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Southern Baptist missionaries do what it takes to witness

RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP)–“Whatever it takes” is more than just a theme for the Jericho mission conference. It’s a way of life for Southern Baptist missionaries at home and around the world.
Clyde and Ann Berkley served in Kenya 14 years. “Our motto was and is, do whatever it takes to love people. Just do it,” Ann said during an interview at Jericho, June 21-27 at Ridgecrest (N.C.) Baptist Conference Center.
“In Kenya, as in most countries, you can see the corruption and the poverty,” she said. “The worst part is, you can’t do anything about it because you’re a visitor in the country. But you can love people. Love is universal.”
The Berkleys are now in Richmond, Va., where Clyde serves at the International Mission Board offices as the associate for South Africa.
Ann noted, “My prayer when we were called to Africa was, ‘OK, Lord, whatever it takes to leave the U.S. and live in a foreign place; to send my children to boarding school and learn a new language and culture; to teach English to children and to love them.’
“When we were called back to the United States, my prayer was, ‘OK, Lord, whatever it takes to leave Africa and all the wonderful people; to reacquaint myself with American culture; to learn a new task.'”
David Buschman noted his goal in campus ministry at West Chester University, West Chester, Pa., “is to produce students who can take risks for God.”
“To do this, we have to do whatever it takes, meaning we try new things without finances. I have to live with the insecurity.”
The university campus is 15 miles west of Philadelphia and most students are from the Pennsylvania-New Jersey area. The Baptist Student Ministry has a leadership team and more than 30 students involved in discipleship and short-term mission projects.
“The Lord has used the thing I feared the most to teach me the most,” Buschman added, referring to the lack of financial security.
His wife, Lynn, refers to her ministry as “not just a job, it’s a lifestyle. We intentionally chose to live one block from campus so we can make every area of our life open to the students. This includes our home and our children.”
David and Laura Moench are doing whatever it takes in Scotland. In a land that once was the model for other Christian nations, churches are now warehouses, homes, bars, pubs and restaurants. “There are 40,000 college students in Glasgow,” Moench said. “Less than 3 percent attend church. This generation knows no absolute truth.”
“Our work is slow,” said Laura Moench. “Our job is to restore — to water, plant, weed and wait. It is discouraging because the people are apathetic. They don’t see their need for God.”
“Whatever it takes for us is prayer,” she added. “We pray for the people of Scotland and their apathy toward anything spiritual. And we pray for the spiritual revival of the country.”
Charlie and Wilma Goodin are doing whatever it takes to reach residents of Green Cove Springs, Fla. They had planned to retire and see the world in their motor home. Instead, they joined Campers on Mission and helped build churches and minister in campgrounds. Then, they were introduced to Mission Service Corps through the North American Mission Board.
“We have less time now than we did before we retired,” said Wilma. “We speak in churches all over Florida and encourage volunteers. We made a commitment to serve the Lord wherever we are in whatever way we can.
“We don’t concentrate on what we can or can’t do,” she added. “We concentrate on our church and community and what God is asking us to do.”
Debra McGuire is a Southern Baptist-endorsed chaplain serving the Marine Corps. “A military chaplain is constantly seeking to restore hope to the lost,” McGuire said. “My ministry is one of presence. I’m in the engine room where the temperature is around 130 degrees. I’m in the cockpit of an F18 with a Marine fighter pilot. And I’m in Annapolis at the Naval Academy providing counseling and Bible studies.
“Military chaplains can go anywhere the troops go,” McGuire said. “A lot of times doing whatever it takes is just showing up in my uniform with the cross on it. The soldiers know someone cares when they see the cross.”

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  • Lynne Jones