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SBC DIGEST: Kentucky church grateful for help after tornado; Texas church serves a world away

Pastor in Mayfield appreciative of cooperative spirit

By Mark Maynard/Kentucky Today

MAYFIELD, Ky. (BP) – Jaime Masso, pastor of First Baptist Hispana, said the help that has come from all over since the December tornado outbreak in western Kentucky, has been a great encouragement.

Workers pose in front of the Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief shower trailer. The KYDR also had two volunteers helping maintain it for volunteers from a church in San Antonio who traveled 20 hours from Mayfield to assist First Baptist Hispana Mayfield.

Life Church in San Antonio, Texas, came recently to help repair the home of some church members, Masso said. Women who came took care of the food, working with members of First Baptist Hispana. Workers cut down a large tree, set a plan for the repairs of the damaged home, started a drop ceiling and framing and hung sheet rock. It was a lot, considering the short time they were here.

“Nineteen of them came and stayed in our church building,” Masso said. “We have no showers in the building.”

No problem, thanks to the Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief. KYDR sent a shower trailer, and the Kentucky WMU took care of the cost. Two KYDR volunteers stayed the whole week to make sure the trailer gave the expected service, he said. “Something broke, and they fixed it so the group could take a shower and wash their dirty clothes.

“It was a blessing to serve alongside men like these and those who came from so far, almost 20 hours on the road, to serve people they don’t know.”

Two pastors were among those who came – Josue Rodriguez, the English-speaking pastor, and Osman Pichola, who speaks Spanish. Pichola had been a summer missionary to Mayfield several times, Masso said.

Masso was overwhelmed with gratitude at how the love of Jesus brings men and women to action for fellow brothers and sisters in a time of need. He asked people to remember Mayfield and the long road of rebuilding that is barely underway.

But the encouragement of a group of volunteers from Texas along with Kentucky Baptists who gave of their time warmed his heart in a big way.

“We ask that people keep praying for Mayfield, Ky., and surrounding areas affected by the Dec. 10, 2021, tornado outbreak, and we ask that they never forget us, nor those who have been through disasters like this one.”

Parkwood Baptist plugs into ministry in Central Asia

By Myriah Snyder/IMB

GASTONIA, N.C. (BP) – Parkwood Baptist Church has spent the last five years investing in and committing to ministry in Central Asia through partnership with International Mission Board teams. Church leaders say this intentional focus has allowed them to raise the ceiling on the help and encouragement they can provide ministry partners there.

Andrew Brafford, second from right, enters a village in Central Asia with the mission team from Parkwood Baptist. Parkwood Photo

“We chose to be a part of Central Asia,” said Andrew Brafford, global disciple-making pastor for Parkwood. “It was a conscious decision.”

The church focuses on the region in several ways. Under Senior Pastor Jeff Long’s leadership, Brafford met and connected with Winfield Scott, an IMB leader among those reaching Central Asian people groups. They observed the way his team did ministry, and Long and Brafford knew this was the place for Parkwood to plug in.

The church began by providing childcare for meetings of IMB workers. After seeing that the middle and high school missionary kids (MKs) only met together as a larger group once every three or four years, Parkway members knew they wanted to help provide more time for fellowship for the MKs of Central Asia. They soon began an MK retreat, which the church funds and hosts annually in that region.

Their involvement progressed to conversational English intensives, where they spend a week at a time engaging in conversations so nationals can practice their English. This not only provides avenues to share the Gospel, but it frees the missionaries up for language study and to do other aspects of cross-cultural ministry.

The church’s involvement has been a blessing, Scott said. He met Long at an IMB trustee meeting eight years ago.

“At the time they had minimal involvement with IMB teams but were looking to change that,” Scott said. Soon after their meeting, Long came on a vision trip to Central Asia.

“He and his leadership team loved the idea that there were Unreached People Groups (UPGs) with whom they could make a difference. The church has made our [region] their primary cross-cultural focus for disciple making and church planting,” Scott said.

In addition to sending multiple volunteer teams to support IMB teams dedicated to UPGs, they intentionally pray.

“They regularly pray for our personnel by name as a church. They are in this for the long haul,” Scott said.

Recently, a large group of personnel had to be relocated quickly. During the process, childcare support was a significant need.

“We called Parkwood on Monday. By Friday they had eight of their church members on the ground halfway around the world to help us. They came fully prepared to do whatever we asked of them,” Scott said, adding: “Parkwood Baptist Church also contributes hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. We love Parkwood Baptist Church and their biblical understanding of missions.”

Lately, the church has been shifting its focus from all of Central Asia to three specific UPGs. This gives their volunteers and prayer partners something specific to pray for and give toward while seeking to do their part in the Great Commission.

This missional focus is kept alive in the hearts of church members because, “The Gospel has fostered a heart for the nations,” Brafford said. From the pulpit, missions is being kept before the congregation. During prayer time, it’s the focus. In Growth Groups (the church’s discipleship program), missions is being discussed. The church members are hearing about their people groups of focus from their peers who have returned from trips.

“Prayer, investment and engagement” in missions in Central Asia undergird the heart of the church. And that is evidenced in tangible ways.

Churches looking to follow Parkwood’s example and increase their involvement with the IMB can do so in the following ways:

Some names may have been changed for security reasons.

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