EDITOR’S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each Monday from various Southern Baptist-related entities. The items are published as received.
Today’s BP Ledger includes items from:
South Asia News (International Mission Board)
Arkansas Baptist News
SOUTH ASIA (IMB)–Brief items reported by South Asia News (http://www.go2southasia.org) on Jan. 12 include:
Over 1.5 billion people live in India, Pakistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Nepal. During the last 60 years, an exodus of Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Nepalis left their homelands looking for jobs, higher education and a better life. Today, nearly 25 million South Asians live in places like the United Kingdom, Africa, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, South American, the Middle East, the United States and Canada.
Along the way, the South Asian diaspora has influenced cuisine, pop culture, urban skylines and values. In adopted homelands, some South Asians have become followers of Jesus, but many more cling to the faith of their birth, as a way to connect with their culture and identity. Though many live in predominantly Christian cultures, few have heard the Gospel.
From Muslim migrant worker to missionary
Mohat Datta*, formerly a Muslim, became a Christian in 2001 through the witness of a Christian worker. Since then, Datta has established a house church network consisting of more than 400 churches and 3,000 baptized Muslim background believers. This network has the potential to spread the Gospel throughout Asia and the Middle East. Many of these believers are migrant workers who work in other countries. Datta has begun training the believers to share their faith. A Christian worker in the area said he and other Christian workers are encouraging the house church networks to contact their migrant workers and remind them that they are not migrant workers, but missionaries.
Christmas among Muslims in England
Neil Gann*, an international worker, recounts:
“In England, everyone around us celebrated the holidays in their own way. We use the holidays to share the real reason for Christmas, which is not the same as what people see in shops or on TV. Our Muslim friends have just finished celebrating Eid-al-adha, the festival of sacrifice, remembering the time Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son. This gave us an opportunity to share with them the reason Jesus came to earth – to willingly offer Himself as the perfect sacrifice that sufficiently paid for all our sins for all eternity. The first Saturday of December is our annual open house. We invite all our neighbors to drop in for a visit and enjoy some snacks and conversation. Out of 36 families near our home, about 9-10 stopped by. It’s not exactly a Christmas party, but we do have all of our decorations up, and that tends to lead to conversations about how we celebrate the holidays.”
Haircut and a prayer
Dean Kisling*, an international worker, got his first British haircut by a barber named Jade. When she finished the haircut, she asked, “How does that feel?” He told her it looked nice, said thank you and went on his way. But he couldn’t stop thinking about that question. When he went back to wish her a Merry Christmas, he thanked her for asking, How does that feel? He explained, “It feels great to have hair again after losing it due to chemo treatments. God healed me from colon cancer in early 2010. It makes me grateful for God’s grace and mercy and for all the doctors and nurses who Jesus used to walk with me through the valley of the shadow of death.” Kisling gave Jade a Jesus film DVD for Christmas. Pray that Jade and her family will come to the Kislings’ house church, which began in December.
Miley Cyrus famous in South Asia – Jesus is not
A worker in South Asia recently went to a silk expo in her city. Her language teacher’s family member offered to be her silk buying guide. The women perused the stacks of silk and listened to the Miley Cyrus’ songs playing on the loud speaker. The worker found instant celebrity status after arriving at the expo. News reporters would ask, “Madam, one photo with sari for paper,” the worker recounted. “I don’t think I’ve ever had my picture taken by more people,” the worker said. This is just one example of how South Asians are quick to celebrate music singers and foreigners, but most don’t celebrate the free gift of salvation their Creator offers in Jesus Christ.
Bullington retires ‘again’ from missions career
By Charlie Warren
LITTLE ROCK (Arkansas Baptist News)–Bill Bullington retired in 2005. It didn’t take.
God had other plans.
Now, after almost six years with the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) executive support team, Bullington is trying it again – retiring effective Jan. 3, 2011.
For Bullington, serving God with a passionate heart for missions kept him going when many his age were content to gravitate to a rocking chair.
A native Arkansan, Bullington was born in Charleston. While in high school, he felt God’s call into ministry. Being a pastor “was the only model I really had,” he said.
As a sophomore at Ouachita Baptist University (OBU), one of his friends felt called to become a foreign missionary.
“God used that to get me started thinking about being a missionary,” he said. “I was open to it. I just wasn’t sure that’s what God wanted,” he said. Meanwhile, he served as associate pastor of First Church of Bearden.
At Ridgecrest Baptist Conference Center, he heard a missions message preached by Baker James Cauthen, then top executive at the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board – IMB). Bullington responded.
“I said, ‘Lord, I think You are calling me into international missions. I’m going to plan for that. I’m going to start moving in that direction unless You say otherwise,'” he recalled.
At OBU, he met Evelyn Robinson.
“Somewhere along in there, she made a commitment to career missions, too,” Bullington said. They married in 1958, and then went to Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He served two part-time positions in churches while in seminary.
Completing his seminary degree, he became full-time pastor of Leeds Baptist Church of Kansas City, Mo.
In March 1966, they were appointed as missionaries to Togo. As a field evangelist, Bullington started churches, trained African pastors and eventually started a pastoral training school, which later became the West Africa School of Theology.
“It was pioneer work,” he explained of those years in Togo, “going into places where they had not heard the gospel before, … seeing people saved and churches started, then seeing the Africans take responsibility for the ongoing work.”
Then, in 1977, the IMB asked Bullington to serve as associate to the area director for West Africa, stationed in Acra, Ghana. In 1987, he became area director for West Africa, stationed in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Just three years later, he was named regional vice president for Africa, stationed at the IMB offices in Richmond, Va.
That was a difficult transition because they had to leave the field.
“It helped that I was still working with Africa,” Bullington said.
In 1994 he was named vice president for overseas services, a major administrative responsibility he was hesitant to take.
“I really struggled,” he admitted. “I wanted to go back to West Africa.” But God gave him peace about accepting the position.
In 2001, about the time the Bullingtons were planning to retire, the IMB asked him to return to West Africa as regional leader for West Africa.
“That’s what my wife calls the icing on the cake.”
They retired, effective Jan. 31, 2005, to Hot Springs, never dreaming he would work for the ABSC. Then, Don Pucik, ABSC associate executive director, called and asked if Bullington would be willing to talk about promoting the Cooperative Program for the ABSC. Initially, he had little interest.
“One day I thought, ‘Hey, I shouldn’t just ignore that. Maybe this is something God wants me to do,'” Bullington recalled.
But when Bullington called to express interest, Pucik told him they were already talking with someone else. Soon after, however, Pucik called, saying the other person didn’t work out.
“He called in the morning when I had had a special quiet time,” Bullington said. “I was really fully open to whatever God wanted me to do. I had been asking God before I retired, ‘What next?’ Evelyn asked me, ‘Do you want to go around talking about money all the time?’ I said, ‘I’m not going to go around talking about money. I’ll go around talking about missions and ministries and how we support them.'”
That’s what he’s done for almost six years.
“The ABSC has been the beneficiary of Bill Bullington’s hard work and dedication to a cooperative approach to fulfilling the Great Commission,” said Emil Turner, ABSC executive director. “As a career IMB missionary, he understood the critically important nature of the Cooperative Program and strengthened the commitment of Arkansas Baptists to it. We will miss his gracious spirit and his powerful impact.”
Bullington said it was simply another stage in his commitment to missions.
“This has been, for me, all about missions, which includes the ministries here in this state,” Bullington said. “… All of these things are a part of how God reaches people and cares for people. To be able to talk to pastors, speak in churches and try to cast a vision for the needs in the state, the nation and the world” was a privilege, he said.
He has challenged pastors to urge young people to make commitments to mission service.
“The younger generation is equal to any past generation in their willingness to do whatever it takes,” he said, noting in West Africa, young adults go out to extremely remote areas and live and eat with the villagers, sharing Christ among an unreached people group. They learn the language, then record Bible stories in the language on tape or CDs. Those recordings get passed around and sometimes are even played on the radio.
“Whatever we may say about the younger generation, those who are committed to Christ are willing to do anything,” he said. “That’s been encouraging and exciting to me.”
During his own years of missionary service, Bullington was part of a pilot project of “Chronological Bible Storying” in West Africa, which he calls “one of the most exciting things I ever got involved in.”
“I learned it was possible to take an oral Bible to people who couldn’t read, couldn’t write, who never made a note to themselves their whole life, (and) they just depended totally on their memory for everything,” he explained. “They did that mainly through stories, and to realize we could give them an oral Bible. … I remember thinking what a powerful thing this could be – what God would do if the Bible became a part of their oral tradition.”
He said once one hears the story, they tell others. Then those tell others.
“It has tremendous impact,” he said. “All over the world now we are doing chronological Bible storying. … That was major to see that happen.”
Whether or not Bullington stays retired this go around, it’s clear God is not through using him yet.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Savannah Project aided by Marketplace Chaplains
SAVANNAH, Ga. (Marketplace Ministries)–The ABC-TV hit program Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which featured Savannah, Georgia’s, Marketplace Chaplains’ client company J.T. Turner Construction, along with five Marketplace Chaplains, aired nationwide on Sunday, Jan. 16.
The program was filmed last fall; however Sunday marked the first airing of this episode of the nationwide one-hour show. Marketplace Ministries East Georgia Area Team Leader, Curtis Parker and his wife Tricia headed up the Marketplace Chaplains Care Team for the one-week, around-the-clock project.
“We were only going to come for a few days, but we couldn’t stop helping,” said Parker. “We served in the hospitality tent where the workers came to get a break and take their daily meals. It was a great opportunity of outreach, service and meeting new people.”
Other Marketplace Chaplains involved, at the invitation of J.T. Turner Construction and the ABC producers, were Randy Dart, Viki Bookhoop and Roe Porter. They provided the total Marketplace Chaplains’ care and compassion service to every employee and their family members on this project, just as Marketplace’s other 2,400 plus chaplains do in more than 440 companies across the U.S., Mexico, Canada and Europe.
“We felt very blessed to have our Marketplace Chaplains on site during Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Savannah,” said Neilie Dunn, Director of Marketing, J.T. Turner Construction.
“Their prayers were felt by not only our team but the thousands of volunteers that were on-site during the week to assist with making this dream a reality for a very deserving family. They have become part of our family here at J.T. Turner Construction, and their encouragement and dedication to our team and vision are certainly appreciated.”
The Marketplace chaplains wore the standard blue t-shirts and hard hats like all other workers along with their silver Marketplace Chaplains badges. While the finished show has not been seen anywhere, Parker said a Bible was placed in the foundation of the special therapy room built for prematurely born baby, Zoe Simpson, whose family received the house.
“We are so pleased to have been able to serve in this unique way. We are excited to see how it goes,” said Southeast Region Vice-President Shane Satterfield.
Dallas-based Marketplace Chaplains’ encompasses 2,400-plus chaplains now serving in a variety of ways in today’s workplace.
The ministry was founded in 1984 by Southern Baptist ordained minister Gil A. Stricklin and has been used to win thousands to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Stricklin is a longtime member of First Baptist Dallas.