What’s a good way to learn a language? Converse with a native speaker. What’s a good way to advance the Gospel? Invest in a missionary. What can catalyze both objectives? A global pandemic, apparently.
BOGOTÁ, Colombia (BP) -- Sarah McNeill sensed a city-wide quarantine coming. Her preparatory grocery run included school supplies, since her kids would transition to learning at home. She put printer paper and poster board in her cart and, with an idea blooming, added yellow, blue and red tissue paper. The McNeills live on the 11th floor of a 13-story residential building. Like many in Bogotá, Colombia, their neighbors are fearful of COVID-19.
RICHMOND, Va. (BP) -- Going on mission wasn't new for members of First Baptist Church in Tifton, Ga. They were already partnering with IMB workers in Peru and were committed to reaching the Andean village of Molinos with the Gospel. Joy and Craig Matthews were on their second trip when they became concerned with the methods they were using to share the plan of salvation. After praying with a family to receive Christ, Joy thought: "Wait a minute. They said this prayer last year." Many, who they thought had become believers during past visits, did not seem to have a true understanding of faith.
YEKATERINBURG, Russia (BP) -- Tears streamed down the cheeks of thousands of Peruvians who traveled to Russia only to see their World Cup dream end with an 0-1 loss to France at the Ekaterinburg Arena in Yekaterinburg. Yet, what mattered -- what Peruvians savored -- is that after 36 years on the outside, their national soccer team contended as a World Cup team. No longer watching from the sidelines, they got in the game. Arriba Perú!
GUATEMALA CITY (BP) -- Bethani Thomas opened the gate so her mom could pull their car into the guesthouse driveway. Suddenly, she realized that a gun was pointed at her head. Her mom, International Mission Board missionary Karen Thomas, screamed from the driver's seat as she scuffled with another assailant trying to steal the car. Bethani, then 13, bolted toward the vehicle to try to help. "Mom, it's gonna be OK. God is with us," Bethani said as she scrambled into the vehicle with the gunman in pursuit. As Karen tried to fight off the carjacker, he shoved her out the door. With Bethani inside, the thugs peeled away as Karen crumpled onto the concrete. "They've got my daughter!" Karen screamed. As the car sped away into the Guatemala City night, two Bible lessons popped into Bethani's head. "Paul and Job. They had nothing and, yet, they were praising God," Bethani recalled. "Those [stories] were real comforts. I started praying and singing." Bethani listened closely to the carjackers' conversation. They were cousins. The driver was nervous. The other cousin had been roped into the crime while visiting from New York. He wanted to keep things from escalating. Meanwhile, Karen and her husband Jeff remembered the phone in Karen's purse in the car. Jeff called the number; the driver answered.