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CAMPUS DIGEST: Praying Scripture for children (NOBTS); Sent home to serve (SEBTS)

Praying Scripture for children proves powerful across borders, NOBTS prof says

By Marilyn Stewart/NOBTS

NEW ORLEANS (BP) – As far as she can tell, Kathy Steele, former IMB missionary, licensed professional counselor and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary counseling professor, started the first Moms in Prayer International group in Cuba nearly 20 years ago.

Kathy Steele

Today, more than 3,000 women are active in Moms in Prayer International (MIPI) groups across Cuba, meeting weekly to pray scripture for their kids, Steele has learned. 

“Knowing your kids and knowing God’s Word and then praying His word for them is one of the most powerful things we can ever do for our kids,” Steele said.

Former missionaries to Central America, Steele and her husband Ed, have worked closely with Cuban believers through the years. In 2003, while Steele and other NOBTS professors were teaching at the Havana seminary, she showed women there how to set up an MIPI prayer group. Two years later, Steele taught at the Santiago seminary on the opposite end of the country, and did the same.  

In MIPI, women pray scripture, such as Philippians 4:6, as they bring their children’s names before the Lord. In a country that has known poverty and a shortage of goods and resources, the groups multiplied quickly.

“They have no other resources except God,” Steele said. “Going to God for their children is a really big deal for them.”

Provision in place beforehand

While the first MIPI group in Cuba began in 2003, God provided a key resource years earlier, Steele said.

Serving as IMB missionaries at the time, Steele and her husband were moved to El Paso’s Baptist Spanish Publishing House when their place of service in Central America grew unstable. While there, Steele worked with an editor to translate the MIPI leader’s guide and manual into Spanish.

In Havana in 2003, Steele used the MIPI materials she had helped translate to start the first MIPI group. Ten years after the first group began, women came together from across Cuba to celebrate how God had answered prayers and worked in their children’s lives, Steele said.

Praying scripture for children first caught Steele’s attention during the couple’s 20 year tenure on the mission field after reading a book on the subject.

Later, at seminary following their IMB service, Steele wrote her dissertation on the impact of praying scripture for children. Using measurable techniques, Steele researched the emotional health of children whose moms had prayed scripture for them as compared to moms who had prayed without praying specific scripture.   

The difference was “significant,” Steele explained.

“The longer the mom had been praying [scripture] for her kids, the stronger their emotional health was,” Steele said. “The emotional health of our kids is probably one of the most important measurable factors of how well they are going to do in life.”

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The Great Commission led him home

By Chad Burchett/SEBTS

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) – From a small mountain village in Nepal, Ashish Bhandari was born the year after his parents came to faith. He grew up in a ministry family where his father pastored their local church, oversaw the local orphanage and taught in a nearby Bible training center. In his kindness, God used Ashish’s parents and, in particular, his father’s teaching to draw him to Christ.

Ashish Bhandari

Shortly after Ashish became a believer in July of 2006, God gave him a desire to pursue full-time ministry.

“The Lord put a desire in my heart to dedicate my life to his service,” Ashish recounted. “From that very day, I committed to pursue training in God’s Word and to serve him full time once I graduated high school.”

As Ashish was finishing high school, God reminded him of his calling to ministry, so Ashish sought counsel from his family and friends. His parents rejoiced over his heart to serve and encouraged him to attend a Bible college. Some of his family friends from the U.S. shared with him about Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern, and he applied to The College, eager to learn but unsure how he would be able to study in the U.S. Ashish was accepted, and in answer to his prayers, he received a full scholarship to study in Wake Forest without tuition or housing costs.

“I was amazed at Southeastern’s heart to help students be equipped,” he said. “Dr. Ewart went above and beyond to make sure I was fully funded, and Dr. Akin and the entire financial aid office blessed me abundantly by enabling me to pursue my education without any financial hurdles.”

Grateful for the Lord’s provision, Ashish started his Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies with a theology major in the fall of 2014. From the moment he stepped onto campus, Ashish felt welcomed like family.

“As I was unpacking my car on move-in day, Jake Hatfield took time to get to know me, and the student life team all pitched in to help me move,” recounted Ashish. “Within my first five minutes on campus, I was already telling stories about back home. That presence and intentionality did not fade after I moved in. Jake always demonstrated that he was there for me along with all the other amazing people that I got to know at Southeastern over the years.”

When the House System launched in 2016, Ashish was eager for the opportunity to serve others as he had been served. He was amazed that, once a new international student in The College, he was now given a position to disciple fellow students as one of the first chancellors of Schaeffer House. His time as a house leader became a formative training ground for him as a disciple maker, deepening his friendships on campus and teaching him how to lead others closer to Christ.

While a house leader and full-time student, Ashish was still intentional to apply what he was learning in the context of his local church, Macedonia Baptist Church, in Holly Springs. Invested in his church family, Ashish served on the worship team as a guitarist, bassist, and cajon player as needed and regularly taught in the children’s Sunday school class.

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