.”

This morning we went back to Pastor David’s Campo Bethel church. We loaded the children’s gifts and supplies and arrived to find a lot of kids. We spread a nylon “parachute” on the ground, and Lauren read a Bible story. Then, Ashley Jenkins presented a prayer craft using their hands to remember prayer requests. The kids rubbed paint between their hands, pressed it onto a piece of paper, and then wrote prayer requests on each printed finger.

Gift bags for everyone announced by Massiel.

Gift bags for everyone announced by Massiel.

Gift bags for everyone.

Gift bags for everyone.

Afterwards, we gave out the gift bags, which many of you made. A local youth leader, Massiel, called each child forward. You may remember that Massiel was baptized in the surf last year. She is growing in her faith and skill. With the help of her Vision Nicaragua sponsor, she is studying nursing, as are several others in the community.

Ciamara made Nicaraguan tacos for us.

Ciamara made Nicaraguan tacos for us.

Unknown-3Pastor Sam and Paul with chocolate-covered bananas

Pastor Sam and Paul with chocolate-covered bananas

In the evening, we went to Massiel’s house in Bethel. Her mother, Ciamara, made Nicaraguan tacos for us. They were delicious. We walked down the dirt street in the dark to a family that sells chocolate covered frozen bananas. Talk about yummy! More than half of our team spent the night in Bethel in gender-respective trusted homes. They were back in the morning at the Mission Center for breakfast.

Wednesday, July 8: Kids activity and gift distribution at remote Chonco church. / Dust storm

Chonco church

Chonco church

Ashley leads the discussion about prayer.

Ashley leads the discussion about prayer.

We started the day going to Chonco, a poor community on the other side of the volcano. It’s an hour truck ride. In a tin roof with a dirt floor church, the pastor was grateful for our ministry to the kids. I was so proud of Ashley as she led the discussion about prayer and the craft activity without assistance from our interpreter.

Ashley leads the discussion about prayer.

Ashley leads the discussion about prayer.

We planned to go to the beach that afternoon, but an ominous storm front approached. The unusual thing about it was the brown area below the clouds. It was a dust storm. It lasted only 10 minutes, but was followed by dirty rain. Ewww! We headed back and shared our picnic dinner at the Mission Center. There was good fellowship with our Nicaraguan friends, and of course, more cornhole!

This was our last night at the Mission Center.

Thursday, July 9: Shopping in Masaya / Potter’s House

We packed, boarded a bus, and headed to Masaya on the other side of Managua — a 4-hour trip. Masaya has a nice market of local crafts. We shopped for a while. I bought a belt, and a colorful purse and table runner for Sharon. We ate lunch, and then on to the Potter’s House — an artisan community outside Managua.

The potter's wheel.

The potter’s wheel

The Potter’s House experience began as we walked a dirt path to an open roofed-covered structure containing about 25 wooden folding chairs that face a brick kiln and stable. The potter welcomed us and described how a pot is made, starting from digging the clay, cleaning it by hand, getting the moisture right, forming it on the wheel, then drying, polishing, glazing, painting, and eventually firing it in the kiln.

The potter drew parallels between pottery and the Christian life — how God creates, cleans, forms, and uses us after we go through the fire. We bought some pottery from his showroom, got back on the bus, and rode another hour to the Best Western hotel across the highway from the Managua airport. We ate dinner in the restaurant, and swam in a little in the pool. I got to bed as soon as I could, because we had a 7:30 am flight.

Friday, July 10: Travel back to USA

Ready to go home.

Ready to go home.

We met in the lobby at 5:30 am and got our luggage. Then, we embarked on the most dangerous part of the entire mission trip — crossing the 6-lane highway with luggage in tow. Yes, in Managua, as in life, timing is everything!

Hasta la vista, Nicaragua.

Hasta la vista, Nicaragua.

It was a great trip, and I thank God for everyone who prayed and gave money to support us. We are grateful to see God use us as a team in the lives of others. We are thankful that our Lord works in us as well. We are amazed at what God does, and we look forward to returning to Nicaragua!

Sincerely,

Douglas P. Van Wirt

 

 

 


Tanner Besosa, Haiti Mission: 2015

July 7, 2015, Tuesday

Dear Church Family,

Tanner Besosa

I am so blessed to have your prayers. I need them!

Three leaders and I are taking 27 kids to Haiti for our mission trip. I have 10 boys and 17 girls to look after.

I am so happy they are here and that I get to work with them and see God working in their lives.

For the past three weeks I have been in Florida in training: one week of leadership training and two weeks with the kids in Boot Camp training, learning skills we will use in the field.

We leave for Haiti this Tuesday (June 14th) and will return to Florida on August 8th. Please continue to pray for my team as we travel and minister in Haiti.

God bless,

Tanner


Our Prayer for Our Missionaries

Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2)

Nicaragua, 2015

Many members of our congregation are serving as missionaries in far off places like Haiti, Nicaragua, Nepal, and yes, even Buncombe County. In addition, BCBC supports missions in France and New Zealand.

What should we pray for them?

David Peach, who has been in full time missions work with the deaf since 1994, tells us missionaries face the same problems that we at home face, it’s just that when “a missionary is on a foreign field or working with a different culture, those frustrations are magnified several times.” As an example, think back to the issues faced by Daniel Bridge when he was in New York City.

As we pray for their success and their safety, here are several things to remember. Pray that our missionaries will…

  1. Live right and respect God.
  2. Desire to study and learn from God’s word.
  3. Communicate Bible messages clearly.
  4. Give testimony that influences how people perceive the Bible.
  5. Have the respect and emotional support of loved ones.
  6. Have their physical and emotional needs met in this strange place.
  7. Be shielded from those who might seek to harm them spiritually and physically.
  8. Collaborate with other missionaries and the people they are called to serve.
  9. Perform their task for God, even as political changes may occur.

 

Daniel Bridges, Times Square, 2015

Remember, “God is the one who grants the harvest,” says Reverend Peach. Some fields yield a great harvest of souls. Others are barren but in need of the Gospel.”

 

Finally, pray that missionaries will be effective messengers for God.

 

 


Empowered by the Holy Spirit, Transformed by God’s Grace

This past year the members of Bent Creek Baptist Church came together to clearly define who we are and what we believe as group of Christians living in the world today.

If you’re searching for a church home in western North Carolina, we invite you to read our vision and values. If you find they mirror your beliefs about what you want in your spiritual life, please accept this invitation to join us on Sunday at 11 am when you will learn more, first hand.

Start your journey with Bent Creek Baptist Church here to learn about our vision and values, and here for a personal letter to you from our Senior Pastor, Tommy Bridges.

Thank you.


BCBC Nicaragua Mission: Summer 2015 #2

Pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2)

Team building exercises with the local Vision Nicaragua staff.

Is it just me, or does it look like the start of a sack race?

Team building in Nicaragua

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s Sam looking over his notes before speaking to the group.

Pastor Sam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more about the mission here.

Thanks to Doug for sending the photos.


Daniel Bridges, GoNow Initiative: 2015

Daniel Bridges, GoNow Initiative: 2015

Daniel Bridges

5/26/15, Tuesday
After a smooth drive with a few stops from Asheville to Durham, I opened my door and was immediately reminded of the weather that was to be expected for the duration of my trip. That being hot, humid, and just generally nasty.

Move in went well and I met my suite mates, two of whom go to NC State and the other three UNC.

Later that night the City Project crew ate ice cream and played games so people would be able to get to know each other.

5/27/15, Wednesday
Today started with an early morning run. The weather was surprisingly hot.

Then, we all met at the nearby church to have breakfast and have many sessions. It was refreshing to start with what was most important, worship and the gospel.

The GoNow team made it clear that the main reason we are here is to be a people whose roots are the gospel. Everything we do should branch out from that.

After being at the church from 9AM to 2PM we gathered in a community field to play a crazy relay game that involved a lot of shaving cream and too much activity for the 90 degree weather.

All in all it was a good morning and afternoon; and now during my afternoon break I will lay by the pool until we rendezvous back at church in a couple hours.

Our apartment building

5/28/15 Thursday
Thursday was my birthday and it was a long day! Everyone sang to me in the morning because Tina told everyone there that it was my birthday, and she knows I don’t like being sung to.

We were at the church from 8 am to 4 pm learning things about New York, evangelism, our international trips, and reading the Bible.

Late night games

After some free time in the afternoon we met back at church for late night activity, which consisted of creating a skit with assigned groups and performing to be judged by a panel of “celebrities.” People were surprisingly creative and it was a fun time!

5/29/15 Friday
Friday we went to Duke Gardens to reflect and be with God from 8:30 am – 1 pm. It was beautiful. I spent a lot of time praying and reflecting on what God was teaching me. I love the verse in Psalm 27 that says:

One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.

Duke Gardens

I prayed this verse that God would give me the desire to always be with Him and to look upon who he is. I honestly wasn’t feeling very connected in the gardens, and I didn’t really feel like I was getting too much out of my time, but this is one thing I did see.**

Mapping

Later that night we had a cookout on UNC’s campus and then had worship time and a mapping ceremony where we had all the different international groups go up and put their picture on the country where they were going. Then we prayed for each group individually. It was a good time of community, worship, and prayer (despite being on UNC’s campus http://png-5.findicons.com/files/icons/1588/farm_fresh_web/32/emotion_wink.png).

5/30/15 Saturday

Just this morning I was reading Ephesians 2:1-10. It is a great picture of the gospel. I thanked God for His son and what He has done for me, and then I was reading a book called Cross Centered Life by CJ Mahaney. It talked about the danger of relying on your subjective feeling to determine your walk with Christ. He talked about how the Word is true and isn’t subjective and we should first ask ourselves “Do I believe this?” instead of “How do I feel about this?”

This directly addressed my “feelings” yesterday and made me humble about how God’s Word is always the truth and it saves no matter what I am personally feeling. It was great to hear that because I know I am anchored to Christ’s unchanging gospel no matter my emotional state.

 

 

5/31/15 Sunday

I was very busy this week. God has shown me many things and worked in me so much. I’m not sure I can write it all down in a timely manner, but I’ll try.

It was a long bus ride.

After being in a bus from North Carolina to New York City for over 12 hours, our team was tired. When we got to NYSUM (New York School of Urban Ministry), we were debriefed and then sent out into Manhattan to look around and eat dinner.

Here we are in Times Square.

For Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday our mornings followed this structure.

  • Wake up and eat breakfast between 7 and 8 am
  • Quiet time until 9:15 am
  • We gather and walk to Woodside Community Church to receive our daily evangelism training* and worship time.
  • Then, we are with our evangelism group at our assigned locations from 12:30-9:30 pm.
  • After this we reflect as a group and go to sleep around 11 pm to midnight.

Woodside Community Church

*The ministry we worked through is called Global Gates Church. They say that because “God calls us to go to the nations, what an opportunity we have when the nations come to us.” Their vision is to sift through the nation’s most diverse cities and find “people of peace” (those whom God has been readying to hear the message or willing to start a house bible study/church). Once these people are found they have much better access to the countries they are from than we do.

Jackson Heights town square in Queens, New York, near where we evangelized.

6/1 & 6/2/15 Monday and Tuesday
On these two days we focused on asking the Holy Spirit to move through the city, and we prayer walked for hours around the locations we would evangelize on Thursday and Friday.

At first, I was downcast because in my heart I didn’t want to pray for the people, the city, and for the Lord to move for hours and hours. I didn’t fully believe that God was going to do more than we could ever ask or imagine, as in Ephesians.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, (Ephesians 3:20)

But through prayer walking, I asked God to give me a heart to pray, a heart for the people, and for the Holy Spirit to embolden us to evangelize. It was hard, but through prayer I learned much about God, and also felt the Spirit working in our midst. The two days we did this were good preparation for what was to come on Thursday and Friday.

6/3/15 Wednesday

Les Miserables on Broadway. (Photo by Gerard SIOEN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Wednesday was our free day. It started off with waking up very early, going to Times Square, and waiting on Broadway RUSH and Lottery Tickets to see Les Misérables at The Imperial Theater.

Ready to see Les Miserables on our free day!

 

We hung around after getting our tickets, and then went to the show at 2 pm. It was awesome to see what Broadway was like!

ny3

Little Italy adjacent to Chinatown

After that my group (me, Tina, and a couple of others) went into Chinatown where we were approached time after time about buying Ray-Ban sunglasses and Rolex watches! Then, we strolled through Little Italy to have dinner, and then made our way back to NYSUM.

6/4/15 Thursday
On this day we were given a survey and information sheets to fill out and use while going door to door. The survey went like this:

“Hello my name is Daniel and these are my friends. We are Christians from Global Gates Church and we are just asking several short questions to help us better serve the community.

  1. How long have you lived in this community?
  2. What language do you speak at home?
  3. What is your religion?
  4. Would you consider yourself a very religious person, and how often do you pray?
  5. Have you heard of Jesus?
  6. Who do you think He is?
  7. If we were to offer you a Bible in your own language, would you want one?
  8. And finally, we believe in the power of prayer, and we’d like to know if there is anything you want us to pray about right now?”

We faced rejection again and again, but God was faithful, and I was able to use my Spanish language skills to communicate with people who didn’t speak English.

One lady invited us in. Her name was Amanda and she was a Columbiana Christian who prayed and worshiped Jesus but didn’t own a Bible. We prayed over her in English for her spiritual life and unity with her family living in Colombia. She prayed over us in Spanish and thanked God for sending us to her door and for giving her hope too.

I felt joy and peace and so many things as she sent this prayer, because I knew that God used me personally to touch that lady’s life and remind her of his never fading presence. I learned that God rewards those who follow his commands with overwhelming joy and satisfaction. I’m so glad I was able to experience that first hand. I hope and pray that the Bible she receives will allow her to grow closer to God and even tell her family in Colombia about Jesus.

Nepali restaurant with Pema

In the Nepali restaurant with Pema.

Monday night I suggested that our group eat at a Nepali restaurant where Pema was our waitress. She was very nice. I told her I was going to Nepal. Later that night she asked me what I was going to do there, and I said mission work. She asked what that was and my group leader, Leah told her that we were all on mission. We spoke with her about what we believe and she told us what she believed.

She was Buddhist in thinking but open to talking, and she said that she would read the Bible just to read it if we provided it. We asked her when she was working again and she said she was off Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so we returned that Thursday for dinner with a Nepali pastor and a Bible.

After we sat down we asked about Pema. They said she wasn’t working that night. We were surprised and saddened because we had brought Pastor Silvanus all the way there and she wasn’t even working. We weren’t going to just leave, so we stayed and ate.

Our waitress this time was named Avi. It was her first night working, and we were very kind to her. As Pastor Silvanus shared his testimony, Avi listened intently. She told us later that she was interested because her brother had just gone through a tragedy, and he had become a Christian. He gave her an English Bible and called her every Sunday to read. She was an infant believer, and we ended up giving her the Bible in Nepali so she might understand more and get connected with Silvanus. We also gave Silvanus Pema’s information so that his wife could contact her! God works in many amazing ways, indeed! We learned that night to always trust in His plans over our own, because God’s plan is better — perfect.

6/5/15 Friday
Our last day of evangelizing was rough. We got kicked out of an apartment complex within 10 minutes, and then as we went to another down the road, we faced a lot of rejection and fear from the enemy. Satan didn’t want us there and I could tell, because I was unnecessarily afraid.

We worked our way door to door from the 6th floor down and met a man named Ronald. In the dimly lit hallway I was able to get through the survey. I explained to him what we believed and shared the gospel of how God loves him so much and wants him to know that he did everything to cover his brokenness. He openly listened but didn’t want to make a decision then and there. I pray that God will soften his heart and turn his life over to Jesus.

Later, after dealing with barking dogs and people slamming doors in our faces, we saw a man just getting in and we thought, “should we go knock if he just got home and his door is open?” We decided to go and we met the man whose name was Tom Williams, a nurse at the local hospital. As we went through the survey we found out that he used to be a Christian, but his wife was a Muslim and had made him become Islamic.

He was nice and invited us in to talk more, and we found out more about him. He and his wife were having a huge fight and she had gone to Morocco, where she is from, with their son to get away for a little while. He said the only thing holding them together was their beautiful son. My friends and I evangelized and I prayed fervently over him.

We felt the Holy Spirit putting the words to say on our minds. He was so happy for us to pray for him and said that he honestly thought that prayer was the last thing that might save his marriage. He said that he thought God sent us there, and we all said, “He did!” He commands us in Matthew to go make disciples of all people, and that’s what we were doing.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 28:19)

He said he still believed in Jesus and Christianity, just that his wife didn’t know. I encouraged him saying that God loved him and wants to help him make the marriage work. This again was just another picture of how much God wants to use us to bless others and redeem lives. I hope and pray that Tom will turn back to God and that his wife might somehow come to Christ so their marriage will last and their son will not be a part of a broken marriage.

6/6/15 Saturday
We got back to NC on Saturday at 7 pm after a very long ride. We were exhausted, but it was a good week.

Thanks for praying and the support! Love you church fam!

6/7/15 Sunday
Sunday I served at Blue Ridge, went to lunch, and spent the afternoon with Tina. It was a pretty good day!

This summer for Monday through Thursday is going to follow the similar structure. Mornings start at 9:30 am at church with a devotion. Lessons are from 10 am to noon. Then, lunch from 12-1 pm. Our internships go from 1 to 5 pm. Typically, we have something to do every night around 6:30 pm, so our days are full.

My internship involves me working with Summit Outreach team in the Benevolence Department, where they take calls from people in need and decide if and how to help them. I’m not sure what I will be doing permanently, but I’m here to serve and pray, and to have a heart that wants to serve.

6/8/15 Monday
The focus of Monday was to read the Bible better.

6/9/15 Tuesday
On Tuesday our focus was on learning what it means to truly be a disciple.

I’m so busy, it’s hard to find time to blog. I will try my best to post, when possible, what God is teaching me throughout this summer! God bless!

6/13/15 Saturday

The old quarry at Eno River State Park, Durham, NC

A couple quick notes: Blue Ridge is my Summit Church campus, which I attend on Sundays. This is where I go during the school year. The Summit Outreach team has many different parts to it. I am working with the Benevolence department, which is in responsible for taking calls and helping people need and can’t afford to pay rent or bills because of a certain crisis.

I apologize for not posting sooner this week. A couple of days have been hard, and it’s difficult to keep heart. Thanks for understanding!

It has been tough coming off of the spiritual high of NY, being back in Durham and having fully packed days. I have been getting into the Word, but haven’t really been getting much from it, and I feel like my relationship with God is on a down turn. I know it won’t last long, but still is discouraging. I finished the Cross Centered Life, and it showed me many great things about the gospel in a new way.

On Saturday, the 13th, me and many others from Summit went to Eno River State Park. It was fun getting out into nature for the first time in the Raleigh Durham area. We hiked about a mile to an old quarry, which is now a lake. There’s a nice place to jump off a 20-foot cliff and  float and swim and chill. It was a good day!

6/16/15 Tuesday
The Summit prayer pastor, Chris Gaynor spoke about prayer. It was amazing to learn from him. He spoke about how prayer should start in adoration of God and also involve confession, thanksgiving, and finally petition. Praying is not just a time to ask God to make your life better, but a time to adore Him and enjoy His presence.

Kids Week: Monday, June 22nd to Thursday, June 25th

North Raleigh campus of Summit Church

The past two weeks have been crazy. Kids week at the Summit Church vacation bible school attracts over 700 kids to 4 or 5 different campuses around Raleigh-Durham. I worked at the North Raleigh campus, and the daily drive, which should have taken 26 minutes, ended up taking 45 or 50 minutes, because of traffic.

I was the co-leader of a group of seven preschool kids who were a lot of fun. The songs they sung were all gospel-centered, and the lessons they learned were all about Jesus and his ministry. I felt so fulfilled after leaving every night, because the kids are so sweet and innocent (Sometimes!). It made me realize how God sees us as his children.

How much do our earthly parents do for us? They do, a lot. They are always there when we’re sad, and provide for us when we are unable to provide for ourselves. They teach us great things about the world around us.

I love how the Bible talks about how much our earthly fathers care about us, and how much more God cares about us — providing the Holy Spirit to those who ask. We are children of God who can’t even begin to fathom how great our daddy is, and that is amazing. So, all through kids week I was reminded that I can just sit back and adore my Father because he is awesome and so worthy to be praised and adored.

Saturday, June 27th

Now, for the down side of kids week. I came down with strep throat on Saturday morning. It was probably due to being with the children. But it was still worth it. Although being sick still wasn’t fun, God actually taught me things during this time.

In the morning when I got up with my throat hurting, feeling weak and cold, with a fever, I still got into the Word, and it was great. I prayed to God, and He put realities on my heart. My hope doesn’t depend on how I feel or on my health. My hope is in Jesus’ finished work on the cross and on the God who loves and cares for me and lives inside me through the Holy Spirit.

It was hard to get through the sickness, but God was faithful and didn’t let me “die”. (My fever got so high that my suitemates joked about it).

Monday, June 29th

Tina took me to the urgent care center near my apartment. I got a prescription for antibiotics, which helped immensely. Then, we drove home to Asheville. Tina drove the White Stallion, because I was feeling too terrible to drive. The first day home I couldn’t be near my mom. That was hard, but I knew God is with her and He will never leave or forsake her — He is all she needs.

Tuesday, June 30th

I was glad to be there for mom when she came home from surgery on Tuesday.

I am excited to leave for Nepal. Please pray for safety and peace as we travel for 25 to 30 hours to get there. Love you all, fam!

Daniel Bridges


Our Missionaries to New Zealand: Steve and Rita Williams

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. (Acts 20:28)

Steve and Rita Williams, with son Stefan and daughter April

Steve and Rita Williams were members of Bent Creek Baptist Church back in the 1990s and were sent by our church to minister overseas!

Steve and Rita have served in New Zealand for over 9 years. Before deployment to New Zealand, they served as missionaries in Germany and Austria where they established a retreat/counseling ministry and served as Mission to the World area care coordinators.

South Pacific Islands

During the first three years in New Zealand, the Williams family lived in the city of Tauranga (map) where they began their outreach. During years four, five and six they lived in the southern part of Auckland where they helped in leadership development for the local churches. For last 3 years they have lived in North Auckland and served to help plant a new church there!

In addition to church planting, the Williams trained national leaders through Grace Theological College, and Steve served to assist the local chaplaincy at a local university.

Over the years, they have reached out to neighboring islands in various ways. Most recently, their outreach included the independent republic of Vanuatu, which consists of 83 islands. In March, this country sustained great damage from a direct hit by a Category 5 hurricane. Vanuatu’s President Baldwin Lonsdale called the storm a “monster” Killing dozens and destroying or damaging 90% of the buildings in the capital.

The church plant north of Auckland has grown to the point that it now has a stable congregation and a solid leadership team. Since the church is established, the Williams have been free to plant new ministries in New Zealand. The family has moved to Christchurch on the South Island in order to help launch new ministries and new churches there!

BCBC supports the Williams’ mission. Come to the worship service this Sunday at 11 am to hear more about their exciting commission.

Dr. Williams obtained his PhD from Florida State University with concentrations in family sociology and family therapy along with a MA from Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL) in theological studies and interpersonal relations. Rita holds a BS from Liberty University (Lynchburg, VA) in psychology and Bible while also studying counseling at the graduate level. Steve and Rita Williams have  an abiding concern for the future of Christian marriage in their ministry as teachers and counselors. They have written a book on the topic, which is available by clicking the picture below.*

 

 

*Bent Creek Baptist Church is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. By clicking the book cover shown above your purchase of this book on Amazon will earn BCBC a fee from Amazon.com. Thank you for your support.


Maggie Gobran: Egypt’s Christian Angel

Open your mouth for the mute, For the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy. (Proverbs 31:8)

Maggie “Mama” Gobran with Egypt’s poorest.

Anthony first met Maggie “Mama” Gobran in Mokattam — Cairo’s main garbage dump. His Christian family came there after radical Islamists burned their home, destroying everything they owned. It was amid the crumbling dwellings and rubbish-laden carts pulled by emaciated donkeys that Anthony met Mama. The lady in white was like an angel, showing him something he had no idea existed. Forgiveness. Dignity. Hope.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Maggie Gobran, now known as the Mother Teresa of Cairo, was once Professor of Computer Science at the American University in Cairo. She was married and living an affluent life in Egypt.

Then, in her thirties, Ms. Gobran’s life changed from self to selfless when God called on her to start Stephen’s Children (named after Christianity’s first martyr) and improve the lives of constantly harassed Christian (and impoverished Muslim and Bahá’í) children and families living in the impoverished communities of Cairo and Upper Egypt.

In this broken country, “God has truly blessed and given us more than we have hoped for or imagined… My prayer,” she says, “is that God will continue to draw us closer to Him through thousands of more children who still need the love of Jesus Christ.”

Ms. Gobran’s mission is not unique. Thankfully, special people in our BCBC congregation are traveling a similar path. But in the world of middle east politics, where hatred and violence always seem to trump compassion and hope, Mama’s story is important to tell.

Mama Maggie: The Untold Story of One Woman’s Mission to Love the Forgotten Children of Egypt’s Garbage Slums chronicles this amazing women’s pilgrimage to bring hope to those who are marginalized and living in the deepest depths of poverty.

 

*Bent Creek Baptist Church is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. By clicking the book cover shown above your purchase of this book on Amazon will earn BCBC a fee from Amazon.com. Thank you for your support.