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EDUCATION BRIEFS: Midwestern president preaches in Hong Kong; other news

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s president teamed up with the Texas-based Partnership Evangelism ministry to share the Gospel with thousands of people at Kowloon City Baptist Church in Hong Kong during a two-week trip.

“The Kowloon City Baptist Church is on the cutting edge of the Great Commission,” R. Phillips Roberts said. “God is mightily using them to reach their city and to touch their world for the Gospel.”

Partnership Evangelism founder Dub Jackson led the trip, which also included Roberts’ son Mark.

Such trips often stir participants into career missionary service, Jackson said. The Hong Kong outreach is the most recent of 100-plus Partnership Evangelism campaigns in more than 50 countries since 1963.

“The campaign we just completed, where Dr. Roberts served as the leader of the team for the largest Baptist church in Hong Kong, was blessed with 285 professions of faith,” Jackson said.

“When you include the fruits of the partnership teams in other parts of the city, that total reached around 500,” Jackson said.

Kiven Choy, pastor of Kowloon City Baptist Church, said ministering and sharing the Gospel in Hong Kong entails the same challenges pastors and missionaries face in other parts of the world.

“We’re in a large, metropolitan area, so evangelizing to the people is all about being bold and sharing the Gospel message with them,” Choy said. “When you do, as the results of our recent partnership show, the Lord Jesus can do incredible things.”

Jackson agreed, saying, “When we’re bold and confident that God will save folks when they’re given the invitation to receive Him, He’s proven time and again that He will keep His word. He blesses our obedience when we witness at all times and in every country.”

Roberts said the trip to Hong Kong was “an incredible time to witness, preach and reach people for Christ. As Christians, God calls every one of us to be evangelists, whether at home or around the world. We must obey His call and carry out the Great Commission.”

Jackson said the need for laborers is great all over the world, “and any loving Christian can go and be effective.”

Partnership Evangelism links Southern Baptist churches with churches overseas through exchanges of pastor-led teams of laypeople. Teams from those countries, in turn, have conducted reciprocal evangelistic efforts in Southern Baptist churches in the United States.

MISSISSIPPI VOLUNTEERS LEND A HAND — Nine volunteer teams from the Mississippi Baptist Convention converged on the campus of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary this summer to tackle minor repair work.

“These types of opportunities teach churches to be more mission-minded and also to see how well entities in the Southern Baptist Convention, like MBTS and the MBC, cooperate,” said J.C. Prather, who spent the summer in Missouri coordinating the volunteer effort.

Prather, a retired director of missions from Cumberland, Miss., said one particular Scripture summed up the work the volunteers did at Midwestern. “Galatians 6:9-10 is really what our work here has been all about,” he said. “Paul encourages us to never tire of doing good things, and when opportunities arise we must work for the good of everyone, especially fellow believers.” Such efforts, he said, “bring glory and honor to the Lord.”

The Midwestern volunteer project entailed an extensive planning process. Campus officials compiled a list of needs, and the Mississippi convention’s mission mobilization department posted them on its website. Churches in Mississippi saw the opportunities and signed up for tasks that matched their skills. Teams began arriving in Kansas City around spring break, and the final teams departed toward the beginning of August.

R. Philip Roberts, the seminary’s president, commended the Mississippi volunteers for their generosity. “There are many projects around the campus that our team can’t easily fit into their daily workload, and the help we’ve received from these wonderful volunteers is encouraging, appreciated and has blessed us deeply,” Roberts said.

Prather and his wife Martha lived on campus in their RV to coordinate the teams, aided by Gene and Willie Ree Williamson.

“Once the volunteers arrived, Gene would have a list of projects, and he’d make sure the teams were in the places they needed to be and doing the work that needed to be done,” Prather said.

Larry Headley, MBTS director of campus operations, said the seminary supplied the materials and most of the tools and equipment for the projects.

“We also set aside two of our three bedroom apartments for volunteer groups to use throughout the summer. This helped them out a great deal because they had a base from which they could cool off on the hot days, rest, cook and sleep,” Headley said.

The majority of the work took place at the Vivion Farm and Home area on Midwestern’s campus. Groups from the Tri-County Baptist Association in Columbia, Miss., Campers on Missions in Carriere, Miss., and the Pearl River Baptist Association in McNeill, Miss., scraped, painted and repaired several of the farm’s buildings. A team from Whitesand Baptist Church in Prentiss, Miss., landscaped new and existing flower beds and planted trees to add to the natural beauty of the house and farm.

Other volunteers from Oakland Baptist Church in Walnut, Miss., and East End Baptist Church in Columbus, Miss., painted and remodeled the interiors of several campus buildings, while a group from Pine Grove Baptist Church in Hickory Flat, Miss., striped the parking lots across campus. The Tri-County Baptist Association’s women led a Vacation Bible School for children of seminary students.

“Not only in the work that was accomplished, but we developed new friendships and got to fellowship with the students and staff of Midwestern,” Prather said.

Noting the importance of the support the seminary receives from Southern Baptists, Roberts said, “Over the years, Midwestern has been wonderfully blessed by the hard work and sacrifice of so many gracious servants of the Lord. We are so very thankful for their service to Christ.”
Reported by T. Patrick Hudson of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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