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Volunteers needed to share gospel at Portugal’s EXPO ’98

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–About 10 million people from all over the globe are headed to Lisbon, Portugal, this summer. And Southern Baptists have the chance to use drama, puppetry, music and other creative ministries — as well as one-on-one witnessing — to share the gospel with them during EXPO ’98.
The Lisbon World Exposition — EXPO ’98 — will celebrate the world’s maritime heritage, focusing on the theme, “The Oceans, a Heritage for the Future.” The event is scheduled for May 22 to Sept. 30.
Nine volunteer teams of about 10 people each are needed to share the gospel with the 10 million visitors expected to attend the international exposition. The teams will work in conjunction with local churches and Southern Baptist missionaries in Portugal. The first team will depart the United States July 11.
“Because of Lisbon’s proximity to the Middle East and North Africa, many of those attending will be from countries otherwise closed to the gospel,” said Steve Ford, an International Mission Board missionary to Portugal. “And with English being the international language of travel, the language won’t be as much of a problem as if we were working strictly in Portugal.”
Mexico will be one of about 125 nations represented at EXPO ’98. Last year, 21-year-old Sheri Propp spent June sharing the gospel in Guadalajara, Mexico, as a member of an AweStar ministries drama team, in cooperation with the International Mission Board.
One grueling hot day, as the drama team neared a Guadalajara prison, all Propp could think about was being home in San Antonio, Texas, getting something to eat and avoiding the searing heat. But as the team ministered to inmates, God offered her an alternative attitude.
Propp suddenly realized that her team was on mission with God, who already was working in the prison. She recalled Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 9:22: “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.”
“I saw God’s power and grace overwhelm me,” Propp said. “I felt God’s joy and peace in me so strong I would do whatever he asked.”
As a result of the drama performance, dozens of prisoners heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and several accepted him as Savior.
EXPO ’98 will offer another avenue for Christians to tell lost souls about an eternal heritage with Jesus Christ. As a veteran volunteer, Propp recommends that Southern Baptists take advantage of such an opportunity.
“I’d encourage (Southern Baptists) to really seek to desire that God’s name would be glorified, and God’s name is glorified when the nations worship him,” she said. “It’s not just a summer adventure; it’s a command to go to the nations.”
Short-term volunteer missions projects offer an ideal opportunity for personal involvement in God’s mission of redeeming a lost world. A total of 17,265 short-term volunteers served overseas through the International Mission Board in 1997.
Southern Baptist youth and adults interested in volunteering during EXPO ’98 should contact the board’s Volunteers in Missions department. Call Bill Peacock or Anita Mahoney at 1-800-888-8657.

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  • Julie McGowan