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In London, Ohioans & Ethiopian church partner

EDITOR’S NOTE: Tim Ellsworth, editor of BP Sports and director of news and media relations at Union University, is in London to cover the 2012 Olympics in tandem with Baptist Press’ London bureau. Baptist Press will publish features about Christian athletes in the Olympics, recap results of their competition and cover Baptist initiatives to share the Gospel during the Summer Games and among Londoners’ rich cultural milieu.

LONDON (BP) — An email about a mission trip to London during the Olympics captured Terri Frasure’s heart.

Upon receiving the notice from the Ohio Woman’s Missionary Union, “all I could think about was what a perfect opportunity to reach the nations,” said Frasure, a member of First Baptist Church in South Lebanon, Ohio.

“I could not get it out of my heart, that God had commanded us to go to all nations and to teach the Gospel.”

Frasure is one of 11 volunteers from churches in the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio ministering in London as the city hosts the Olympics. They are part of a team who came with More Than Gold, a Christian organization seeking to help churches in the United Kingdom engage with the 2012 Olympics, according to its website.

Frasure and her team are working with the Ethiopian Christian Fellowship Church to share the Gospel with people near King’s Cross, one of London’s biggest travel hubs.

The Ethiopian church is using its building as a hospitality center during the Olympics, offering people free cake, tea and coffee and an opportunity for visitors to watch the Summer Games on TV.

“When they come to take part in that, we sit down and try to talk to them a little bit,” Frasure said. “We really try our best to look for an opportunity to share Jesus Christ with them.”

The Ethiopian church members are passionate about sharing the Gospel with everyone, not just Ethiopians, Frasure noted. They are going into the streets to meet people, she said, “almost begging them to come” to the hospitality center so they can witness to them.

Girma Bishaw, pastor of the Ethiopian church, said the Ohio team has been a tremendous help.

“Recently the Lord had been calling us to kind of come out of our own boxes and to reach out for other people,” Bishaw said. “At this time in our journey, for them to come alongside us and to come out and reach other people with the Gospel is very, very encouraging for our church people.”

In addition to their work with the Ethiopian church, some of the Ohio volunteers spent a few days holding a kids’ club in Stratford, another part of the city. Ben Shelton, a member of First Baptist Church in Garrettsville, Ohio, said the outreach was similar to Vacation Bible School. Through it, his team was able to engage Muslims and some kids who were unchurched.

“This is the first time I’ve done any kind of international ministry like this,” Shelton said. “I think God has really been showing us and helping us every bit of the way.”

Frasure encountered one couple from Spain who were in London to learn English. The woman knew a little bit about Jesus, but the man had never heard Jesus’ name before.

“They listened very intently,” Frasure said. “They didn’t make a profession for Christ because they were in such a hurry. But we were able to leave information with them so that they can read further with that.”

Frasure met another woman from the Ukraine, in London for the Olympics who likewise was open to conversation.

“She was very open to what I had to say about the Gospel, but she wasn’t ready to make that kind of commitment,” Frasure said. “She really believes in the works part — if she does enough good things, then she will get to heaven.”

For Frasure, the trip is the culmination of months of prayer and anticipation.

“God just put it in my heart in such a great way that I may never have another opportunity like this, where all the nations are coming together, and that He would send me there to help reach those nations,” Frasure said. “It was a real burden to my heart. He just opened the door for the nations to come to us as we’re witnessing.”
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    About the Author

  • Tim Ellsworth

    Tim Ellsworth is associate vice president for university communications at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally.

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