FROM THE STATES: La., Ill., N.M. evangelism/missions news; 'There is absolutely nothing like seeing people choose to follow Christ'
Today's From the States features items from:
Baptist Message (Louisiana)
Baptist New Mexican
La. Baptists see
harvest in Brazil
By Brian Blackwell
MONTES CARLOS, Brazil (Baptist Message) -- A 56-member mission team recently continued the Gospel vision of former Louisiana Baptists Director of Evangelism Wayne Jenkins with a nearly two-week mission trip to his beloved Brazil.
"It was an emotional trip, in some aspects, but God was gracious and the trip went smoothly," said Denton, pastor of Highland Baptist Church in New Iberia and coordinator of the trip. "We miss Mr. Wayne. But he and (his wife) Mrs. Martha loved the Brazilian people and were instrumental in helping people catch a vision for partnership missions. Mrs. Martha continues to be an important part of the work there. Beyond the Walls remains focused on the same objective of sharing the life transforming message of God's grace in Christ."
The Louisiana Baptist-led mission team partnered with Beyond the Walls -- a Louisiana-based ministry that, according to its Facebook page, equips and enables groups to travel overseas for the purpose of serving others -- and saw 1,835 Brazilians turn to Christ during the annual evangelism outreach.
The U.S. group, comprising individuals from Louisiana, Texas, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama, California and Utah, joined Brazilian Baptists to construct two churches, operate medical and dental clinics, hold Vacation Bible Schools, conduct street evangelism, share Christ during in-home visits and give drama presentations in schools and outdoor venues.
John Galey, pastor of Poydras Baptist Church in Saint Bernard, shared the Gospel in homes throughout Montes Carlos. During one in-home visit, Galey encountered a man who believed he was destined for Hell because of a personal habit.
"His friend had planted Gospel seeds into his life for a long time and had prayed that someone would come along and lead him to Christ," Galey recalled. "When I asked the man if he was going to Heaven, he told me 'no' because he was a smoker. I then replied that while I would never encourage anyone to smoke, it is 'not believing in Christ' that is the reason for going to Hell. I then led him through a prayer to accept the Lord."
Craig Beeman, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Winnsboro, was moved to tears after preaching at the service to dedicate a new worship center at the First Baptist Church at St. John of the Bridge, a facility the construction team built in less than five days. When Beeman issued an invitation to accept Christ, four people came forward to repent of their sins and put their trust in Jesus.
"Truly this year, we were continuing the work God led Brother Wayne Jenkins to begin," Beeman said. "By the end of the week, our construction crew, along with some Brazilian nationals, built a brand new building with a tin roof that sat on the top of a hill in view of a large portion of the town. A permanent worship building was constructed that week for a loving congregation that is about the business of Kingdom work.
"I shall never forget the emotion of the dedication service," he continued. "The people were so thankful. Eagles for Christ, a Christian motorcycle club, even showed up from two hours away in Montes Claros to help celebrate.
"There is absolutely nothing like seeing people choose to follow Christ," he said. "I pray that each of us, as children of God, will not give up on sharing the good news. It truly changes lives."
This article appeared in the Baptist Message (baptistmessage.com), newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. Brian Blackwell is a staff writer for the Baptist Message.
Ill. Baptists 'Watching
God work' in Kenya
WESTERN KENYA (Baptist Message) -- In the hills of western Kenya, 10 volunteers from central and southern Illinois saw hundreds of patients at a medical clinic and witnessed dozens of decisions for Christ. The team, led by IBSA's Jeff Deasy and his wife, Kathy, camped just steps from the clinic, which they set up in partnership with a local Baptist church.
The Deasys, members of Chatham Baptist Church, served 20 years with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board, including 10 in Africa. They formed a ministry partnership with Pastor Robert Bichanga Moinde, who has since helped plant many churches working in a network to reach people in western Kenya.
"He was a pastor with a heart to reach his people!" Kathy Deasy said. "When we first met him, there were only two Baptist churches in the hills around his area." The churches had started an orphanage and school to serve children in the region. Now, Deasy said, there are 18 churches, the school is registered with the Kenyan government, and the churches have built two dormitories for the children's center.
One of the churches Moinde helped start is Mlimani Baptist, which hosted the Illinois medical clinic. At the clinic, patients met with Dr. Randy Oliver (right in photo above) from First Baptist Church in Metropolis and Steven Jumaa, a clinician from Nairobi. The team, comprised of volunteers from the Chatham and Metropolis churches and First Baptist in Carmi, helped patients and dispensed medications. Christians from local churches shared the Gospel with each patient.
Near the end of the team's time in Kenya, Jeff Deasy, IBSA's associate executive director for the Church Cooperation Team, said it was obvious how God had worked to bring the trip together.
"The many people who were treated physically, the many people who heard the Gospel personally, and the partnership between the American and Kenyan Christians has been nothing short of a miracle!" he reported.
"Once again, we had the privilege of showing up and watching God work."
This article appeared in the Illinois Baptist (illinoisbaptist.org), newsjournal of the Illinois Baptist State Association.
N.M. Baptists provide
medical care in Guatemala
By Drew Stevens
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (Baptist New Mexican) -- In May, a four-member team from Christ Church, Albuquerque, partnered with 21 other team members from Desert Springs Church, Albuquerque, to serve on mission in Guatemala.
The team from Christ Church consisted of Anna Avery, Julia Avery, Taylor Kidwell, and Nataly Cowling. Asher Griffin, Desert Springs' minister of theological training, served as a team leader for the trip.
The whole team partnered with several Achi people -- Christian natives from San Miguel Chicaj, Guatemala. They first traveled to the remote village of Chicholom to provide medical care and saw about 60 patients on the trip's first day. Two team members collected individuals' vital signs and directed each patient to either a medical or dental station.
At the medical station, a doctor and a Spanish translator explained to the patient their diagnosis (dehydration, an infection, etc.). Dental station doctors mostly pulled "troublesome teeth," according to a church-wide email update by Julia Avery, one of the missionaries who took vitals. The doctors gave medications, and each missionary prayed with an Achi and offered counsel from God's Word.
Avery said one of the things she learned was the importance of unity in her group: "There were always people ready and able to step up to do what was needed. God unified us in what we could offer to make it all come together," she said.
The group remained in Chicholom the following day, splitting into three smaller groups to provide different types of medical care. The first group performed over 30 teeth extractions, Christ Church missionary Nataly Cowling wrote in an email update. The team provided preventative care through Community Health Evangelism, a program that equips impoverished villages to optimize their limited resources for the benefit of their people.
Cowling wrote that the second group saw about 30 patients who mostly required antibiotic or antiparasitic medications. She mentioned the team prayed for a "visible overwhelmed and distressed" man who learned his wife had a miscarriage. "By the end of the prayer, you could see God's peace that surpasses understanding settling into his features. That was one of the most powerful moments of the day," she wrote.
The third group's task was "child engagement," she wrote. The team played with kids and even trained them to brush their teeth.
Avery also wrote an update describing their experience with the Old Testament translation team in Guatemala. There, the team learned about the ongoing effort to translate Scripture into the Rabinal Achi dialect. She said the Old Testament is currently in the revision stage, and that some books are ready for print. After visiting the translation site, the team returned to their clinics. Anna said the final clinics were slower-paced, so the team spent more time interacting with the locals.
"I have seen God work in so many ways this trip," she wrote. "[It] has been an example of how the church works as a body and uses all types of people."
Avery urged her readers to pray for Old Testament translation work -- specifically, that funding would be adequate for printing once translation is complete.
This article appeared in the Baptist New Mexican (gobnmc.com), newsjournal of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico. Drew Stevens is an intern with the Baptist New Mexican.
EDITOR'S NOTE: From the States, typically published each Tuesday by Baptist Press, relays news and feature stories from state Baptist papers and other publications on initiatives by Baptist churches, associations and state conventions in evangelism, church planting and Great Commission outreach, including partnership missions. Reports about churches, associations and state conventions responding to the International Mission Board's call to embrace the world's unengaged, unreached people groups also are included in From the States, along with reports about church, associational and state convention initiatives in conjunction with the North American Mission Board's call to Southern Baptist churches to broaden their efforts in starting new churches and satellite campuses. Except for minor style, security, formatting and grammatical changes, the items appear in Baptist Press as originally published.