Today’s From the States features items from: The Baptist Messenger; The Biblical Recorder.
Prayer quilts headed to Russia
By Bob Nigh/The Baptist Messenger managing editor
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (BP) — It can get really cold in Russia, and a good quilt can help stave off the chill of a long winter’s night. But, 45 wives of Russian Baptist Union pastors soon will find their hearts warmed even more than their chilled bones, thanks to members of Oklahoma City, Southern Hills.
The congregation gathered the evening of Aug. 30 to “commission” 45 colorful quilts made by the Southern Hills Prayer Quilt Ministry. The quilts will make their way in the near future to Russia, carried by International Mission Board (IMB) missionaries Teri Blanton, a member of Southern Hills, and missionary family Clint and Janet Stewart and their children Peter, 17, and Mary Katherine, 10, presently on furlough in Texas. Blanton and the Stewarts will serve together when they return to Russia in their as-yet-unnamed ministry location.
Blanton, who has served in Russia since 2007, previously ministered near the Ural Mountains, the “gateway” to Siberia, while the Stewarts were in St. Petersburg.
Blanton worked for many years with Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children in foster care and adoption services before being called to the mission field at age 45. Through a divine appointment, the Lord put her in touch with the Stewarts, who were seeking to adopt a child, and she helped arrange the adoption of their son, Peter, who was with them at the Aug. 30 service. The Stewarts also have two adult children, Ethan, 24, and Emily, 21, a senior at Baylor University.
Clint Stewart said the quilts will be a wonderful way to be used as an “ice breaker” to help him and his wife minister to the Russian pastors’ wives. The Stewarts asked the Southern Hills congregation to continue to pray for them and Blanton as they anticipate finding out where they will serve, and as they return to the mission field.
During the special service, members of the church were asked to gather around the quilts — which were spread around the church’s chapel, either on quilt racks or on the pews — and pray specific prayers printed on a piece of paper which was pinned to each quilt. Each quilt had ribbons on it, and after a prayer was voiced, the instructions were to tie a knot in one of the ribbons. When the evening was over, each quilt had many knots tied in each ribbon.
The Southern Hills quilting ministry began with five women; they now have 18 who meet each Monday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., beginning with prayer. The ministry began in October 2012, and the group has since presented 425 quilts to various individuals and groups, including 25 recently to Korean War veterans. The group also has given quilts for baby dedications and is working with Resthaven Funeral Home to present a memory quilt to parents who have lost a newborn.
Bob Nigh is the managing editor for The Baptist Messenger.
For one nurse, carnival ministry is personal
by Chad Austin, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina Communications
FLETCHER, N.C. (BP) — Many people find it hard to believe Dori Deddo is a third-generation carnival worker.
Deddo literally grew up in the carnival. That’s how her parents and grandparents made their living. For a while, Dori did too, before becoming a registered nurse.
Now the western North Carolina native uses her nursing skills to minister and serve the carnival workers whose lifestyle she understands so well. When they learn she worked the carnival just like them, they’re usually at a loss for words. “When I tell them, they’re just in shock,” Deddo says. “They think, ‘You’re just a nurse that’s been raised up in this wonderful family,’ but I wasn’t. I was one of them.”
Deddo is one of thousands of health care professionals who volunteer their time on board the mobile medical and dental buses that provide free and much-needed care to underprivileged patients across the state each year. The mobile medical and dental ministry is one of many ministries made possible through financial gifts contributed each year to the North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO).
In 2014, more than 4,600 patients received free medical or dental care through the ministry. In addition to physical care, patients receive spiritual care, as well. Many other volunteers, including pastors, counselors, chaplains and lay leaders, serve alongside the medical professionals on board the buses, sharing the message of hope found in Jesus Christ with the patients.
“To be able to give back is the whole reason I’m here,” Deddo says. “To show Jesus’ love.”
Deddo has volunteered for several years on board the medical bus during the N.C. Mountain State Fair in Fletcher, located near her home in Pisgah Forest. Several of North Carolina’s Baptist associations organize outreach efforts during fairs and carnivals that come to their regions each summer and fall. Baptist associations also receive a portion of NCMO contributions each year, which go to support local missions activities like the fair ministries. Often associations will coordinate the use of the medical and dental buses while the fair is in town. Use of the medical and dental buses is coordinated through N.C. Baptist Men, also known as Baptists on Mission.
For Deddo, this ministry is personal. She describes the carnival lifestyle as a big homeless population that is a gypsy-like caravan that goes from town to town. The hours are long and hard. Fair workers often can’t afford health insurance, and most carnival companies don’t provide it. She relates to the workers because she’s been in their shoes.
“This ministry is important for me because I was actually raised on the carnival,” Deddo said. “I want to be able to give back and show some of the carnival workers that they could have a better life and maybe go and do more, and in turn serve others as well.
“I never dreamed that I would be standing here today on this medical bus providing care to some people that are in need.”
Deddo said she is thankful for the individuals and churches that give to the NCMO and make this type of ministry possible.
“When you support the NCMO, you have an impact in ways you never could have imagined,” Deddo said. “This ministry changes lives.
“Jesus tells us to go out and love people. That’s what we’re doing.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: From the States, published each Tuesday by Baptist Press, relays news and feature stories from state Baptist papers and other publications on initiatives by Baptist churches, associations and state conventions in evangelism, church planting and Great Commission outreach, including partnership missions. Reports about churches, associations and state conventions responding to the International Mission Board’s call to embrace the world’s 3,800 unengaged, unreached people groups also are included in From the States, along with reports about church, associational and state convention initiatives in conjunction with the North American Mission Board’s call to Southern Baptist churches to broaden their efforts in starting new churches and satellite campuses. The items appear in Baptist Press as originally published.