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FROM THE SEMINARIES: NOBTS resumes in-person chapel; SWBTS students hear call to Central Asia

NOBTS resumes in-person chapel with prayer and reflection

By Marilyn Stewart

NEW ORLEANS (BP) – After long months of COVID-19 restrictions, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary returned to a regular, in-person chapel schedule Oct. 6. Rather than a celebration, the first service was a sober moment of prayer and reflection.

As the service began, all eyes were on Hurricane Delta, a storm expected to make landfall in Louisiana by week’s end, the third such threat to Louisiana in the last six weeks.

NOBTS President Jamie Dew began by calling listeners to a moment of soul-searching and prayer.

“What are you worried about?” NOBTS President Jamie Dew asked of students and faculty. “Is it sickness? Employment? Money? Storms?

Dew acknowledged that 2020 has been “rough.” He said when the campus moved to online classes in mid-March due to COVID restrictions, administrators had assumed the pandemic’s impact would last a few weeks. Masks and social distancing continue to be required for chapel services, classes, and all campus activities.

“As you consider your fear and your worry, let me ask you this question,” Dew said. “What effort have you given to solving it that’s proven futile?”

Dew challenged listeners to hear Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:25-34 and “consider whether or not God is truly powerful, is truly good and is truly loving to us.” From the passage, Dew offered four lessons for believers when walking through difficult times.

“First, remember that you cannot fix the problem,” Dew said. “For most of the difficulties that arise in your life, you cannot fix them.”

Knowing nothing can be done to fix a problem should alleviate stress, Dew explained, yet the human tendency is to labor and fret, leading to more futility, anxiety, and sin.

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SWBTS students invited to fulfill the Great Commission in Central Asia

By Katie Coleman

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) – “Even though [Central Asia] is one of the least reached parts of the world, when we have people who learn the language, know the culture well, and are faithful in sharing the Gospel, we are seeing that people are coming to Christ and churches are being planted,” said Winfield Scott,* an International Mission Board worker, during a Global Missions Week emphasis at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Sept. 15-18.

The weeklong missions focus, which was the first of two special emphases to be hosted by the World Missions Center this semester, featured IMB personnel who invited Southwestern Seminary students to be a part of what God is doing to reach the people of Central Asia. Daily events provided students with the opportunity to hear testimonies from the mission field, talk with IMB workers one on one and learn how they can participate in short-term and long-term work.

Both in-person and virtual options were available for some events to accommodate COVID-19 concerns. All in-person events required masks and social distancing.

During the Going Global lunch Sept. 15, IMB leaders shared their vision for mission work, as well as specific opportunities for students.

Dillon Wray,* a strategist for the region, explained that there are always opportunities for students or people ages 18-29 to be a part of what God is doing. Although people of all ages and seasons of life are valuable to the work there, Wray said young people perform an essential role to reaching Central Asia.

“We invite students into this work not because we’re looking to give you something fun to do over the course of your summer or a semester,” Wray said. “We’re inviting you into this work because we need your help.”

Wray said they often pray for more workers, and they believe students are an answer to that prayer.

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