Be Careful What You Pray For; God Answers Prayers
After nearly being hit by a beer bottle thrown by a passing motorist, Nashville Police Officer Tim Sullivan began pursuit of the car not knowing the situation was an answer to prayer. As he pulled the motorist over, Sullivan saw the driver was crying and upset. "He'd been married 18 years, and his wife decided it was time to get a divorce," says Sullivan, a member of Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville, TN. A field sobriety test revealed the driver was sober, and Sullivan concluded the man hadn't seen the police car when he threw the bottle, so no citation was given. However, Sullivan, who had just prayed that week for a witnessing opportunity, saw a Divine appointment: He shared the plan of salvation. "He realized if he didn't do something with his life he was going nowhere," says Sullivan. "We talked about what Christ could do in his life. The motorist called my house a couple days later and told my wife it was probably the most important time in his life, being stopped by me." Sullivan credits Sunday school with encouraging his ministry.
Korean Prayer Life: Early and Often
by David Winfrey
Chun Kyu Sin prays more before 8 a.m. than most people pray all day. She and about 100 other members of First Baptist Church, Tacoma, WA, gather before sunrise weekdays and Saturdays for a prayer service that pastor Chang Sun Moon credits with the congregation's steady growth. "We love to pray together in unison," says Moon, the church's pastor since 1980. "This is really the power plant for our ministry." Some members arrive as early as 4:30 a.m. Others like Sin (pronounced "shin") start at 6 a.m. with a short service of hymns, message and directed prayer before personal prayer begins. At 6:30 a.m., the lights are dimmed, members take off their shoes, some lay down on mats and each begins praying. Through this prayer ministry, First Baptist has grown from 100 to 1,150, and members recently embarked on a building program for a 1,200-seat auditorium.
Bringing God to Death Row
Southern Baptist Prison Chaplain Russ Ford was recently featured in USA TODAY. Over the past 11 years, Ford has ministered to 20 men in their final days before execution. "These men are responsible for tragic death, in most cases involving beastly acts," the article quotes Ford. "But Christ died for all our sins. These men committed terrible sin, but they are not beyond God's love."
The Gospel Need was Too Great to Stay Retired
If anyone deserves to enjoy retirement, it's Reinaldo Medina. But, to him, his work is not finished as long as there is a need to be met. Medina established Mission Bautista Hispana Sion (Zion Hispanic Baptist Mission) 18 months ago in Miami Springs, FL. By last August, he'd baptized more than 50 converts, surpassing the half way mark of the church's goal to reach 100 people for Christ by the end of the year. Sion reaches out to refugees who have come to the United States. This ministry is important to Medina and his second wife, Tina, because they understand the hardships refugees face. On February 28, 1965, the Cuban government arrested and convicted Medina and 50 other pastors, missionaries and laymen on charges of being CIA spies. For the next 13 years, Medina was moved from prison to prison, living under unspeakable conditions, but still managing to make an impact for Christ wherever he went. He led worship services and circulated Bibles in prison with the goal that everyone hear the gospel. Says Medina: "At 70 years of age, years of mistreatment in prison plus two open heart surgeries show wear on the body, but I try to stay active. When I retired, I tried to slow down but the need is so great I felt I had to do something. The Lord has been with our church, giving us victory in winning souls."