News Articles

FROM THE STATES: Tenn., Okla. & N.M. evangelism/missions news; “We want missions ingrained in our DNA”

Today’s From the States features items from:
Baptist New Mexican (two items)
Baptist & Reflector (Tennessee)
The Baptist Messenger (Oklahoma)

Native Baptists in N.M.
mobilize for missions
By Daniel Clymer

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (Baptist New Mexican) — Native American Baptists of New Mexico are being equipped and mobilized for missions locally and globally, and the Cooperative Program is helping to fuel this movement of God. From a very young age, those of us who were raised in Southern Baptist churches were taught that to reach the world for Christ, a cooperative effort would be the most effective way. Today, we still see God using this powerful cooperative effort to reach the lost people of New Mexico and the world.

A glimpse of what God is doing through New Mexico Native Baptists and the Cooperative Program was seen in the recent Native American Evangelism Conference held at Highland Baptist Church in Albuquerque. It was a wonderful cooperative effort between the New Mexico Native Baptist Partnership and the Baptist Convention of New Mexico’s evangelism and discipleship team. While 120 people were registered, a head count of 167 was reported.

Mike Keahbone was the keynote speaker, and he connected in a powerful way with the participants. The seminars were overflowing and received high ratings: Ken Edwards from Faith Comes by Hearing showed how discipleship can be done through the recorded Bible in Native languages; Jim Turnbo taught about using Bible storying to evangelize; and Gerome Fragua and John Roe taught about using music in evangelism.

What a great historical event that will not be forgotten! Cooperative Program funding at work could be witnessed throughout the conference. The speakers were funded by the Cooperative Program, and Native Baptist Partnership churches were able to see for themselves their Cooperative Program giving working for their people who were equipped for evangelism.

The Native Baptist Partnership’s administrative team leader for 2011/2012 was Scott Tafoya, and he was a recipient of Cooperative Program funding as he obtained his seminary degrees from Southern Baptist schools. John Hollins, the team’s current leader, is a recipient of Cooperative Program funding through the Western School of Theology Contextualized Leadership Development scholarships. I, too, have been a recipient of Cooperative Program funding, as I received my degrees from a Southern Baptist school. From the leadership down to the conference personalities, Cooperative Program giving has made many dreams come true due to God’s blessing through Southern Baptists. Imagine how many souls have come to Christ through a simple cooperative effort.

Your Cooperative Program giving will help in the equipping of Native Baptist pastors, church planters and lay leaders during this year and in 2014. Equipping conferences to train our leaders in the areas of engaging people groups cross-culturally, leadership development through Experiencing God seminars for Native Americans, prayer and awakening training, and North American and global mission training will take place here in New Mexico.

God is moving among Native People groups, and He is using Southern Baptists’ cooperative funding to enable us to respond to His invitation to join Him in reaching all tribes of the world. Thank you, Southern Baptists, for giving to the Cooperative Program.
This article appeared in the Baptist New Mexican, newsjournal of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico (bcnm.com). Daniel Clymer is the Baptist Convention of New Mexico’s Native American strategist.

N.M. Native partnership
moving forward
By Scott Tafoya

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (Baptist New Mexican) — The New Mexico Native American Southern Baptist Partnership continues to meet and follow God’s leadership, with some 64 Native Americans from seven Native churches across the state attending our gathering last October.

Any church or mission in New Mexico or its neighboring states with an established Native American ministry is welcome to join the partnership. As stated in its purpose statement, the partnership desires to encourage and facilitate growth of Native churches, “To establish a working relationship among Native American congregations that unites and enables them to develop healthy Southern Baptist churches within our state and neighboring states.”

In addition to discussing upcoming mission-trip opportunities and, of course, hearing about plans for Indian Family Camp, the growth team of the partnership presented the idea of having the first Native American Evangelism Conference. Church representatives unanimously voted to move forward, and the growth team, led by Charlie Riddick, was given the responsibility of leading in the effort. Due to the short time frame and a desire to incorporate the effort with the BCNM’s State Evangelism Conference, the team promptly asked the BCNM’s director of evangelism and discipleship, Mike Napier, and the BCNM evangelism/discipleship team to help coordinate the effort and provide much-needed support. With everyone doing all they could, the first year was a great success, with 123 registered!

At our January meeting new leadership was elected. The 2013-14 administrative team is John Hollins, James Eaton and Judy Williams; growth team: Bernard Garcia, Paula Tsoodle, Mike Cartier; communication team: Charlie Riddick, Erwin Babb and Laura Williams; stewardship team leader: Scott Tafoya; and missions team: Edna Romero, Ruby Kyaw and April Delores.

Also at our January meeting, the 62 in attendance enjoyed new young talent on the drums during worship. In an effort to encourage outreach and growth, the partnership voted to forego the normal April meeting to funnel all its energies into the Native American Evangelism Conference as well as a possible outreach effort during the Gathering of Nations Pow-wow. The missions team requests prayer as they still determine what they might do and carry through with that outreach effort.

The next scheduled meeting of the partnership is at First Indian Baptist Church in Espanola on July 20. We continue to invite all of the Native Southern Baptist congregations and ministries to join with the partnership. Membership request forms may be requested from John Hollins, administrative team leader, at [email protected] or at Laguna-Acoma Baptist Mission, P.O. Box 206, Cubero, NM 87014.
This article first appeared in the Baptist New Mexican, newsjournal of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico (bcnm.com). Scott Tafoya is pastor of Indian Nations Baptist Church in Albuquerque.
ClearView team completes first
missions trip of TBC/Italy partnership
By Linda Lawson

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (Baptist & Reflector) — Nine high school students and three adults preparing for a spring break missions trip to Naples, Italy, were warned in advance they wouldn’t have translators with them most days.

They prepared for the March 22-30 trip by memorizing a talking sheet of Italian words and phrases provided by Southern Baptist missionary Charlie Worthy, a native of Memphis. The group from ClearView Baptist Church, Franklin, represented the first in the three-year partnership between the Tennessee Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.

As they went into shops each morning, leaders and students agreed they found ways around the language barrier.

“We used a lot of hand motions and we met Italians who knew a little English,” said Page Smiley, a senior at Ravenwood High School in Franklin and a veteran of two international missions trips. “I’m glad we didn’t have translators.”

Spencer Smith, a senior at Centennial High School who has been on three previous international trips, acknowledged the challenge of communicating with a limited Italian vocabulary. However, he said, “everyone was welcoming.”

Working in four groups of three, each group spent three mornings visiting coffee shops and other businesses to build relationships with proprietors and customers. On the fourth day, they had translators and went back to the shops to express thanks for hospitality and to introduce the gospel, according to Jeremy Hudgin, student minister at ClearView.

“This was a good experience for us to challenge the students with the importance of bathing everything we do in prayer and in defining success,” said Hudgin.

Because the main purpose of their trip was cultivating relationships and planting gospel seeds, Hudgin defined success for this trip as “being obedient to what God called us to do.”

The team spent their afternoons teaching English to students and adults in a setting they dubbed “Easter in English” since Holy Week was being observed. They taught games, taught simple English words and phrases, and used Resurrection Eggs to present the gospel.

Hudgin wants students from his ministry to have experienced missions on local, national, and international levels by the time they graduate from high school. “We want missions ingrained in our DNA.”

Worthy said he has been utilizing high school students on the missions field for more than eight years, in part because they are “excited and willing to do anything.” If they become involved in missions at an early age, “it stays with them,” he said.

While the team returned home March 30, Hudgin said the students are continuing to strengthen relationships they started while in Naples, using Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and other electronic media.

In addition to their impact in Italy, Worthy challenged the students to take what they learned and apply the principles of building and cultivating relationships back home in Tennessee.

He said churches where members have served in Italy in past years are now hosting Italians in their homes in the U.S. He cited a young woman who went to Naples two years ago as a high school student and, as a collegiate, is planning to take a group from her college to Africa this summer.

Smiley and Smith agreed the principles can be applied at home. “The biggest challenge here is to go where we know people and may be asked why we had not talked about our relationship with Jesus before,” said Smiley.

Smith said building relationships at school, at work, and through other activities “can be done. We just must have the courage.” He said his missions experiences so far have convinced him that missions will continue to be an important part of his life.

ClearView missions coordinator Rachel Powell who participated in the Italy trip and has served as a short-term missionary in West Africa, said “The smiles that came across the faces of the youth as they discovered what it truly means to share the gospel through relationships were incredible to watch. Doors were opened on this trip, and many of the students returned with a deeper desire to see Christ spread across the world, despite any barriers.”

“I think our students embraced the culture,” Hudgin said.

“It’s good for them to see they can do this.”
This article first appeared in the Baptist & Reflector (tnbaptist.org/BRNews.asp), newsjournal of the Tennessee Baptist Convention. Linda Lawson is a contributing writer for the Baptist & Reflector.
Okla. church goes to
Thailand, makes unique friendships
By Chris Doyle

NORMAN, Okla. (The Baptist Messenger) — A team of 11 from Bethel Baptist Church in Norman, Okla., went to Chiang Mai, Thailand in March for a 10-day mission trip, supporting IMB missionaries Quintin and Kim Ratliff who have served in Chiang Mai for the past 10 years. The team conducted children’s VBS camps, showed an evangelistic film in an outlying village, prayer walked the streets and temples and connected with people of the city as they went.

Connecting with Thai people turned out to be a greater success than even Andy Peck anticipated. The mission team leader developed an unexpected friendship while visiting a Buddhist temple.

“We entered the temple, not knowing exactly what to expect, as we were non-Thai speakers surrounded by people who did not speak English,” said Peck who serves as associate pastor for missions, community ministries and contemporary worship at Norman, Bethel. “The end of the room housed a massive golden statue, and then there were a number of large chairs with Buddhist monks in their orange robes, sitting in the traditional meditation style. We did not expect to see the 25-year-old monk, sitting in the same style, holding a white iPhone in his right hand, slowly texting or checking his Facebook status.”

Peck and his team engaged in “monk chat,” which is a setting for monks to discuss any topics with visitors, with “Buddhi” the Tibetan monk. “I asked him if he used email,” said Peck. “‘Of course,’ (the monk) replied. I gave him my card and asked him if he would email me. ‘Yes,’ he replied. ‘I cannot ask for your information but if you are giving it to me freely I can email you.’ I assured him that I was giving it to him freely.”

An hour later, Peck returned to his hotel room and had an email waiting for him from Buddhi. “Because of an Outlook feature, I could see Buddhi used Facebook, and I asked to be his friend,” Peck said. “Within 30 minutes he had accepted my request, and he was ‘liking’ my photos from our mission trip! Within an hour he had even ‘liked’ my comment asking for prayer for Buddhi, the Buddhist monk that our team had just met at monk chat!”

Since the team returned home, Peck and Buddhi have continued to chat using Facebook and over the phone. “Surprisingly, I received a phone call using a brand new feature that allows people to call each other through Facebook if you both have a wifi connection,” said Peck. “It was free for Buddhi to call me from Bangkok (where he was renewing his passport). We talked briefly, as it was 11:45 a.m. my time and 11:45 p.m. his time.”

Peck shared how things are vastly different than the days of week- or monthlong ocean voyages to foreign countries.”In the days of Adoniram Judson, if you met someone in a foreign land and then left, it would be very difficult to carry on a conversation or relationship with them,” he said. “Now, our mission team members continue friendships, discipleship and even evangelism after returning home.”

He said he is considering creating business cards for mission team members so they can hand them out selectively on future trips with those whom they meet and want to correspond more after returning home. “Technology is literally changing the face of missions,” Peck said.

Journal entries detailing Norman, Bethel’s mission trip to Thailand, along with pictures, can be found at the church’s website: www.bbcnorman.com/#/ministries/localforeign-missions.

Also, follow Norman, Bethel’s mission efforts on Twitter @BMissions.
This article first appeared in The Baptist Messenger (baptistmessenger.com), newsjournal of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Chris Doyle is associate editor of The Baptist Messenger.
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.

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