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FROM THE STATES: Tenn., Wash. and Ga. evangelism/missions news; ‘I pray that I can keep returning until our Lord Jesus returns’

Today’s From the States features items from:
Baptist and Reflector (Tennessee)
Northwest Baptist Witness (Washington)
Christian Index (Georgia)


Tenn. team sees 9,000-plus
decisions in Philippines

By Staff

SOMERVILLE, Tenn. (Baptist and Reflector) — A team of nine missions volunteers serving on the Cross Partners Ministry team recently returned from two weeks in the Republic of the Philippines where they served with about 40 churches in three different Baptist associations.

The team participated in more than 100 evangelistic crusades with Filipino Baptists on Luzon Island and saw 8,663 professions of faith and more than 400 other decisions for Jesus Christ.

The team was led by Charles Pratt, director of missions for Fayette Baptist Association, based in Somerville. Pratt is president and founder of Cross Partners Ministry, Inc.

The Philippines is a nation of 7,100 islands with a land mass equivalent to the state of Arizona. The population of the Philippines is estimated to be more than 105 million people, who are predominately Roman Catholic. Partnership missions work was developed there in 1989 by the Tennessee Baptist Convention and has been continued through the efforts of CPM.

Among the places the team served in Manila was “Smoky Mountain,” the site of the world’s largest garbage dump which is comprised of six mountains of garbage and is home to more than a half million people. Garbage from the entire city of Manila, encompassing 16 million people, is taken to this site. Volunteers worked with churches who are trying to minister to the people who survive in the massive dump.

Latonya Chilcutt of Woodland Baptist Church in Brownsville noted her missions experience, which included the dump, was the best of four trips that she has made to the nation. “Rather than being down in the dumps, this became the most uplifting experience of missions since the people were so open and loving towards us. I have grown so much spiritually by sharing my faith and the Gospel with so many people,” she said.

Pastor Randy Crews from Springhill Baptist Church in Dyersburg has made more than 20 trips to the Philippines. “It was so special to see old friends and to make new ones as thousands came to the knowledge of Jesus. What keeps me returning are these wonderful people that are so open to the Gospel.”

Pastor Loren Stephens, a veteran volunteer from Southside Baptist Church in Dyersburg, observed that the “hunger of the Filipino people for hearing about Jesus is overwhelming to me. It was a great blessing to get up at 4 a.m. and see so many people attend a time of prayer and Bible study at dawn.

“There are more and more people that are receptive to hearing the Gospel that I get to witness to each trip that keeps me returning. I pray that I can keep returning until our Lord Jesus returns,” Stephens said.

The volunteers raised their own support, as well as money for Bibles. The team gave away more than 10,000 Bibles and 13,000 Gospel tracts. They shared their faith openly in public high schools, colleges, public town squares, prisons, street crusades, and were able to baptize hundreds of Filipinos awaiting baptism in two different places, including the South China Sea before they returned home.

The volunteers assisted the Filipino pastors in the mass baptism of candidates in the ocean and conducted the other baptism near the garbage dump for many candidates that had been waiting for that special day.

Other team members included Randy Boals, pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church, Lavina; Willie Pounds, pastor of St. Paul Baptist Church, Kenton; Donald Williams, member of Beech Grove Baptist Church, Halls; Mike Hopper, mission pastor of the Hope of Glory Church, which is sponsored by Zion Baptist Church in Brownsville; and John Hayes, pastor, Shaw’s Chapel Baptist Church, Brownsville.
This article appeared in the Baptist and Reflector (baptistandreflector.org), newsjournal of the Tennessee Baptist Convention.


Wash. church partners
to meet school needs

By Sheila Allen

DISHMAN, Wash. (Northwest Baptist Witness) — A unique school in Washington’s Spokane Valley operates like a small town, with all students holding jobs as they learn critical life skills. Built for elementary age children decades ago, City School is now a public middle school next door to Dishman First Baptist Church. The proximity affords natural connections and allowed the church to become a strong community partner.

Founded in 1952, Dishman First Baptist is situated in a prime location and enjoys a spacious facility. More important is the impact members make in their community and beyond, with a rich history of serving others through missions.

“At one time we used the school for Awana,” said Gary Bass, pastor of the church for more than 15 years. “I was brainstorming with our ministry leaders and we determined to see how we could help the school.”

Church leaders sought input from school leaders, who suggested the church could help with needed supplies. Teachers were purchasing them at their own expense, according to Bass.

“We bought everything on the list and then asked for an expanded list the next summer,” Bass stated. “All of the teachers participated in the requests and one teacher jokingly asked for an air conditioner, as the dated school facility does not have A/C.”

A church member took his request to heart and bought a portable air conditioner for the classroom.

“Our church is eating this up,” Bass said. “We write the requested items on tags and hang them on a Christmas tree, no matter the time of year.”

The school has 11 staff members, and each was given at least a tub of items, which included paper, pencils, glue and other basics. The church also provided lunch for staff as they delivered the supplies.

City School students apply to attend the alternative-style middle school, which provides a project-based education with many experiments and field trips. Each student has a job for the last hour of the school day and receives a new position each trimester. A project class is part of the curriculum, and students select a problem or a cause they are passionate about, researching how to make a difference or educate people in the class or community.

The school includes a bank, city hall, police station, court house, café, gym, computer lab, wood shop and more.

“We only have one of our members who attends the school,” Bass noted. “But we are adding to our partnership, as we are an evacuation site for the school, in case of an emergency. We want them to see that we care and that Jesus loves them.”

Bass asked the school principal before Christmas if there were families that needed additional help. They were provided the names of four families in single parent homes who were underprivileged, and Dishman members stepped up in a big way, giving $1,400 on a single Sunday to provide gifts for the families.

“The school now uses our building for exercise classes every morning,” Bass said. “We just give them a key, because we have a trust relationship.”

That trust is flowing both ways, as more conversations are occurring on a regular basis. In recent weeks, the school principal, Dusty Andres, asked Bass to attend a school board meeting held at City School.

“He wanted me to meet the board members and I figured there would be food, so of course I said yes,” Bass quipped.

That evening, he was honored by the West Valley School District with the “Above and Beyond” award on behalf of the entire church family for the enhancements they have brought to City School.

“Our goal is for others to see the love of Jesus and this was a great method to reach out and help.”
This article appeared in the Northwest Baptist Witness (nwbaptist.org), newsjournal of the Northwest Baptist Convention. Sheila Allen is managing editor of the Northwest Baptist Witness.


17 men saved at
North Ga. men’s conference

By Gerald Harris

MINERAL BLUFF, Ga. (Christian Index) — God is forever looking for men who will stand tall for Him in a world tending toward chaos. In Ezekiel 22:30 God said, “I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land that I might not destroy it, but I found no one.”

The church needs an intentional strategy to reach men, because if you reach a man, you reach his whole family. A changed man will influence a marriage and a family. A changed man will influence a neighborhood and a community. A changed community will influence a state and a nation. A changed man will help change the world.

It all begins with a changed man.

Glen McCall is the state missionary heading up the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s Men’s Ministry and is seeking to assist churches and associations in developing Kingdom-minded men to be godly leaders in the home, church, and communities.

McCall explained, “The partnerships we have with our associational and church leaders in north Georgia — as well as around the state — has aided us in having great and godly success in reaching and ministering to many hundreds of men throughout the regions of Georgia.”

The GBMB Men’s Ministries has had good success in getting men involved in Christian ministry. Also, the current Annual Church Report indicates that participation in men’s events statewide has increased 19 percent over last year. Those numbers come in spite of 30 percent of churches having not yet submitted their statistical information to the GBMB’s Church Research Services Department.

One of the many activities McCall and his staff provides for men occurred March 11 at The Ridge Community Church in Mineral Bluff. It was the North Georgia Men’s Conference with an intentional evangelistic emphasis.

Growth in reaching men

The men’s gathering was the third annual conference of its kind in the north Georgia area and the attendance has grown each year from 225 in 2015 to nearly 500 this year.

Evangelist and former Southern Baptist Convention President Bailey Smith was the preacher for the event, His message was based on II Peter 3: 9: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” McCall reported that there were 17 men who made professions of faith in Christ, 24 men rededicated their lives and another 115 men requested prayer for themselves or their families.

Smith stated, “Glen McCall and those who assisted him did an excellent job of planning and coordinating the event. The building was full of men and there was the distinct sense that God’s presence was there.”

Crimson Ridge Ministries, a Christian country singing group with a flair for Southern Gospel, provided the music for the North Georgia Men’s Conference. The Morganton, Mountaintown, and Mountain Area (Hiawassee, New Union, Notla River, and White) Baptist Associations and the churches of the area funded the event. So there was no registration fee charged to the men in attendance. Clayton Reeves of Full Throttle Ministries cooked the Bar B Q dinner and his wife and son served the men. The program was funded by gifts from the Cooperative Program.

The biggest praise

Claude Mathis, associational missionary for the Morganton/Mountaintown Baptist associations, stated, “I appreciated the way the men worked together to make the conference a reality. It is great when you can get 450-500 men together for just about anything other than a ballgame. I was encouraged to see the way the men joined hands to raise the funds and encourage their friends to come to the conference. Bailey Smith brought a great message and we are all thankful for the 17 men who gave their lives to Christ.”

Doug Merck, Mountain Area missionary, commented, “It was truly a blessing to see our associations come together so that men could hear the Gospel presented. The food was delicious and the fellowship was great. There were great door prizes, but the best thing was that 17 men prayed to receive Christ.”

The conference had some excellent door prizes including shotguns, drill sets, tools, chairs, a smoker, and hats. The fourth annual North Georgia Men’s Conference date has already been established for March 10, 2018. The place for the conference will be announced later this year.
This article appeared in The Christian Index (christianindex.org), newsjournal of the Georgia Baptist Convention. Gerald Harris is editor of The Christian Index.


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 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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