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Book Excerpt: Leadership in the Black Church

Excerpt from the book: Leadership in the Black Church: Guidance in the midst of Changing Demographics, by Dr. Michael A. Evans, Sr.

African-American clergy are expected to be upfront and outspoken on issues of justice and equality to say the least. The reason it is different in the black community is because of the African-American church... [continue]

Hosting after Harvey

Almost 20 years ago, waters flooded Southeastern Texas as the effects of the Pacific Hurricane Madeline reverberated across the United States. As volunteers rushed toward the devastation, First Baptist Church of Victoria opened their doors to host the first responders. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, their heart to host remains... [continue]


El hogar. Un lugar diseñado no solo para ser un refugio, sino también para compartir comidas, conversaciones íntimas, grandes sueños y mucha alegría. Un lugar al que muchos están acostumbrados, sin pensar lo que sería no tenerlo, o tener uno que ha sido corrompido por el abuso.

Sin embargo, para muchos niños, el abuso es a lo que se han acostumbrado. La Fundación Poiema ayuda a aquellos que han enfrentado esta realidad. Se dedica a educar al público y fomentar la concientización del abuso sexual, el tráfico humano y otros métodos de explotación sexual.

Poiema, la palabra griega para “hechura”, es usada en Efesios 2:10 para describir cómo Dios nos creó: “Somos hechura de Dios, creados en Cristo Jesús para buenas obras, las cuales Dios ha preparado de antemano para nosotros&rdquo... [continue]

North Texas Ministry Provides Home, Healing, and Hope for Victims of Sexual Abuse

By Abby Hopkins

Home. A place meant not only for shelter but for shared meals, deep conversations, big dreams, and lots of laughter. A place many are accustomed to, never knowing what it would be like to not have one, or to have one corrupted by abuse.

However, for many children, this is what they are accustomed to. The Poiema Foundation assists those who have faced this reality. It starts by educating the public and raising awareness on sexual abuse, sex trafficking, and other methods of sexual exploitation... [continue]


La reciente ola de escándalos de asalto sexual debe ser un llamado a despertar al país con respecto a una verdad largamente ignorada: Nuestra obsesión sexual está fuera de control. Mientras la sociedad busca una explicación a esta tragedia, un culpable se esconde en las sombras. Ese culpable es la pornografía.

La pornografía se ha generalizado de una manera escandalosa, sobre todo en vista de la mayor disponibilidad de teléfonos celulares inteligentes y un casi ilimitado acceso a internet. Estudios recientes muestran que casi el 79 % de los varones jóvenes y el 34% de la población femenil joven de entre los 18 y 30 años de edad consumen pornografía de manera consistente. En el 2015, un solo sitio pornográfico de internet reportó una audiencia televisiva de 4.3 billones de horas; es decir, el equivalente a 500,000 años enfrente de la pantalla. Cuando el profesor Simon Lajeunesse intentó estudiar el impacto y alcance de la pornografía entre la gente joven hace unos años, se vio forzado a limitar su investigación debido al hecho de que no podía encontrar hombres de edad universitaria que no estuvieran ya consumiéndola. De hecho, no existía un grupo de prueba... [continue]

The Lord’s battle plan

By Beca Acuna, student missionary Go Now missions

In the last few years of college, I have heard a lot about spiritual warfare. We have had workshops about it at our BSM and Go Now training events, and I have talked about it with several friends who have served in various parts of the world. I still don’t completely understand what the Bible explains as our spiritual battle with things unseen, but I can definitely say that the Lord is teaching me a lot about the real war for people’s souls.

In December, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Georgia and serve at a Pregnancy Crisis Center for a week. This ministry (called The... [continue]

Mind for business, heart for ministry

By: Maxcey Blalock, Media & Communications Specialist, George W. Truett Theological Seminary

At Baylor’s Truett Seminary, student Lauren McCoy is able to unite her passion for business with her call to ministry, creating a unique opportunity to make a difference in the church.

As graduation day approached for University of Oklahoma international business major Lauren McCoy, she anticipated a future of finance and administration. She was interested in microfinance, a type of service that involves giving small loans to low-income individuals to help them start a business and support their families.

“That’s what my hope was, which... [continue]

More than meets the eye

By Caleb Seibert

The recent wave of sexual assault scandals should be a wake-up call to America of a long-overlooked truth: Our sexual obsession has spun out of control. As society searches for an explanation to this tragedy, one culprit lurks in the shadows. That culprit is pornography.

Pornography has become shockingly pervasive, and even more so with the rise of the smartphone and nearly limitless Internet access. A recent survey found that 79 percent of men and 34 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 30 view pornography on at least a monthly basis. A single pornographic website in 2015 reported 4.3 billion hours of viewership - the equivalent of 500,000 years of screen-staring. When Professor Simon Lajeunesse of the University of Montreal began to study porn’s impact on young men, he was hindered in his research because he could not find any men in their twenties who were not already looking at it.... [continue]

Moldova: God's niceness through the journey there

The story began about three years ago. I was a sophomore at the University of North Texas (UNT), in my rookie semester as an RA in the "artsy dorm" and I had decided to apply for GoNow Missions. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do or who I wanted to serve. I applied for a position in Jamaica because a friend of mine went the previous winter break and highly recommended it. However, I quickly discovered that the timing was not going to work out for that trip. So I ended up going to Discovery Day with absolutely no idea what position I was wanting or being called to... [continue]

The Impact Center: Meeting needs and making disciples

By Analiz G. Schremmer, Contributing Writer

The Impact Center at Christian Family Baptist Church in San Antonio ministers to local military members and their families each month through a feeding center.

“We work with veterans and active duty military - those are our primary clients,” said Christian Family Baptist Church Pastor Rob Johnson, a retired military veteran. “That’s always been the DNA of our ministry going on 15 years.”

"from the beginning, the key focus was to meet the needs in the community and make disciples"

The Impact Center, which is a Texas Baptist Hunger Offering ministry recipient, aims to feed clients... [continue]

Tea and the Gospel

The first day we were in Flushing, New York, my team prayer-walked around the city to find locations for conducting surveys the next day. We were conducting surveys about the new churches to be planted in that area, to determine how people felt about religion in general and new church plants. We prayed that people would take the time out of their busy lives to talk with us and have open hearts to hear about Jesus Christ... [continue]

Seeing God at work in the midst of challenges in Beaverton

I went on my first mission trip when I was eight years old. My parents introduced me to missions when they took me to Reynosa, Mexico with our Spanish church at the time. I was so heartbroken by seeing how the people we ministered to lived, and I could not help but gain a huge ambition to do whatever it took to help them while we were there. Since then, I have fallen in love with missions. ... [continue]

Sitting at the feet of Jesus

It was Christmas morning. There were 10 of us crowded into my grandmother’s toasty living room. The torn wrapping paper was piled high and the folded gift bags were stacked neatly to return to the box for next year. The smell of bacon and sausage filled the air and each of us sifted back through our hauls to see just how good Santa was this year... [continue]

Hope for the Holidays In Central Texas

When thinking about the holidays, our initial thoughts are often of joy and warm feelings. Time with family and friends and moments to reflect on the person of Jesus Christ naturally bring about peace. However, sometimes we may fail to recognize that many do not consider the holiday season a time of hope and rest if they struggle to meet physical needs of both themselves and their families... [continue]

Seeing a life transformed through care and love

By Marina Vega, Go Now Missionary

"M-a-r-i-n-aaaaaaa! Why we have to do math? My brain can't handle too much math. We always do math." These are the words of one of the girls I'm working with. Her name is Atlehang.  She is 13 years old and has been living in Restoring Hope Village for more than six years. She is one of the people who has impacted me the most in this trip. Knowing her past and seeing where she is right now, I can see how God is working in her. When they rescued her, she was living in very bad conditions. But with care and love, she is now a healthy young girl with new vision and purpose for her life.

Atlehang... [continue]

Recognizing grace in hardship: A refugee testimony of faith in Bidi Bidi

As the head of a 21-member household and pastor of a small, South Sudanese congregation in Bidi Bidi, Uganda, the largest refugee settlement in the world, Jeremy* faces many challenges. ... [continue]

Time to rebuild His house

One hurricane, one faith and one website was all it took to unite First Baptist Church of Grand Prairie and Trinity Baptist Church of Aransas Pass.

After Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast, “we immediately … spent time in our worship service praying for our brothers and sisters,” said Dr. Bill Skaar, pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Prairie... [continue]

For Beaumont church, Hurricane Harvey relief reflects heart for community

By John Hall, contributing writer

During the first service at Westgate Memorial Baptist Church following Hurricane Harvey’s devastating visit to Beaumont, Pastor Raymond McHenry made a promise to his congregation: He would not shave until every one of the four dozen families affected by the storm in the church was helped.

A beard emerged across McHenry’s face, but it would not be there long at the rate his congregation is responding. The stewardship committee approved $1,000 gifts to each affected family quickly after the storm to provide some immediate help. Church members have donated items, given financially to the relief... [continue]

Shining in the community in the midst of a disaster strike

By Kaitlyn DeHaven, Baylor University student

Rose City Baptist Church in Vidor, Texas, was in the process of rebuilding its church when disaster struck once again. Last year, the church suffered a catastrophic loss when 80 percent of the church burned down in a fire. Before Hurricane Harvey hit, it was three weeks away from reopening.

Tony Wilcoxson, pastor of Rose City Baptist, said that while there was a lot of hurt and pain that happened in his community, this aspect actually happened to be a blessing in disguise, because they had just put a new septic system in, which had provided them with 20,000 pounds of sand that could... [continue]

ETBU grad finds calm in chaos

By: Katelyn Cooper, ETBU senior business major

“I’m in New York City sitting in a room. It’s 10:00 a.m. and the CFO for the company walks in, and we knew that something was really wrong,” Peter Muriungi explained. “He said, ‘We have a problem, but everything will be fine.’ By 5:00 that evening, about $3 billion worth of investments were withdrawn as people called to get their money back. I got on a plane Thursday morning. I returned home Friday, and the company was sold for $2 per share. All my money and all I had ever done was in that company. That’s all I knew, so the crisis was probably the most dramatic change in my life.”


Assistant Chaplains encourage spiritual growth

By Grace Mitchell, Hardin-Simmons University Marketing Staff Writer 

At Hardin-Simmons University, the college years are not only a time for academic learning, but also a time for spiritual growth. In past years, ResLife has hired graduate students as chaplains in the dorms. This year, they have added a team of undergrads to serve as assistant chaplains in residence and encourage their peers in their spiritual walk.

One assistant chaplain works in each dorm, leading a weekly Bible study. They are also available for students who want to share a prayer request, talk about a struggle, or just go get coffee.

“The reason I wanted to... [continue]

FBC Refugio Regains Footing After Harvey

By Analiz G. Schremmer

Ninety to 95 percent of buildings in the small town of Refugio were damaged during Hurricane Harvey. That includes First Baptist Church Refugio, which lost most of its roof to the strong winds, rendering the building unusable.

“The storm essentially blew about three-quarters of the roof off the sanctuary, so the sanctuary was a total loss,” said FBC Pastor T. Wayne Price. “Our educational building was about one-fourth damaged. We still do not have the exact numbers, but we are talking about an interior rebuild. Everything in the sanctuary was destroyed.”

Price said the majority of his congregation was... [continue]


por David Adams and John Litzler el 8 de noviembre del 2017 ennews

El reciente tiroteo en la FirstBaptistChurch Sutherland Springs nos recordó de nuevo que aun los lugares de adoración pueden ser inseguros. También debemos recordar que las congregaciones de todos los tamaños y localidades deben tomar pasos para abordar la posibilidad de sufrir una violencia inimaginable. Entonces, ¿cómo debemos “esperar lo inesperado”?

Prepare un plan de acción de emergencia (EOP, por sus siglas en inglés) designado especialmente para su iglesia. Aunque ejemplos de planes pueden ayudar a identificar la magnitud de su propio plan, la... [continue]


Por Abby Hopkins

El pánico, miedo e incertidumbregeneral surgieron en los díasposteriores al 25 de agosto, cuando el huracán Harvey tocó tierra y superó las expectativas sobre su potencial de destrucción en Texas. Muchos experimentaron pérdidas devastadoras, y el Estado y el condado se vieron forzados a enfrentar la latente pregunta: ¿y ahora qué?

El ministerio Polk County Mission Center, también conocido como el Center of Hope in Livingston (Centro de Esperanza en Livingston, en español) respondió a la pregunta sirviendo. Para aquellos que habían perdido la esperanza, el centro proveyó recursospara recuperarla al establecerse a... [continue]

Hunger Offering partnering with Refuge and Hope for #GivingTuesday

By Abby Hopkins

Love, peace, and hope embody the character of the holiday season for believers in Christ. It is a wonderful reminder to those who long to embody those same qualities in their personal character. Jesus said,  “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13, NRSV).

While Jesus provided the ultimate sacrifice and perfect gift, he calls us to imitate his actions by laying down our priorities, desires, and needs for the sake of others. We, at Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, would love for you to join us in this “laying down” of self as we participate in #GivingTuesday.


Grief: A unique reaction to death or loss

By: Fay Green, MA, LPC, LMFT, FT

Grief is a unique, personal natural, normal, necessary reaction to death and loss. Death is a universal part of the human experience. Grieving is the internal reaction following a loss while mourning is an outward or public expression of thoughts and feelings regarding a loss.  Bereavement means to be torn apart or robbed, to be deprived of something or someone.  

Grief can be anticipatory, sudden or traumatic. Anticipatory grief is a normal response to an upcoming loss or death. With anticipatory loss, individuals have an opportunity to complete unfinished business. 

Sudden death or loss happens... [continue]

After the flood: Hunger Offering ministry serves victims of Hurricane Harvey

By Abby Hopkins

Widespread panic, fear, and uncertainty erupted in the days after Aug. 25, when Hurricane Harvey made landfall and surpassed expectations of its potential destruction in Texas. Many experienced devastating loss as the state and country were forced to face the lurking question — what next?

Polk County Mission Center, also known as Center of Hope in Livingston, answered the question by serving. For those who had lost hope, the center provided resources to bring it back by establishing themselves as a 24-hour distribution center that began Aug. 31.

Thomas Crow, treasurer of Polk County Mission Center, said... [continue]

5 ways to strengthen your church nominating committee

By Aaron Summers

Nominating Committees everywhere are starting to work hard to fill church positions. I have worked on both the local and state level in trying to uncover and discover and recover people to serve on various boards, agencies, teams, committees, and teaching slots. I have seen the good and bad side of filling positions. Often, we cherry pick the best people for certain positions and scramble to just fill the page. 


Somewhere in the deep recesses, we know there should be more people involved, but who has the time? In most cases in the church, there are two positions for every committee, plus trustees... [continue]

Is your pastor burdened with financial stress? The stats say Yes

By John Hall

Contributing Writer

Nine years ago, Darrel and Kim Auvenshine helped found Southside City Church in Fort Worth. The congregation primarily serves the impoverished, the down and out and the homeless.

Hour after hour, day after day, week after week, Pastor Darrel pours his heart into the lives of others. He’s a networker, counselor, pastor and encourager. He’s the guide who continually points people to Christ, the man who seeks to meet everyone’s needs. Except his own.

Darrel and his wife always put others first, stretching their finances thin to improve the lives of others. Then the bivocational pastor lost his job... [continue]

Strengthening families in times of need

By Vicki Hewitt, STCH Ministries

When a single mom and her children first arrive at Homes for Families, a program of STCH Ministries, desperation often accompanies them. Dreams of a better life have worn thin from years of crises, trauma and anxiety. Yet the moment they choose to reach out for help, rather than continue to go it alone, a shift begins to take place.

For most of the moms, the motivation to give up their chaotic, familiar world for something unfamiliar comes from their desire to give their children a different, better life.

Current resident Amanda, a mother of four, shared that she came from a situation of abuse... [continue]

Room in our hearts to love our neighbors

By Jacob West, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Stamford

About to rupture

Every summer my family heads to the beach for a week to relax and recharge. The waves provide never-ending delight for our children. Smiles stretch across their tanned faces throughout our time together. Before leaving this past summer, I took our aged GMC Yukon in for an inspection. Once the Yukon passed inspection, the West family was on its way. The trip went routinely. I knew the way.

Along the route we stopped at a gas station and I began to fill the tank. As I finished cleaning the windows, the pump shut off, but something was wrong. Unbeknownst to... [continue]

Thank you for dinner, Texas Baptists -- from Uganda

Hunger Offering Enables Refugee Women to Share a Meal

By Jaclyn R. Bonner

As a former Texas Baptist Hunger Offering intern, I can swiftly list the statistics of how many people are malnourished worldwide, how many families in Texas are food insecure, and how many ministries the Hunger Offering helps fund. A selection of inspirational stories of how God is using the Hunger Offering to mobilize ministries to transform lives is also readily on my mind. The Hunger Offering has impacted me, moved me, and challenged me. This month, it fed me.

I came to Kampala, Uganda, at the beginning of September to serve as a Go Now Missions... [continue]


Por Caleb Seibert

El 30 de septiembre, el Congreso permitió que el financiamiento para el Programa de Seguro de Salud para Niños (CHIP, por sus siglas en inglés) expirara en todos los Estados Unidos. CHIP provee cobertura a niños y familias que no reúnen los requisitos para obtener Medicaid debido a sus ingresos, pero no ganan suficiente para pagar un seguro de salud. Muchos legisladores en Washington le han asegurado al público que el programa será financiado de nuevo pronto, pero los desacuerdos en el Congreso amenazan con prolongar el asunto.

El subsecuente periodo de espera e inseguridad del programa tienen... [continue]

Caring for All God’s Children: Children’s Health Insurance Program needs authorization

By Caleb Seibert

On Sept. 30, Congress allowed funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to expire throughout the United States. CHIP provides coverage to children and families who have too much income to qualify for Medicaid but not enough money to pay for health insurance. Many policymakers in Washington have assured the public that the program will be refunded soon, but disagreements in Congress threaten to prolong the issue.

The subsequent waiting period and program insecurity have significant implications for Texas and the thousands of women and children reliant on CHIP-funded healthcare. One of the CLC’s... [continue]

Congregation loses everything but hope

By Analiz G. Schremmer, Contributing Writer

“Winter is coming.” That is the phrase that Pastor David Maldonado kept repeating. It was a plea for help; a cry to God. Maybe both.

In August, Iglesia Bautista Jesus de Nazaret in Houston was struck by Hurricane Harvey. The church building took on three feet of water and almost everything inside was destroyed.

“We saved one of the speakers, two microphones and my guitar,” Maldonado said. “Now, on Sundays my brother-in-law brings another guitar that he borrowed and my brother borrows a base.” It is just enough to hold a worship service in the church pavilion every Sunday since the... [continue]

The Truth No One Wants to Hear or Talk About

By Dawn Irons, M.A., LPC

It’s been 48-hours since the knock on the door, and yet it seems a lifetime ago. It was a persistent knock that would not go away. I made my way to the door, still in my pajamas, and when I opened the door I saw the people gathered around my daughter and holding her up. I ran to them to see what was going on.

They explained how they had been driving down the road and they saw her collapsed in the middle of the street. Her body was involuntarily shaking and she was unable to make clear sentences. It was something I had recognized before. I made eye contact with my daughter and asked her if she had been... [continue]

Evaluations within your church

By Aaron Summers

We all must do them and have them done to us. In church life, this tends to be tricky and messy.  We have borrowed so many terms from the business world that we are fuzzy on the real issues before us. We use terms such as personnel, finance, human resources, etc. It is no wonder we have easily shifted into a cultural version of evaluative measures.

Every year, churches come to this point and feel they must do an evaluation on those who receive a salary. I certainly understand and accept accountability.  We should be holding one another accountable. However, the criteria of the accountability are shifting toward... [continue]

Compassion and service after the hurricane

By John Hall, Contributing Writer

When disaster strikes, First Baptist Church in Athens jumps into high gear.

The congregation often responds to needs in the wake of disaster through Texas Baptist Men. So when it saw the widespread devastation left behind by Hurricane Harvey, it did what comes naturally – sought to meet the needs of hurting people.

“A lot of church members have friends down there, they have family down there that’s been affected,” said Steve Akin, the church’s minister of missions.

Because of the proximity of the damage, First Baptist Church and other area congregations worked together through Southeast Texas... [continue]

FBC Mineola joins other churches rallying around Pine Drive Baptist Church in Dickinson

By John Hall, Contributing Writer

The devastation sustained by Pine Drive Baptist Church in Dickinson can be summed up with one word: Total.

“We’ve got a sanctuary,” Pastor Ted Duck said. “Then we have a separate building that’s a gymnasium/activity center. Then we have a Christian school, which is where our offices are. We got 51 inches of water. It wiped out everything we have. Everything.”

Everything except the congregation’s belief in God. In the wake of the storm, God continues to meet the church’s needs in remarkable ways. Congregations from across Texas and scattered across the United States have donated money, materials... [continue]


PorJesús Romero

Edith Franco tenía solo ocho años de edad cuando su familia cruzó la frontera sur de los Estados Unidos con el fin de buscar trabajo y un mejor futuro hace 17 años. Ha vivido en los Estados Unidos la mayor parte de su vida, y en el 2012 recibió un beneficio migratorio conocido como DACA (Acción Diferida para los Llegados en la Infancia). DACA le dio el beneficio de un permiso de trabajo, lo que le ayudó a obtener empleo, una licencia de conducir y una tarjeta de seguro social. DACA no conduce a nadie a la ciudadanía, pero sí le confiere estatus legal temporal a mucha gente joven.

DACA es un beneficio otorgado... [continue]

BSM volunteers from across Texas help with Harvey Recovery

By Analiz G. Schremmer

When they walked into this house, one thing was clear to the volunteers from the University of Houston’s Baptist Student Ministry: The homeowner was overwhelmed to the point of paralysis.

“There were dead fish in the house,” said UH BSM Director Shannon Rutherford. “The drywall hadn’t been taken down. No progress had been made yet, even though it had been several days since the storm.

“We asked the homeowners how they were doing. They just stared and looked like, ‘I don’t know.’ So we told them, ‘We can do this together. We can take this out and there is a plan to start over.’”

About 25 students from UH... [continue]

Dreamers need our compassion

By Jesús Romero

Edith Franco was only 8 years old when her family crossed from Mexico into the United States to find work and a better future 17 years ago. She has lived in the U.S. most of her life, and in 2012 she received an immigration benefit known as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). DACA provided a work permit that enabled them to get a job, obtain a driver's license and a Social Security card. It was not a pathway to citizenship, but it was temporary legal status.

DACA is the benefit granted to dreamers, or children who, through no fault of their own, had come to the United States with their parents and have... [continue]

Texas Baptist family circles around new pastor, church affected by Hurricane Harvey

by John Hall, Contributing Writer

Ryan Chandler’s first pastorate began like few – if any – others. To begin with, it began before it started.

Chandler moved to Orange Aug. 26, more than two weeks before he was to become pastor of Trinity Baptist Church. Three days later, Hurricane Harvey dumped more than 20 inches of rain on the city, flooding homes and destroying cars.

The pastor-to-be and his family evacuated to San Antonio. He returned to a city largely without power or water Sept. 3.

“It was just crazy around Orange,” he said. “Our house wasn’t flooded, thank goodness. But the city was a disaster zone. Streets were... [continue]

Finding an answer to the call to ministry

By Terry GoodrichAssistant Director of Media Communications, Baylor University

Richard Baggett and his wife, Miwes, were on an RV vacation in summer 2016, standing on Deception Pass Bridge in Washington and marveling at the view. Then Baggett’s phone rang.

The caller, a supervisor with Christian Resort Ministries International, wondered whether Baggett would be willing to tackle a start-up ministry for an RV park in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, where “snowbirds” from northern states seek warmer climates in winter.

The year before, at age 70, Baggett had completed a two-year ministry certificate program at Baylor’s George W. Truett... [continue]

Physical and spiritual healing through medical missions

By Analiz SchremmerContributing Writer

ACUNA - Dr. Luis Arturo Davila has two demanding medical jobs, and also finds time to volunteer at his church, lead a Bible study for his patients and spend two weekends a month doing medical clinics for the impoverished in Acuna, Mexico through Texas Baptists River Ministry.

“We work all morning, sometimes 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. One time we saw as many as 200 patients in one day,” said Davila, who serves with his wife, Nurse Imelda Cruz de Davila.

Davila, 50, has worked in the hospital for 26 years and is only two years from retirement, but shows no sign of slowing down.

“Medical work is a... [continue]

Sanidad física y espiritual por medio de las misiones médicas

Por Analiz SchremmerAutora colaboradora

ACUNA—El Dr. Luis Arturo Dávila tiene dos trabajos médicos exigentes, y además encuentra  tiempo para hacer trabajo voluntario en su iglesia, guiar un estudio bíblico para sus pacientes y pasar dos fines de semana al mes haciendo clínicas médicas para los pobre en Acuna, México a través del Ministerio del Río de los Bautistas de Texas.

“Trabajamos toda la mañana, a veces desde las 8 a.m. hasta las 8 p.m. Una vez vimos hasta 200 pacientes en un día”, dijo Dávila, quien sirve con su esposa y enfermera, Imelda Cruz de Dávila.

Dávila, de 50 años de edad, ha trabajado en el hospital durante 26... [continue]

God’s plan for prisoners

By Dr. Gloria de la PeñaHealth Care Missionary in Piedras Negras / Acuña, Mexico

I was walking downtown when someone called my name.

It was Nancy. She looked so different outside of her prison uniform.

I met Nancy when she started her ministry to prisoners. We had lost touch years ago, when Nancy was transferred to Las Islas Marías, a prison where people have little contact with the outside world and usually spend the rest of their lives.

Nancy had had an on-again, off-again relationship with the Lord, and this is where he wanted her to be.

He used this time to mold and shape her life. Although she had no Bible, she started... [continue]

5 maneras de reducir la demanda de tráfico laboral

By Nell Green

La transportación, la tecnología y la comunicación nos hacen a todos ciudadanos globales. No podemos ignorar la injusticia que marginaliza y victimiza a aproximadamente 14 millones de personas, escribe Green.

Un camión se detiene en el estacionamiento de Wal-Mart en San Antonio en el calor ardiente del mes de julio.

Un hombre sediento, desesperado por un vaso de agua, logra llegar al interior de la tienda a pedirlo. Se descubre que el camión está lleno de gente; ocho ya están muertos, dos murieron más tarde, y otros estaban en condición crítica; probablemente sufrirían daños permanentes... [continue]

Developing a love for literacy in Del Rio

By Analiz G. Schremmer

DEL RIO–When a family is struggling to put food on the table, stocking the house with interesting literature while fostering a love of reading in their children isn’t usually a priority.

“You can’t normally find a bookshelf in low income housing,” said Janeene Young, who started a literacy program with her husband, Shon, last summer. “Most of these children don’t own their own books.”

The 2016 summer program for children grades 1-5 lasted for 10 weeks and served more than 45 children in three different subsidized housing communities in Del Rio.

Shon Young, Texas Baptists River Ministry missionary for... [continue]

Running the race to fulfill God’s calling

By Cheryl Nafzinger

"The South Texas School of Christian Studies has made it possible for me to pursue my theological education in a timely and affordable manner. This institution has polished the brass on my trumpet which I so proudly continue to sound.” - Eric Tarver.

For Eric Tarver, the South Texas School of Christian Studies was not the starting line of ministry: it was the third lap.

Lap one - The Call

He had a rich heritage in ministry. He came from three generations of preachers and his grandfather led churches all around the Bastrop area. Two of his brothers entered the ministry. But God’s call is never genetic or... [continue]

More than a Meal: Hunger Offering Ministry in Irving Transforms Lives

By Jaclyn Bonner

He came with a humble grin, $60, and one request – “pray for me.”

Jerry* was a changed man. His face was familiar to Ruby, a board member and volunteer at Crisis Ministries, an effort of Baptist Benevolent Ministries of Irving supported by Dallas Baptist Association, but his demeanor had been transformed.

When Jerry began coming to Crisis Ministries for food relief services, he was disrespectful, angry, and prideful. Even though Ruby invested time in Jerry’s life by sharing the gospel with him and showing him dignity by acknowledging him as “Mr.,” the young man remained callous and bitter.

This time, Jerry... [continue]

Grasping the depth of lostness and urgency for the Gospel

By Madi

John writes about the Samaritan woman's encounter with Jesus, in the Gospel of John and most the focus is how He rescued her from sin. But have you ever stopped to think about why Samaria? Why that woman?

I spent this last summer in the Middle East.  I met a friend who drew me back to this story over and over again. She was beautiful and kind, eclipsing all the generosity the region is known for.

One evening she invited two friends and I to the evening breaking of fast during Ramadan. After eating, we sat around, played with her toddler brother, and chatted. I asked her what her greatest dream in life was, and the... [continue]


Por JaclynBonner

Abandonados, aislados y solos: este es el destino de miles de niños en Sierra Leona que han quedado huérfanos como resultado del mortal virus del ébola. A pesar de que el temibleébola ya no es uno de los prominentes encabezados internacionales, los devastadores efectos del brote han cambiado las vidas de miles de personas.

Un reporte del 2015 indicó que más de 12.000 niños en Sierra Leonahabían perdido por lo menos a uno de sus cuidadores primarios debido a la enfermedad. El huérfano del ébola promedio tiene 9 años de edad. El ministerio Esperanza Restaurada (Restore Hope en inglés), un ministerio cristiano... [continue]

Seeing the impact of investing in Tahoe City

I have spent a chunk of my life working with children in various aspects. When I went off to college, I learned the important skill of investing in people and through multiple interventions by God, I finally started investing time in children.

This summer has been full of investing in children, and God has really shown me lately how important it is. You see, investing in all people is important and needed. We should definitely do that with people of all races, nationalities and ages, but when we invest in children, we get the unique opportunity to be apart of building their foundation and building their frame of reference.

This... [continue]

Campers impact volunteers at Special Friends Retreat

By Ruth Whorton

There are some things in life that make you smile so much your face hurts. These joyful life moments are precious and rare, and the Special Friends Retreat is one of these experiences.

Through support from the Mary Hill Davis Offering and Texas Baptists’ Cooperative Program funding, the Special Friends Retreat is a product of the Texas Baptists Special Needs Ministry which provides an on-level camp experience for people with special needs. The Special Friends Retreat began 41 years ago with 30 campers. Today, there are 400 who attend every year at two locations.

Denny Byers, a camper at Special Friends, looks... [continue]

Answered prayers for softened hearts

By Rachel Scott

In West Africa, people walk around leisurely and talk to everyone they encounter to show them they are important. They do this a lot, so now that we have become more a part of their community, we get to do it as well. It affords us the opportunity to tell stories about Jesus.

One evening, we were making a circuit of the compounds at the far end of our village. We left one compound after an hour and a half of talking and we were feeling really discouraged. We wanted them to know the truth so badly and it seemed like they're trying to understand but something was in the way. As we walked through another compound... [continue]

Short-term Project, Long-term Investment: Hunger Offering provides hope, healing for Ebola orphans

By Jaclyn Bonner

Abandoned, isolated, alone -- this is the fate of thousands of children in Sierra Leone who have been orphaned by the deadly Ebola virus. Although the Ebola scare is no longer prominent in international headlines, the devastating effects of the outbreak have changed a surfeit of lives.

A 2015 report* found that more than 12,000 children in Sierra Leone have lost at least one primary caregiver to the disease. The average Ebola orphan is 9 years old.

Restore Hope, a faith-based ministry that serves Ebola orphans in Sierra Leone, explains that children lose more than just their parents to the disease. The... [continue]

Sharing the Gospel on a soccer field in Zambia

By Tim Williams

God is good. He truly is strong when we are weak (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Today was my lowest day yet. I felt lonely. I felt weak. I felt bitterness. I continued thinking of home, family and friends. I felt discouraged.

But, God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) Thank you, Lord, for my national teammate David. Our program today got cancelled, so David came over around 13:30 so we could look for some ministry opportunities. Before he came and before we left, I prayed that God would glorify himself in whatever we did. I prayed that he would make... [continue]

Go Now partnership allows Korean students to serve in Texas

By Ruth Whorton

Jinjoo Oh is a university student. She works two jobs, has a curiosity for new cultures, and she is active in her local church. She has a deep love for God and missions with a smile that radiates. She feels lonely sometimes, but clings to prayer. She had an experience this summer that redefined and expanded her view of our God.

While she is a college summer missionary serving with Go Now missions, she is not from Texas or even from America. Jinjoo is from South Korea.

Jinjoo traveled 6,777 miles from South Korea to Texas, arriving in Austin on May 29. Through the summer, she served with youth and children at... [continue]

A Christian response to hunger: How church ministry is distinguished from cultural trends

By Jaclyn Bonner

Lately, I have been thinking about culture and faith.

I just finished perusing Leviticus and am journeying again through Numbers. These two Old Testament books, perhaps more than other parts of the Bible, are challenging to read, understand, and apply. The meticulous law, the priesthood rituals, and the early history of the Israelites can seem archaic, mundane, and irrelevant.

However, I am discovering how much the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) emphasizes God’s desire for holiness. Holiness is to be set apart. It is to be separate from the world. However, holiness is not a call to negligence... [continue]


Por Jaclyn Bonner

Isaías 58 es un llamado a ir más allá de los hábitos religiosos culturales y vivir activamente la fe por medio de la restauración de la justicia, el compartir alimentos con los hambrientos y cuidar a los desamparados. Este conmovedor pasaje revela el corazón de Dios, y del mismo modo expresa verdades inmutables y enseñanzas para todas las épocas. Inspiró a la Iglesia Bautista Roya Haven en Farmers Branch para proveer las necesidades de la comunidad a su alrededor por medio de un ministerio de la  Ofrenda contra el Hambre de los Bautistas de Texas al que se le puso el nombre de i58 debido al pasaje en... [continue]

The method does not change the message

By Ruth Whorton

In a society that is seeing a decline in the number of youth who attend church, news of effective evangelism outreach is an encouragement to all. First Missionary Baptist Church (FMBC) in Fort Worth saw the Lord work in ways far beyond expected at the beginning of the summer through a summer concert, where 22 youth came to know the Lord.  

The Saturday after school ended in Fort Worth, FMBC hosted Christian rap and hip-hop artists at their first ever Summer Jam concert. The event was hosted for youth in the community who were not involved in church.

The heart behind the concert came from an effort to “get out of... [continue]

Finding hope on the side of the road

By Analiz G. Schremmer

Baby Benjamin was abandoned on the side of the road wearing nothing but a small white blanket and bearing a note saying that anyone who wanted him, could have him.

“He was found by the villagers who passed by the road and informed the local authority,” said Rosy Lyn Htut, caseworker for Love for Myanmar. “They took the baby to one of our children’s homes called Kid’s Life.

“The home caregiver once showed me the baby photo when they first found him. He was so skinny, having sores on his whole body. He was about to die, and he couldn't even cry because not enough strength.”

Htut added that another baby... [continue]

Making missions possible through Mary Hill Davis Offering scholarships

By Analiz G. Schremmer

Any student who has benefitted from a scholarship knows what an enormous difference it can make. When that scholarship funds a mission trip, the outcome can be eternal.

Luis Juarez was once the recipient of a Mary Hill Davis Offering scholarship. Today, he is currently Director of Missions and Ministries at Baptist University of the Americas (BUA) and is able to see the impact that the scholarship continues to have in the lives of students.

“This scholarship makes mission work possible for a lot of students,” Juarez said. “Without it, they wouldn’t be able to experience missions and receive funding for... [continue]

Thank you for investing in future generations

By Katie Burkhead

Thank you, Texas Baptists!

When I think of my experience at the University of Texas at Austin, I think of more than my major, my classes, the all-nighters I’ve pulled and the stress I have endured. I always think of my time at the Baptist Student Ministry and how God has used the people there to shape me, challenge me, encourage me and help me pursue God with all that I am. As a young freshman, I (naively) thought that I was following Jesus pretty well and that this was how I would follow Him for the rest of my life. After all, I had been raised in the church, read my Bible most days and went on trips with my... [continue]

Being an industrious pastor

By Danny Reeves

An oxymoron is the combination of contradictory words that have been linked together.

You probably already know a few of these such as jumbo shrimp, pretty ugly, working vacation, or humble Texan, but have you ever considered this one? Lazy pastor.

There is no doubt that a healthy church is not possible with an unhealthy pastor or a lazy pastor. So as a fellow pastor within the Texas Baptists family, I want to take this subject head on with you and encourage the idea of being an industrious pastor.

I want to talk about three principles that pastors must adopt to be diligent and not lazy. First, pastors have to... [continue]

Training DBU business students to serve in the marketplaces of the world

By Ross O’Brien, Ph.D.Director, Center for Business as MissionDallas Baptist University

It has become apparent that too many Christians in the business world believe they are an auxiliary to mission work. They think of themselves as providing means and finances, but they rarely view themselves as missionaries. 

Jesus’ commandments to serve others in Matthew 25 and to make disciples among all peoples in Matthew 28 were not directed solely to those employed by churches or mission agencies.

Incredibly, all followers of Jesus have the privilege and responsibility of serving God in these ways, and He has equipped each one of us with... [continue]

Filling Hearts through Lunch Program

By Analiz G. Schremmer

Contributing Writer

Every Wednesday, at least 300 people line up outside of New Light Baptist Church of Lubbock for a sack lunch. They receive food, but are also served a helping of love, respect and kindness.

“I don’t care what they look like or what their hygiene is like, we will treat them with dignity and respect,” said New Light Baptist Church Pastor Kenneth Jackson. “I think a lot of them are shocked by the reception they get; but we are Christians so we are supposed to be full of compassion.”

The Love and Lunch program started in 2008  with a distribution of 15 sack lunches. Jackson said 337 were... [continue]


Por Jaclyn Bonner

“Es la primera vez que he escuchado a los niños reír”, dijo el gerente del complejo de los apartamentos. A pesar de que tanto las familias de refugiados de África como los inmigrantes del sur de Centroamérica son recién llegados al área de Houston, su vecindario carece de sentido de comunidad y orgullo. 

En una semana, el Proyecto Refugiados de Houston, con la ayuda de voluntarios de la Iglesia Bautista Meadow Oaks en Temple, revitalizó la comunidad fragmentada de refugiados con un campamento para niños. Cincuenta niños y adolescentes de 2 a 18 años de edad de diversas etnicidades rieron, jugaron y se... [continue]

Texas Baptist church lives out Isaiah 58

By Jaclyn Bonner

Isaiah 58 is a call to go beyond cultural religious habits and actively live out faith by restoring justice, sharing food with the hungry, and attending to the homeless. This poignant passage reveals God’s heart, as well as expresses immutable truths and timeless instruction.

It inspired Royal Haven Baptist Church in Farmers Branch to address the needs of the surrounding community by starting a Texas Baptist Hunger Offering ministry called i58, after Isaiah 58.

When church members learned many families in the community face food insecurity and children in local schools are often hungry over the weekends,... [continue]

The continued ministry of Super Summer

By: Ruth Whorton

Twenty-one years ago, John Davison attended Super Summer for the first time. Then, in 1997, he accepted God’s call on his life to ministry while at Super Summer. Davison is now the middle school pastor at Sherman Bible Church and brings students to Super Summer year after year.

He is very invested in Super Summer because of the incredible impact the ministry makes around the state through the students who attend.

“Super Summer stirs student’s affections for Christ. Knowing there are others who are on the same mission as they are motivates them,” Davison said.

Super Summer taught Davison the importance of... [continue]

Being faithful to ordinary tasks as a missionary in Arizona

By: Brayant Lopez

These first days of our mission trip we have been living in an apartment complex very similar to the one that I live at back home. It is a two-bedroom apartment composed of a kitchen, living room, bathroom and even a TV. The only difference is that I do not have as many distractions as I would in my apartment back home.

Another similarity that we have (and many of us have) is our neighbors–those people which we see every morning and sometimes throughout the day. However, there are some slight differences with these neighbors. For example, they tend to dress in very vivid colors with different kind of fabrics... [continue]

Welcome Neighbor: Hunger Offering Meets Needs, Fosters Community Among Refugees

By Jaclyn Bonner

“It is the first time I have heard the children laughing,” said the apartment complex manager. Although the African refugee families and South and Central American immigrants are all newcomers to Houston, their residence lacks a sense of community and pride.

In one week, the Houston Refugee Project, with assistance of volunteers from Meadow Oaks Baptist Church in Temple, revitalized the fragmented refugee community through a children’s camp. Fifty children and adolescents ages 2-18 years old from diverse ethnicities laughed, played, and had fun together.

This brought their families together for the first... [continue]

Feeling thankful and complete through ministry

By:  Danielle French

10:40 p.m. – My eyes want to crumble. My body is ready to shatter with just one touch. I’ve never felt so drained. I’ve never felt so exhausted. Yet, I’m content. I’m not worried about how tomorrow goes, or what I’ll have to do.

I feel at peace with the fact that it is an honor to serve here and build these relationships. It is an honor to reflect Christ’s light onto all of these children, teens and adults. It is an honor to feel like I am about to collapse, but still feel the Holy Spirit working in me, pushing me through it. It is an honor spending the summer working my soon to be shattered body, and slowly... [continue]

From India to Arlington: Serving an undeniable God

By:  Ruth Whorton

ARLINGTON - Originally from India, Lokesh Ganta is a master’s student at Texas A&M Kingsville who came to the United States to study engineering. With many financial obligations, Lokesh was prepared to work all summer to earn tuition money for the upcoming fall semester. Little did he know how the Lord would work in his life to change the course of his summer.

Through Texas A&M Kingsville’s Baptist Student Ministry (BSM), Lokesh was connected with Go Now Missions. Go Now is a Texas Baptists mission sending program for college students supported by the Mary Hill Davis Offering. Lokesh felt called to participate... [continue]

I did not sign up for this

By: Jenifer Wilkes

I have made it to another weekend. It has been long. It has not been what I thought it was going to be, but here we are. There have been multiple times this week that I have said to myself “I did not sign up for this.”

Here are some examples:

  • I did not sign up to do data entry.
  • I did not sign up to clean bathrooms every Monday through Friday.
  • I did not sign up to live with 12 girls.
  • I did not sign up to live, work, worship, etc., all in the same building.
  • I did not sign up to listen to a pre-school child tell me a story we had to report to CPS.
  • I did not sign up to cook for 12 girls.
  • I did
... [continue]

Pastors & Ministry Dads: 5 Things Your Kids Need From You

By: Carrie Austin

As a pastor’s kid, I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly of church life. Like many PK’s, I struggled through rebellion and making my faith my own. I have felt the sting of “godly” people doing ungodly things and the heartache and confusion of my own family being their target. I understand, now, the financial toll of a sacrificial life of ministry. I can also say that I have seen the fulfillment and passion that that same life can bring.  

My parents were not perfect by any means--they would be the first to admit their failures-- but as a product of their life of ministry, I can say there is so much that... [continue]

BOUNCE students renovate homes in Dallas community

By: Courtney Reeves

Teenagers travelled to Dallas for the summer, not to shop or catch a baseball game, but to work on remodeling houses. The week of June 12-17 saw three youth groups come to the Metroplex as a part of BOUNCE Student Disaster Recovery, a Texas Baptists Missions program.

BOUNCE students worked at three locations in Dallas, which were selected by the City of Dallas’ People Helping People. One of these three homes belongs to 81-year-old Wilma Curry. Curry lived in her house since 1965 and said this was the first time anything had been done for it.

She praised the BOUNCERS, calling the new paint and siding on her... [continue]

Allowing God to use inadequacies for His glory in Leeds

By:  Seth Grant

During our first week in Leeds, Paul and I would walk every morning from our host home to the Emmanuel Centre, the university chaplaincy headquarters. On one such walk, I became terribly aware that none of my clothes fit. At least, that was how they felt: oversized, almost oppressive, tailored for a man far more substantial than I.

In many ways, that was my ever-present struggle on this trip. The clothes never seemed to fit. I am, by nature, a shy, reserved, look-before-I-leap creature of habit with an utter lack of confidence in social interactions; Leeds called me to be a gregarious, warm, adaptable risk-taker... [continue]

How our church found a new strategy to welcome guests

By: Aaron Summers

We noticed a new trend in our church on Sunday mornings. Fewer guests were filling out the communication cards we had in the pews. We had guests, and plenty of them, but there was no way to follow up if we did not have any information from them.

Our church likes to take gift bags to guests at their home. I have intentionally instructed our people that most people today do not want us in their home, but would receive a gift at their home. We believe in building relationships. We have more and more young families moving in the surrounding neighborhoods of our church and we want to share the love and joy of Jesus... [continue]


(El nombre y el lugar se han encubierto por razones de seguridad).

El agua potable es vital. En una de las villas en el sureste de Asia, el agua potable llevó a una comunidad a la iglesia. Una iglesia nueva en un área rural del sureste de Asia instaló un sistema de filtración de agua para su comunidad en el frente de la propiedad de la iglesia. Querían compartir su esperanza y fe en Cristo, y ser una bendición para una comunidad que dudaba y recelaba de la presencia de esta iglesia.

El proyecto Southeast Asia Water Relief (Proyecto de Alivio de Recursos Hidráulicos en el Sureste de Asia, en español), un ministerio de la... [continue]

Dreams of Jesus in South Asia

Today marks one week since we left Dallas for this great adventure! Each day, we wake up to prayer walk and evangelize in the slums from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The people here are friendly and willing to talk. Let me share one encouraging story with you before we head out for another day.

On our second day of evangelizing in the slums, we met a woman who said we could pray and share the Good News with her. She listened politely but was not interested.

While we were talking to her, however, the woman who lived next door popped her head out the door and waved for us to come in. We went in with our translator and found out that this... [continue]

Living water brings hope in Southeast Asia

(Author’s name and location are withheld for security reasons.)

Clean water is essential for life. In one Southeast Asian village, clean water brought a community to church.

A newly established church in rural Southeast Asia requested a community-sized clean water filtration system be installed on the front lawn of their church. They desired to share their hope and faith in Christ and wanted to be a blessing to a community that was uncertain and fearful of their presence.

The Southeast Asia Water Relief project, a Texas Baptist Hunger Offering ministry, partnered with different organizations and local church leaders to... [continue]

Healthy Bodies, Healthy Churches

When your child is sick, you begin a process of gathering information so you can determine what is wrong with her and what your next steps should be. Perhaps one of your first steps is to check her temperature. If the number on the thermometer is close to 98.6° you can relax a little and move on to your next step in making her more comfortable. If the numbers are too high, you know your child is not healthy and you need to act quickly. Numbers can be very helpful. They make good gauges and guides, but they make poor goals. Your child’s health is your goal, not the numbers on the thermometer.

The same is true in the church. Numbers... [continue]

Truth to be obeyed, not advice to be heeded

Some people have a sweet tooth; I have teeth made of sugar. My grande white chocolate mocha with extra whip and an extra pump of white chocolate epitomizes this. When the barista announces my coffee flavored sugar drink before the morning rush crowd, a tinge of shame comes over me. However, this shame subsides when she announces the next order – a no foam, soy milk latte at 91 degrees with two packets of Splenda and a light sprinkling of hazelnut.

Who would have thought warmed bean water could be so customizable?

Such is life in 2017. We know what we like, how we like it, and we expect the barista to serve our drink to us our... [continue]

Fearfully and wonderfully made: Empowering a new mother to celebrate life

When 19-year-old Angela* came to the Life Design Program, a Buckner Children & Family Services program supported by Baylor Scott & White Health, she was seven months pregnant and had nowhere to live. She moved back to Dallas after dropping out of college due to her unintended pregnancy and felt that plans for her life had taken a drastic detour.

Angela was bouncing from place to place, sleeping on friends’ couches, all the while continuing to progress in her pregnancy. She felt like her world had been turned upside down and struggled with insecurity and shame. Expressing feelings of failure and disappointment about her past... [continue]

5 steps to make the most of your camp experience as a leader

By Jennifer Deibel, Contributing Writer

The car washes are complete, the spaghetti dinners served, funds raised and you’re ready for camp.

For many youth and children, a week at camp each summer is the highlight of the year. It’s a time to get away from the mundane daily routines, meet new people and have lots of fun. It can, however, be much more than that. Camp can be a truly life-changing experience.

Danny Dawdy, executive director at Highland Lakes Camp and Conference Center, says, “The power of Christian camping is one of the greatest tools a church has. Coming away from a student’s regular routine into an environment of... [continue]

Pastoral transitions: Times to thrive

By John Hall, Contributing Writer

Moses is one of the most recognized figures in the Bible. He takes on Pharaoh. He leads the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. God even gives him the 10 Commandments as they converse face to face.

He’s one of the greatest examples of leadership in all of Scripture, irreplaceable in his role in God’s story. But God’s story of redemption doesn’t end with Moses. It continues as Joshua transitions into leadership.

Today, many churches find themselves in times of transitioning leadership. Research consistently has shown the average tenure of a pastor is between three and four years, presenting... [continue]

Encouraging First Responders through theological education

By: Rochelle Rocha Roots

In light of the many stresses and challenges that face law enforcement officers today, South Texas School of Christian Studies (SCS) seeks to encourage and empower local public servants by offering affordable theological training. One way SCS put this mission into action was to offer its First Responders Servant Leadership Summit in November 2016.

The concept for the summit originated from conversations between Dr. Tony Celelli, president of SCS, and Troy Riggs, a board trustee of SCS and the former Corpus Christi Chief of Police. Their main purpose was to determine a way to provide education for public... [continue]

Nine-member Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Missouri playground case

By John Litzler

Today (April 19), the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) is hearing oral arguments in one of the most important religious liberty cases of the last few decades. SCOTUS, which only had an eight-member court since Justice Antonin Scalia passed away last February, has a full bench for the first time in over a year. In January, President Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch, a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. On April 7, Justice Gorsuch was confirmed just in time to begin hearing cases on April 17. This term will end in late June or early July when the Court recesses for the summer before its new term begins... [continue]

Bringing justice to dark places during Houston Week

I have lived in Houston for about three years now, and it has become home to me. I am in love with the myriad of cultures that live here. They stand out in the various neighborhoods that are somehow pushed together in a way that creates unlikely neighbors out of people from all over the world. I am still enchanted when, even from the outside, I get to watch people celebrating in ways that are different from my own experiences.

Houston is also a significant place in my journey of knowing Yahweh. God has used this place and the people here to teach me to grieve the losses I have accumulated throughout my life. I accepted Jesus and... [continue]

UH student missionaries shine God’s light at the beach

Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) students from the University of Houston sacrificed their spring break to share God’s love and generosity with others all over Texas. Some spent the week building relationships with international students, others dedicated their vacation to local Houston ministries and still other students made their way to South Padre Island to serve at Beach Reach.

UH students joined other missionaries from all over Texas to serve at Beach Reach, an annual mission experience that reaches thousands of college students that flock to the beach in search of a good time. More than 1,000 missionaries served at Beach Reach... [continue]

UTEP students share personal stories of Beach Reach work

Since 1980, students from universities from across the country, especially Texas Baptists college ministries, have traveled to South Padre Island during Spring Break. The UTEP Baptist Student Ministry has made the trek down to South Padre Island for eight years. Now, you may be asking yourself, “Why on earth would a Christian Baptist organization go party it up in Padre?” Well the answer is they wouldn’t. It is quite the opposite, actually.

The Baptist Student Ministry students are there to work. This is a mission trip called Beach Reach. South Padre Island is an incredibly popular spot for students on spring break. People from... [continue]

Obeying His call: The Kwans obedience to Christ

Growing up, Stan Kwan was always involved in ministry, but only as a volunteer. He never thought that God would one day call him to full-time ministry. He has now been the Baptist Student Ministry Director at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center for the past year and a half, and God has taken him on an amazing journey.  

Prior to accepting the role of BSM Director, Stan worked full-time in Information Technology, part-time in wedding photography and was a leader in the Single's Ministry at First Baptist Houston. After getting married two-and-a-half years ago, Stan and his wife Karen moved to Dallas and he was ready... [continue]

DBU students serve throughout the World during spring break

DALLAS – More than 200 Dallas Baptist University students spent their Spring Break 2017 traveling the country and the world building houses, providing safe rides, hosting camps, studying leadership and exploring international business.

For the fourth year in a row, a group of 21 students headed to Washington, D.C. with the Gary Cook School of Leadership to explore the legacy of leadership as observed in the lives of the nation’s Founding Fathers. They toured historic sites, such as the Lincoln Memorial, the National Cathedral, Williamsburg, Mount Vernon and many more, stopping at each location to reflect on the men and women who... [continue]

How God used the smallest of actions during Beach Reach

Even as a veteran Beach Reacher, walking the sands at Rockstar Beach intimidated me. Women danced all around. Rap music blared from the speakers on my right. A cloud of smoke drifted by as I made my way through the crowd of strangers. I felt out of my element, but I did not venture to South Padre Island for the purpose of remaining comfortable. I refocused my mind and pressed on.

I walked the shoreline seeking opportunities for conversation. Fixed atop crude PVC contraptions, collegiate flags flew high above the crowd. My eyes scanned the horizon, and I noticed various clusters of students. I wandered over to a Harvard flag and... [continue]

WMU Annual Meeting: His people – redeemed, restored and released

By John Hall

MIDLAND – Stacey Williams walked into the Christian Women’s Job Corps office in Dublin in 2001 a struggling single mom desperately looking for help.

She was welcomed into the loving extended family of the Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas program, where volunteers encouraged her, fostered her relationship with Christ and equipped her with job skills.

Sixteen years later, Williams is one of a multitude of changed lives in the 20 years CWJC programs have served women in need. She and her husband worked through their marital issues and reunited. Their children are flourishing. She works as a director of human... [continue]

Experiencing God at work through Beach Reach

Beach Reach is one of the most powerful, exhausting and challenging mission trips that college students can experience during their spring break. There are some absolutely incredible things that happen throughout this trip that students can expect to be part of. During this week, I have personally seen God show up and show his power and goodness to those on South Padre Island. However, I believe there a few things students should know in advance.

The first thing that students should be informed of before making the trip to the Southern tip of Texas for the week is the very intense spiritual warfare that takes place on the island... [continue]

How God refined my heart while on mission in my community

 “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the LORD tests hearts” Prov. 17:3 (NASB)

Last week, I participated in a mission trip in my own city of Houston. Although I have missionary in my intern title, I hadn’t been a part of a short-term mission experience since the beginning of college. These past experiences honestly left me with some residual issues of identity and inadequacy.

As the time approached for me to lead a couple of the college students during Spring Break, I carried some anxiety, but also a strong desire not to bring my mission trip baggage along for the week. After talking to my counselor, I... [continue]

Go Now students reaching the border for Christ

Can one week really change the course of your life? That’s the question Daniel Ortiz was asking when he heard about a short-term missions opportunity through Go Now Missions.

Ortiz, a sophomore nursing student at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), had been interested in serving through missions, but was unsure about heading overseas at this time in his life. When he learned of an opportunity to serve in Brownsville, Texas for a week during the Christmas break, Ortiz was excited—and curious.

“I’d hear things like, ‘These trips will change your life!’ and I used to wonder how that was really possible,” Ortiz recalls... [continue]

A look into the life and legacy of James B. Simmons

Dr. Travis L. Frampton developed a growing interest in Dr. James B. Simmons's life and works several years ago upon reading The Cause and Cure of the Rebellion, an abolitionist sermon published by Dr. Simmons in 1861. The following story details Dr. Frampton’s journey on his sabbatical to learn more about the life and legacy of the institution’s founder.

Having taught at Hardin-Simmons University for almost two decades, I am more invested in Hardin-Simmons than in any other school of which I have been a part. As my own life has been inspired and

changed for the better by Dr. James B. Simmons’ story, I wanted to know more about... [continue]

Homes of transformation

Monica was like a lot of women who come to the growing network of house churches Paul Gonzales leads on the west side of San Antonio. She was struggling in her relationship with her live-in boyfriend of 10 years and didn’t know where to turn.

She found support and encouragement from the roughly 20 Christians who gathered weekly. They talked about what God desires in a relationship between a man and a woman, including marriage.

Little by little, she shared what she was learning with her boyfriend, Matthew Flores. Once or twice he even acquiesced to her requests to come with her to church. After a year, Gonzales married the couple... [continue]

Hogares de transformación

Mónica era como muchas de las mujeres que vienen a la creciente red de iglesias hogares que Paul González dirige en el área oeste de San Antonio. Ella estaba luchando en su relación con su pareja de 10 años,  y no sabía a dónde recurrir.

Ella encontró apoyo y ánimo en los pocos 20 cristianos que se reunían cada semana. Ellos hablaban del deseo de Dios para la relación entre un hombre y una mujer, incluyendo el matrimonio.

Poco a poco, ella compartió lo que había estado aprendiendo con su pareja. Una o dos veces él aceptó las invitaciones de ir a la iglesia con ella. Después de un año, González casó a la pareja en un parque.

Por... [continue]

Sustainability projects lift Indigenous people out of poverty

Hunger Offering ministry strives to end the cycle of poverty among Hondurans and empower individual families through farming sustainability projects and enterprise. 

By Jaclyn Bonner

Five dollars will buy a venticoffee at Starbucks. Five dollars also isthe average daily living wage of the Lenca, the poorest people group in Honduras.

Coffee is a staple of the Lenca lifestyle. Many families harvest coffee during its season, and they likely drink more coffee than the average Starbucks customer. The Lenca live with entrenched poverty, but they also are notably hospitable, willingly offering a cup of coffee and a comfortable seat... [continue]

Food for Body and Soul: Hunger Offering ministry meets needs across Metroplex

By Jaclyn Bonner

Linda, a ministry volunteer, gently challenged Tamara with two poignant questions. “Why do you always come with your hand out? Why don’t you come and serve?” Linda’s view of service as a blessing affected Tamara, who decided to serve at the food giveaway the following week.

Tamara, a South Collins resident, learned about Christ through Linda, the neighborhood Bible study leader, who brought her food from Mission Arlington each week and invited her to Bible study.

When Tamara met Linda, she was not making good choices. She was impressed with Linda’s kindness and love. Linda continued to serve Tamara, driving her... [continue]

Together Fed

By Jordan Corona

“Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people.” (Acts 2:46, NRSV)

Hands in Service, an Amarillo-based organization, is fighting malnutrition in Mexico and helping Christians there to experience the same things as the early Jerusalem church -- sharing food, praising God, and showing goodwill.

Texas Baptists support Hands in Service through the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering.  Led by Director Lee Baggett, the ministry is teaching people how to grow gardens in their... [continue]

The problem with women friendships

Recently while preparing to advise middle school girls, I found myself stumped when it came to writing about making friends. I knew to tell them that making and keeping good friendships could be difficult, but beyond stating the problem, I had difficulty providing an answer to the friend-finding problem present in those years. Having the self-perceived gift of gab, I'm usually able to put a bright spin on just about anything, but my secret loneliness reminded me that I couldn't tell young girls how to make friends when I presently feel isolated.

In my state of writer’s block, I turned to Facebook to escape my self-pity. I asked... [continue]

DBU Patriettes use dance to share the Gospel in England

This January, the Dallas Baptist University dance team, the Patriettes, travelled to Northern England to spend a week in ministry, using their gift of dance to spread the love of Christ.

The trip was the second time the team has traveled overseas as a part of DBU Athletics’ Global Sports Mission Initiative program, allowing various athletic teams to travel internationally on mission once every four years. This year, the team connected with UKUSA Ministries and served in the communities of Teeside and York.

The team spent the week in area schools, assisting as guest instructors in dance, drama and religious education classes... [continue]

Becoming Family: Professional development for women transforms lives, fosters relationships

By Jaclyn Bonner

If not for the Heart of Texas Christian Women’s Job Corps sign, you could easily overlook the modest, beige, and olive-colored house on Coggin Avenue in Brownwood.

CWJC is home to transformative learning opportunities and holistic development for women. Established in Brownwood in 2003, the mission of the Heart of Texas branch of CWJC is to “care, guide, and equip women in a Christian environment,” explained Casey Moore, the director. CWJC is a ministry of Texas WMU.

The Texas Baptist Hunger Offering partners with Coggin Avenue Baptist Church to join a network of local churches and volunteers who support this... [continue]


Por Patty Lane

Los refugiados se encuentran entre mis héroes. Han sobrevivido lo impensable y vivido con miedo y pobreza por años antes de haber venido a los Estados Unidos. La mayoría se han armado de valor para aprender un nuevo idioma, han encontrado trabajo, formado un nuevo hogar y mandado a sus hijos a las escuelas con personas de las que no saben nada. No importa cómo han sido sus vidas, tienen la esperanza de un mejor futuro.

Empecemos con la información más básica: ¿Qué es un refugiado? De acuerdo a la Organización de Naciones Unidas Organización de Naciones Unidas, un refugiado es “la persona que se ha... [continue]

The friendly but friendless pastor’s wife

“I thought Hell would freeze over before she spoke to me.”

Those were the words spoken about me by a lady in the church where Jason and I first served. She told another lady in town, and that lady told me.

I'm certain she genuinely felt ignored. I was truly crushed. I had indeed spoken to her, and to the best of my ability, I had spoken to everybody else.  Besides our brevity in having arrived at that church, I was twenty-four with a three-year-old who’d tried to do somersaults during the children's sermon.

Every Sunday, I would welcome people in the sanctuary, careful not to be so brief in my greeting that I seemed like a... [continue]

Healthy Lunches, Brighter Minds: Nutritional meals for children help entire family

By Jaclyn Bonner

It is rare to find third graders who are eager to eat their fruits and vegetables, but every day 9-year-old José Chanco excitedly tells his family about the nutritious lunch he eats at the Operación San Andrés’ educational enrichment program for children in Collique, Lima, Peru.

José attends Fe y Alegría, a local primary school. He is one of about 170 children served through two OSA hunger alleviation programs.

Through the Living Water-OSA program, he is able to spend weekday mornings at OSA House. He benefits not only from healthy lunches that include fruit, vegetables, meat, and rice but also gets guidance... [continue]

6 ways to serve refugees

By Patty Lane

Refugees are some of my heros. They have endured the unthinkable and lived in fear and in poverty for years before arriving in the United States. For the most part, they muster up the courage to learn a new language, find a new job, create a new home, and send their children to schools with people they know nothing about. They do it because they have to, because they are survivors. No matter what life has been, they have a hope of a better future.

Let’s start with the basics. What is a refugee?

According to the United Nations, a refugee is "someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of... [continue]

Being and finding a friend

You can't develop a friendship without, at some point, engaging in friendly behavior. Simple gestures including a smile, small talk and sitting with someone doesn't make you a friend, but rather provides companionship and a spark of godly love. God grows friendships. This growth requires our willingness to be used, to be selfless, to trust him and be patient.

As a God-sent friend:

Be aware

When recently asking women about the difficulty of making and keeping close friendships, an overwhelming number shared their feelings of being an outsider in their community and church. Having been raised in another another town, another... [continue]


Por Tomi L. Grover, Ph.D.

Enero es el mes nacional del tráfico humano. Además de esto, activistas en todo Texas se están preparando para presentar temas concernientes al tráfico humano a sus representantes legislativos y senadores de la 85ª sesión. De acuerdo a los materiales en línea de la Legislatura de Texas, parece haber 17 proyectos de ley que ya se han presentado. Este es el tiempo oportuno para ayudar a nuestros líderes electos a entender las preocupaciones de sus constituyentes con respecto al tráfico humano, así como en qué proyectos de ley enfocarse.

Aquí hay algunos consejos para llegar a ser un... [continue]

The land of rice and oil and century old eggs

God moved mountains this Christmas Break. When I got the email that I would be spending two weeks in a foreign land, with foreign people, doing something something completely out of the ordinary, my nerves went through the roof.

During my trip to East Asia, I got the chance to work alongside some of the most servant-hearted people I have ever met. Christ could not have blessed me with a better group to travel across the world with.

A bakery that started it all has changed everything. From the simple baking of a scone, girls have been unshackled and have received the grace of the most high God. By getting to spread the love of... [continue]

How to Be An Anti-Human Trafficking Advocate

By Tomi L. Grover, Ph.D.

January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. In conjunction with this, advocates from across Texas are preparing to address their 85th session legislative representatives and senators on the issues pertaining to human trafficking.  According to the online Texas Legislature resources, there appear to be 17 bills that have already been introduced. This is an opportune time to help our elected leaders understand the concerns of their constituency related to human trafficking and which bills on which to focus.

Here are some easy tips for becoming an anti-human trafficking advocate... [continue]

HPU student leads teammates to better understanding of Christ’s love

Though Chad Anders wasn’t searching for Christ when he enrolled at Howard Payne University, he says Christ was waiting for him there.

“You can come to HPU and find things you never even knew you were looking for,” says the senior and four-year member of the Yellow Jacket baseball team.

Chad didn’t attend church regularly growing up. After the death of his stepfather during Chad’s freshman year at HPU, he found himself even farther from God.

“I focused on what would make me happy,” he says. “I turned to a lot of different worldly pleasures for fulfillment. I was never satisfied and never happy. I knew there had to be more to... [continue]

Single father discovers joy in new beginning through Buckner

Hector Flores’ home in the middle of June was hot, dusty and cramped. Tattered bed sheets tried to block the blazing South Texas sun coming through the small square windows. As a single parent with four children, it’s hard to find time to keep up with the housework.

Flores has been a single dad of four – Hector Jr., 14, Rene, 11, Sandy, 7, and Tania, 6 – for the past five years, officially. He used to live in a tiny, trailer-like home that he slowly assembled by himself in an attempt to give his children a safe place to live.

Unofficially, he’s been a single dad for eight years since his ex-wife left for Mexico without telling... [continue]

Hendrick Breast Institute and the Hope Fund

Before they turned on the office computers or answered a phone that first day of work at the Hendrick Breast Institute in Abilene, the staff lined a hallway and prayed with Hospital Chaplain Bruce Lampert.

Breast Institute Registry Coordinator Melissa Boyd and her staff listened as Lampert spoke to them of the gentle power within the scarred hands of Jesus Christ.

“That same power exists in your hands,” Lampert told them. “And, just as the aroma permeates the air around us, the work you do here will be far-reaching.”

Boyd sees that morning as the beginning of a powerful ministry that would save the lives of countless women and... [continue]

SCS makes seminary education possible for Corpus Christi minister

Like most married couples, Josh and Melissa Fuentes had plans.

“I knew I wanted to go into ministry when I was 17,” recalls Josh. “As a kid, I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, but when I felt God calling me into the ministry, it just made sense. I could see myself working in a church for the rest of my life.”

Josh met his wife, Melissa, while they were both interns at First Baptist Church-Universal City, just north of San Antonio.

“I didn’t like him when we first met,” says Melissa, “but he grew on me.”

“Kind of like a fungus,” kids Josh.

After the internship ended, the two started dating and were married not... [continue]

HPU graduate Jo Beth MacTavish charts new waters as mom and minister

“Being a mother while a full-time minister is hands down the hardest thing I have ever done,” says Jo Beth MacTavish, Howard Payne University graduate and youth minister at Kenefick Southern Baptist Church near Houston. “When I say there are few footsteps to follow in this field, I mean it. The books on how to be both mom and minister are still being written.”

Having grown up in church, MacTavish was called to ministry at a young age.

“As a teenager, I was given more and more opportunities to serve in leadership roles,” she says. “Between these opportunities, growth in my personal spiritual life and the encouragement of others, I... [continue]

DBU students serve in Spain, share the hope of Christ

Boarding a plane in DFW, Shelby Weatherly, a junior biology major at Dallas Baptist University, grew increasingly excited about the week ahead. While many of her classmates spent their Fall Breaks participating in travel studies, going on vacation or visiting family at home, Weatherly decided to join a group of DBU students to serve overseas in Denia, Spain.

“I was so expectant of what the Lord was going to do,” Shelby recalls. “Leading up to the trip, I was excited to see how my love for Hispanic culture combine with my passion for Europe, but God did exceedingly more than I could have imagined.”

The team of 18 students and... [continue]

Transformational Ministry from Student to Student

Sharing a physical location with the Baylor University campus allows George W. Truett Theological Seminary to partner with and minister to the broader University in ways that many seminaries located off campus or not linked to an undergraduate institution are unable to. Perhaps one of the most meaningful opportunities to arise from this partnership is the ministering to Baylor undergraduates by seminary students. Truett students are able to take the ministry skills and theological knowledge they develop in seminary and share their faith with the Baylor campus.

Through the resident chaplain program – a partnership between Truett... [continue]

How one ministry is equipping churches to reach people at their point of greatest need

It does not take much searching to find alarming statistics about the financial health of the typical American household. USA Today recently reported that 69% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings.1 Perhaps even more alarming is a study quoted by CNN Money, which reveals that up to 35% of US households are in debt collection.2 Add in the fact that the average credit card debt is over $16,000 for households that carry a balance,3 and it becomes clear that an overwhelming number of Americans live in a precarious financial state.

Jimmy Rodriguez has seen the toll taken on families by financial strain and uncertainty first... [continue]

In His hands

When it came to asking God why things happen the way they do, Lulee was all too familiar with that inquisition. Having never met her biological father, Lulee was raised by her aunt and her mother, who battled a serious illness.

For years, Lulee prayed to God and asked Him to heal her mom. But, with no tangible improvement, Lulee quickly gave up on praying and believing that God was in control. Her young life began to spiral out of control.

In high school, Lulee sought love and approval in relationships and tried to escape her pain with drugs and alcohol. Though she had the support of her aunt and ailing mom, Lulee still rebelled... [continue]

Casă dulce casă (home sweet home)

Children’s Emergency Relief International (CERI) is the overseas branch of BCFS, formerly Baptist Child & Family Services, a global system of non-profit organizations. As a Christian health and human services organization, CERI brings hope to children living in extreme poverty around the globe, including some of the poorest regions in Eastern Europe.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moldova struggled to transition to a market economy. As a result of political instability and economic decline, Moldova became the poorest country in Europe. Living conditions deteriorated rapidly, especially in rural areas, and poverty was... [continue]

God's Best Plan

Both rewarding and challenging, the path that God has appointed for Kimberly and Doug Uyechi is one they have been quick to acknowledge as “a family mission.”

The Uyechis have three adopted children and, for the past seven years, they have been opening their hearts to foster children by providing a safe, loving home where their individual needs are met. Over 50 children from hard places have been comforted by Kimberly and Doug’s loving embrace, the majority of those within the last year. Twelve months ago, the Uyechis began serving STARRY as foster parents who were willing to take children in emergency settings so that children... [continue]

Lifelong HPU friends share lives, memories at Baptist retirement community

Several conversations are taking place at once around a long lunch table at Buckner Retirement Community in San Angelo. Friends trade memories back and forth, pausing only to join hands and thank God for their meal. The four individuals sitting around the table represent a variety of Howard Payne University connections including alumni, retired faculty and friends.

Each of the four is a resident at Buckner, a 100-acre, Baptist-affiliated retirement community. Dr. S.L. Harris ’48 moved to the community in 2000 with his wife, Fleta ’48, who passed away in 2013. Dr. Twila (Miller) Wakefield Smith ’48 has lived in the Buckner... [continue]

Rebuilding homes, caring for lives in Baton Rouge

When I received the email that I would be serving in Louisiana, the excitement was overwhelming. It was my very first Go Now mission. The nerves and excitement slowly became more and more.

Louisiana was a place I had never been before, but had heard of many stories. Baton Rouge was the area where we would be working. This area was the most affected by the flood in August. Words can not describe the damage that was done. As we arrived to Baton Rouge, we slowly discovered how bad the people of Louisiana were affected. 

I loved working with the team I was placed with. At first, I was very scared to get to know them, to share with... [continue]

How God changed my heart

South Asia is an interesting place to visit, especially for an introvert. When I applied for a mission trip, I thought about construction work. God had a different plan in mind.

God sent me to a South Asia.

I was sent here for a reason – to share Jesus Christ with others. Who would have thought a shy college student would be going around looking for people of peace?

Before the trip, I had a fear of sharing the hope of Jesus with others. As I ended the trip, God opened my heart. Now, I want to share this news with everyone. I learned many ways to spark a conversation, turn the subject and share the Gospel.

One of the stories... [continue]

How taking a retreat with your spouse can strengthen your marriage and ministry

It’s been said that relationships are either growing or dying. In our churches, we are always striving to grow relationships. Yet, we often neglect the more important human relationship that we have – the one with our spouse.  

I pray that your love for each other will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in your knowledge and understanding. Philippians 1:9

When Cory and I have participated in marriage classes, retreats, counseling and leadership trainings across the United States to grow our own marriage and help us in our efforts to minister to families more effectively, the number one comment we hear is... [continue]

Editorial: Haga saber sus deseos en Austin

Por MARV KNOX/EDITOR, Baptist Standard

De acuerdo a todos los reportes, una suave atmósfera y un viento con brisa cayeron sobre Austin el martes cuando los legisladores se reunieron para dar comienzo a la 85ª Sesión Legislativa. Esa atmósfera apacible muy probablemente se convertirá en vientos huracanados, con uno que otro tornado por si acaso, antes de que la sesión concluya el Día de Recordación (Memorial Day, en inglés).

Bajo la cúpula del Capitolio, la buena voluntad se transforma en dinero y política, y como el dinero escaseará—El auditor Glenn Hegar ha adjudicado una reducción del 2.7 por ciento del financiamiento... [continue]

The power of presence in the lives of teens

It is astonishing when science tells us something we know but perhaps have forgotten. Research now tells parents of teens how important their presence is in the lives of teenagers. Teens report that their parents’ presence when they are doing their homework, hanging out with friends in their house, or just hanging out is very important.

The presence of parents for teens is important for their feelings of safety and security. In our culture we too often bestow upon teenagers all the rights and passages of adults. They, in fact, can do many things for themselves. But they are not adults; they still need the guidance and support of... [continue]

Addiction and the church

Most people are somewhat familiar with the topic of addiction, whether it is through media, books, educational or prevention programs in the community; or perhaps at a more personal level, by struggling with addiction or knowing someone who is in that journey. The fact of the matter is that everyone has had an encounter with this issue whether personally or impersonally.  

Addiction is a complex and compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (e.g alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine etc.) or a behavior such as gambling or pornography.  According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)... [continue]

How does religious freedom affect starving children in Nigeria?

By Randel Everett

The United Nations reports that an estimated 75,000 children could die from malnutrition within a year in Northern Nigeria unless food is made available. Members of our 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative staff have traveled to Nigeria twice this year, visiting camps where a million people displaced by Boko Haram and Fulani militants now live. We interviewed dozens of village leaders and victims of this violence, and we heard and saw for ourselves the reality behind the U.N. statistics.

What can we do to alleviate this suffering? One way is by giving money through reputable agencies that provide food for the... [continue]

Ears to see

Good Brunches are a series of conversations developed by an organization called Matryoshka Haus. Their purpose is to draw a diverse group of people around a common table to talk about meaningful things in healthy ways. The blog post below references the conversation that took place during the San Antonio Good Brunches around the topic of “tolerance.” Click here to read the intro post for Good Brunches.

Picture this: A space with a mash up of people where diverse ages, races, socioeconomics merge. I’m envisioning the streetcar I rode last week in New Orleans, which operates as both tourist bus and public transportation. Imagine... [continue]

The uncommon work of the Kingdom

Kingdom work is often the result of common people doing uncommon work in the unlikeliest of places for the most unlikely of people. This is certainly true when you consider a call to be a leader in ministry. It is evermore real as you consider Texas Baptists’ work.

As we think of the work we will do, most ministers in training whom I know picture a life of ministry that involves a church similar to the one where we developed in our faith. But, Kingdom work can be uncommon.

Until about 18 months ago, I personally did not know Pastor Jim Furgerson or of the town of Tilden. This eventually became the unlikely people group and place... [continue]

Questions to keep conversation flowing in your marriage

Ever run out of things to talk about? Maybe it’s because we work and serve together, but more often than not, Cory and I find ourselves gravitating toward conversations that center around ’church stuff,’ i.e. upcoming events or meetings, things going on in this family or in that family, even venting our ministry frustrations and heartaches. It’s so reassuring to be on the same page in our ministries, but our communication can easily become focused on external things, and we may miss out on growing in relational intimacy in the process.

If you’ve ever felt that way, or if you just need some ideas to get to know each other on a... [continue]

Answering the call to justice

“I am in Birmingham because injustice is here.” These words are from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” in which he challenged fellow clergy to get off the sidelines and get involved in the struggle for equality and justice. These clergymen had criticized King, urging patience and restraint rather than protests in Birmingham. Today, just as then, there is a temptation for Christians to ignore injustice. Some will say just "preach the Gospel," but we must engage where we see injustice if we are to be faithful to our call as Christians and Baptists.

We are not faithful to the Gospel, if it has no... [continue]

How Tarleton BSM’s new Northwest partnership is an answer to prayer - Part 2

Morgan Little shares about a partnership Tarleton State University BSM has created with Northwest Collegiate Ministries to reach the lost in the Northwest region of the United States. To read more on this partnership, click here.

Tarleton has begun a 2025 vision. Their prayer is that over the next ten years 20 Tarleton graduates will move to the northwest after graduation to work among college students. Their prayer is that in 10 years they will be able to mark 20 northwest campuses from the unengaged campus list because of Tarleton BSM graduates. There are currently three Tarleton students preparing to move to the northwest after... [continue]

How Tarleton BSM’s new Northwest partnership is an answer to prayer - Part 1

In June of 2015, Clayton Bullion, the BSM Director at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, and his wife Bethany ventured to Portland, Oregon to visit five of their Go Now Missionaries who were serving with the Northwest Collegiate Ministries (NCM) for the summer.

“Our hope was to encourage our team, visit as many campuses as we could, and get a ‘feel’ for college ministry there and see if there was anything we could do to help,” Clayton said. “We were not prepared for what we encountered.”

From Seattle, Washington, down to Eugene, Oregon, they visited 12 campuses and realized that hundreds of thousands of university... [continue]


Por William M. Pinson, Jr.

“LOS BAUTISTAS SE OPONEN A LA CONSTITUCIÓN” pudo haber sido el encabezado de los periódicos en 1787.

¿Por qué los bautistas se opusieron rotundamente a la recientemente diseñada Constitución de los Estados Unidos de América? En pocas palabras, porque el documento no proveía una garantía de libertad religiosa, creencia muy apreciada por los bautistas.

En los primeros días de la llegada de los europeos a América, la libertad religiosa prácticamente no existía. La persecución a causa de puntos de vista religiosos opuestos a las iglesias subvencionadas por el gobierno se extendió y agravó en la mayoría de... [continue]

'Baptists Oppose Constitution' -- what might have been

By William M. Pinson, Jr.

“BAPTISTS OPPOSE CONSTITUTION” could have been the headlines of a newspaper in 1787.

Why did Baptists strongly oppose the newly drafted Constitution of the United States of America? In brief, because the document failed to provide a guarantee for religious freedom, a belief cherished by Baptists.

From the earliest days of the settlement of America by Europeans, religious freedom was practically non-existent. Persecution for religious views contrary to those of government-supported churches was widespread and severe in most of the thirteen colonies. Although few in number, the Baptists in those... [continue]

Following your passions

“Why would a 52-year-old Pastor’s wife from El Paso, Texas with four grown daughters want to live in Paris for six months?”

This is a question that was asked by our parishioners before I began an Internship at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, four years ago for my graduate studies in Applied Linguistics and French Language.

“Is pursuing passions outside of the church activities okay for pastors’ wives?”

I believe that all true passion is rooted in being created in the image of God. A passion from God would never contradict Biblical teaching, must have the support and approval of your husband and family and is a part of fulfilling... [continue]

Hunger is a health problem for Texas children

By Betsy Kerrigan

Children today are being robbed of time. While academic opinions vary about life expectancy, they all acknowledge that our length and quality of life is shifting due to chronic illnesses associated with diet.

It is unfortunately no surprise that Texas children are suffering from diet-related disease at a higher rate (and younger) than they have in the past. The early onset of diet-related conditions like obesity is bringing about many health problems that children do not typically suffer, such as type-two diabetes and high blood pressure.

These high rates of diet-related disease are clearly related to the 26... [continue]

Afterschool meals important for students, and churches can help

By Ruben Sanchez

The summer is over and school is back in session. In Texas, that means football is kicking off, temperatures are dropping, and many kids still don’t have adequate access to food.

In Texas, one in four children is food insecure. This means a fourth of the children in Texas live in households that may have to skip a meal or make a difficult choice like deciding between buying food or buying school supplies for the start of a new school year (a true story recently told to me).

Ensuring children have access to three healthy meals a day, seven days a week is a daunting task. Schools across the state are making... [continue]

Rice BSM students spend Labor Day weekend assisting with disaster relief in Louisiana

Over Labor Day weekend, we took six students from Rice University to Baton Rouge to help Southern Baptist Disaster Relief work to begin rebuilding homes from the recent flooding. The team was mostly compiled of students that had never really hung out together, and some I barely knew.

When we started talking we all learned that none of us had ever been involved in a mission trip like this or ever worked with disaster relief. Personally, I had never done anything like this and had no idea what to expect. We were told that we would be mudding out houses, but I assumed it wouldn’t be too hard.

When we got to the first house the next... [continue]


Por Bill Tillman

El Día del Trabajo es una novedad y un concepto paradójico, o por lo menos es lo que piensan muchos estadounidenses. La fecha en que se celebra, el primer lunes de septiembre, tiene un origen ambiguo. El razonamiento detrás de esta celebración fue que el trabajador norteamericano debía ser reconocido por los logros económicos y culturales que trajo consigo el movimiento laboral nacional hace más de 100 años.

La paradoja es que, ¡no se trabaja en el Día del Trabajo! Es un día festivo para muchos trabajadores en los Estados Unidos. Los cristianos podrían ofrecer algunas perspectivas en cuanto a este día de asueto... [continue]

Labor Day can help us think about work from a Christian perspective

By Bill Tillman

Labor Day — what a novel and paradoxical concept, at least the way many Americans think about it. The day, the first Monday in September, has ambiguous origins. The rationale for the day was that the American worker needed to be honored for the economic and cultural achievements brought in by the national labor movement more than 100 years ago.

A paradox is that no labor is expected on Labor Day! It’s a holiday for many American workers. Christians could offer some perspective on the day off from work. Christians should project the idea that all of us need a day of rest. This Sabbath principle, a time of pausing... [continue]


Por Vicki Spriggs

Texas está en medio de una crisis tal que, si no la atendemos con urgencia, creará un daño a las generaciones venideras. Los niños que son rescatados de sus hogares son trasladados a un sistema quebrantado que se supone debe protegerlos, pero que en realidad muchas veces les causa más trauma, abuso y negligencia.

Artículos de noticias continúan exponiendo las fallas de nuestro sistema de protección de menores, y el sistema no muestra señales de mejoramiento. Desde la escasez de trabajadores y las fallas administrativas hasta la falta de lugares para hospedarlos debido al aumento de niños removidos de sus... [continue]

Texas’ Child Protection System is Failing our Children

By Vicki Spriggs

Texas is in the midst of a crisis that, if not addressed with the highest urgency, will create lasting damage for generations to come. Children removed from their homes are placed in a structurally unsound system that is meant to protect them, but in reality often subjects them to further trauma, abuse, and neglect.

News articles continue to expose the failings of our state’s child protection system — and the system shows little indication of improvement. From excessive caseworker turnover and management flaws, to a shortage of placements due to increased removals, the system has reached a breaking point that is... [continue]

Why I wasn't ready to get off that plane

I was gone for two months as a missionary. There were times I was hungry, times I was cold and times I missed my family. Oh man, I was ready to return to my homeland. I was ready to tie a flag around my neck and run around like all those stereotypical, Fourth-of-July celebrators. Y’all, I even sang “God Bless America” as I landed on the airstrip at the DFW Airport. I cried in the embrace of my family because the sense of relief overtook me. I had set foot on American soil, I felt safe and I was able to breathe. I was ready to step off that plane, or so I thought.

You see, I thought I was ready until the first day that I went out... [continue]

Outside the Box, Inside the World

We’ve all heard the term “Think outside the box” and we have all tried our fair share of doing just that in order to be different, competitive or rebellious. It’s one thing to “think” our way to a different path or solution, but a lot harder to “live outside the box.”

So, what is the box? It can be anything that society says is the only way to accomplish a particular goal, attempt a great feat or solve a difficult problem. The problem, however, is that we spend so much time thinking that we limit our ability of doing, and specifically, living outside the box.

Consider the man who created peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. (I... [continue]


Por Kathleen Hardage

¿Qué significan para usted las palabras: “Regreso a clases”? Seguramente le traen recuerdos y emociones, y esos recuerdos y emociones son muy diferentes en los estudiantes, exestudiantes, padres y maestros. Como cristianos, y aun como iglesia, ¿cómo podemos ayudar a que nuestros maestros formen recuerdos y emociones positivas?

(En este artículo, el pronombre “ella” se usará para referirse a los maestros, simplemente porque la mayoría de estos son mujeres, pero sepa que la escritora de este artículo valora también a los maestros varones).

1. Ore por una maestra. Este es un hábito que se puede desarrollar... [continue]

Five Ways to Bless Your Child’s Teacher

By Kathleen Hardage

“Back To School.” What do those words mean to you? Certainly they bring memories and emotions, and those are very different for students, former students, parents, and teachers. As a Christian and even as a church, how can we build positive emotions and fond memories for the teachers in our lives?

(In this article, the pronoun “she” will be used to refer to teachers, simply because the majority are female. But please know that this writer values the male teachers out there as well)

1. Pray for a teacher. This is an easy pattern to develop, especially if you are a parent. As you send your student out the door... [continue]

As you go … make disciples

Nothing is certain but death and taxes… or so they say. I would add another certainty: 24 hours.

Each day, we are given 24 hours to do and leave undone. We all have certain responsibilities that have to be done. We all have leisurely activities that vie for a portion of that time. And then there are the other obligations forced upon us (i.e. “other duties as assigned” in our jobs). But all we are given are 24 hours.

The average American sleeps for eight hours and 45 minutes. If you have a smartphone, you will look at it on average 85 times a day, for a total of five hours. On average, you will give 50 minutes to Facebook and... [continue]

7 Reasons Ministry Wives Need to Retreat Together

The first staff wives retreat I attended came very early on in my 26 years of marriage and ministry with Clay. I’ll be honest: at the time, I did not think it was all that great. My biggest takeaway from the weekend came when my then pastor’s wife told me, “I will never get close to another church member again. I did that once, and I got burned.” I was young. She was seasoned. I respected and valued the wisdom and experience she had. And her outlook was troubling to me. I recognized the line I would walk in relationships as the wife of a minister. I also knew friendship was something I would need.

Then, there was the time we were... [continue]

Can you see Him working?

Throughout our daily plans and schedules, God is present, anointing conversations and authoring divine appointments with perfect precision. It's easy to become distracted from God's presence by our own thoughts and to-do lists; however, when we ask God to provide opportunities to trust Him, He does. And He did for me.

The day after our ministry in Orlando was over, a few team members and I decided to go out to eat for dinner. Our original plan was Steak 'N Shake, but after seeing how crowded it was, we decided on Wendy's.

While enjoying our fast food, a man approached our table, looking like he had seen better days. The man... [continue]

Lessons to learn when your garden gets trampled

Just looking at this picture, even though it was taken a while back, still stirs up feelings of disappointment. It was just a garden, but I worked hard on this little patch of dirt. It was my first attempt at gardening. The area where I planted was next to the fence in our backyard. I had tilled the ground, planted seeds, watered and pulled the weeds from around it. I checked on my little garden every day. My plants were thriving nicely. There were squash, green onions and carrots.

One day, I heard dogs barking in my backyard. Surprised (because we don’t have a dog), I looked out the back door and saw my backyard neighbors’ dog... [continue]

Praying for conversations in the Middle East: Part One

This country is definitely blessed and incredibly beautiful. By embracing all the extremes of nature - from sea to desert and the mountains to cliffs - it composes the most breathtaking symphony. I am totally in awe of God’s amazing creation and masterpiece here. His love and grace can be found everywhere.

On one side is the immense ocean - a nurturing, magnificent abundance of life, full of grace. On the other side is the boundless dry land, yellow sands, brown stones and rocks - where God’s grace is even more demonstrated on the traces of life through the yellowish grass and bushes, goats, camels, etc.

Such extremes of living... [continue]

A first-hand Go Now Missions story

For those of us from a church context, the woman at the well is a familiar story. I encourage all of you to talk a minute to read John 4:7-42.

This passage tells a story of a woman, who after encountering Jesus, immediately goes and tells everyone she knows about him. This is the account of what she did:

“So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ’ They went out of the town and were coming to him ... The people of that town came to Jesus, and they encountered him too. What happened after that? And many more believed
... [continue]

Praying for Fish in Alaska

I wanted to share a neat story about something that happened on our beach last Sunday. After setting up our equipment early Sunday morning, we served hot dogs for a few hours before shutting down for an informal church service in front our our tent. We put up a cross and gathered in front of it.

Throughout the weekend, we had been inviting people to come and a fair number of people showed up. Up until this point, fishing had not been good for the whole beach. Standing out with their huge dip-nets in the close to freezing water and bone chilling wind, most people did not have a whole lot to show for all their time and... [continue]

In His Kingdom: there’s never ‘being late’ but always ‘being perfect’

Susie* is a recent believer from a closed country who came to faith through the BSM on her campus. She was commissioned as a Go Now missionary this summer and below shares about her excitement over obtaining her visa to be able to go on her assignment.

I have been waiting for my visa to go to my mission field for a long time and there are so many people praying for it. Finally, I got it today! My teammates have been there already there for a few days, but I will still be able to catch up with them and will not miss a lot. Our God is definitely a miracle working God. Not only that, His timing is always perfect and His plan is... [continue]

Blacking out windows

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying “’I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” – John 8:12

Alaska–The Final Frontier. Those of you who have seen this gorgeous state know that God’s presence sings off the mountains and pours down from the waterfalls. There is so much raw beauty surrounding each side of you at all times in Alaska, especially by the Kenai River.

One of the most special things about this interesting land is that it only gets dark for about an hour during the summer. For an example, it’s 10:49 p.m. right now while I’m writing this and the sun is... [continue]

After trust is earned

When I first got to New York City, I was the minority. Not only was I new to the community, I was a Christian.

The church that I work with has three very clear goals: love God, love people and serve the community. Yes, many churches can say they have the same objectives, but do they really live up to them? 

The work done on Sunday is not the only day the work is done. In fact, the work should be done every day leading up to Sunday. Then, that is the day we rest and praise God for what He's accomplished. 

Working at Swerve Church in Brooklyn has taught me how hard the hustle of church planting is. Every single day you give every... [continue]

Juggling Bandwidth: Managing your time without losing your mind

Bandwidth. It’s not what you think it might be. It’s not what you think you might have. It’s not the amount of output you can achieve. It’s the amount of throughput that you can realistically, humanly handle in any given 24 hours, one week or 30 days. It’s basically a technical term for how much data can be processed at one time through a conduit of copper, fiber optic or another form of telecommunications pipeline. Before you think that this is an essay on upload/download mbps, let’s dive into the “why” of this analogy.

Like me, you probably have many opportunities handed to you each and every day. Opportunities to minister... [continue]

Faith Put to the Test: Will You Let God Heal You?

It's easy to view the recent tragedies occurring in our world and respond with "God is in control," a few prayers and dismiss it completely. It has become normal for our culture, especially Christians, to react this way, because unfortunately, we have become desensitized to the reality of death and hatred. I found myself in the similar numb trap; a lack of feeling. Until today.

This morning, after spending two hours ministering to children from Scotland at a hotel kids club, I received a call from my mother. A wake up call to reality. 

Through her sobs, I was informed that a freak accident while swimming in a lake resulted in... [continue]

Dear God, did I really ask you for that?

The other day I was talking with a good friend of mine discussing trials, and how sometimes they can be such a burden. She is going through a tough time right now, and I was sharing with her my vast experience of 51 years. (haha)

I recalled the many times that I have gone through trials of different natures – times of uncertainty, times of struggle, times of illness – and how each one brought me closer to God. Each time, He made Himself so real to me. Each time His hand brought a sense of comfort even in the storm. Each time He made it very clear He knew what was best, and would make sure that His will was done.

As my friend and... [continue]

Florida Restorative Justice: The Gospel Behind Bars

As I stand in the entryway of the chapel, a man explains to me that his wife was due to have a baby last week, but he has not heard from her in awhile. The last report he had was not good.

With a broken heart I think to myself, “What a great opportunity to begin showing this man how to have hope and begin mending a relationship.”

But there's just one problem. He's one of 180 inmates streaming into the prison chapel at Century Correctional Institute. I am the only chaplain on the compound today and I have volunteers waiting to begin the service. A Church of Christ volunteer is here to conduct a separate service and I need to... [continue]

Why ministry leaders should consider an annual mental health check important

The issue of mental health is vital and close to my heart. The reality is, for five straight years I would get a call from a friend in different parts of the country with heartbreaking news of a close friend or associate who had taken their life in an apparent suicide. The pressure of ministry is real and sometimes, for many, overwhelming. Yet, in the church, we are just coming to grips with this illness and talking about it openly.

In the context of church life, in which I have served the majority of my ministry career, to state you had a mental struggle would be met with the following responses: you need to pray more, increase... [continue]

¿Cómo orar por la policía?

Por Joe Carter

Juraron proteger y servir. Ahora yacen muertos y heridos.

Anoche, cinco oficiales de las fuerzas policiacas de Dallas fueron muertos y seis más heridos. Ellos necesitan de nuestras oraciones, así como todos los hombres y las mujeres que dedican sus vidas a mantenernos a salvo en nuestras calles y hogares.

He aquí ocho maneras en que podemos orar por las fuerzas policiacas en los Estados Unidos de América:

Ore por su seguridad

Pida a nuestro Padre Celestial que proteja a aquellos que nos protegen. Pídale que ponga guarda sobre aquellos que nos guardan a nosotros. Ore por ellos así:

En ti, Señor, me he... [continue]

Beware of payday loan wolves

By Anyra Cano-Valencia

(Adapted from a piece that originally appeared in Christianity Today.)

In the Spring of 2013, my husband, Pastor Carlos Valencia, and I had just finished dinner when we got one of those heart wrenching visits at home, where a church member or neighbor appears broken and suffering. Mrs. Mendoza (not her real name) was desperate, defeated, and ashamed. She didn’t know who to turn to other than her pastor, someone she trusted.

In tears, she said was responsible for her family losing their home, and she was about to lose her car: She was too frightened to tell her husband. We were shocked, confused, and angry.... [continue]

Obeying the conviction of Christ

On Friday morning, after performing a set of singing and puppetry at McDonald’s, I felt convicted to speak to an 8-year-old little girl who was sitting alone in the audience named Veronica.

After making brief small talk, I asked her if she went to church, to which she replied “no.”

I, then, asked her if she knew who Jesus was, to which she replied “no.”

Little Veronica had no clue what the Bible was, nor of what sin is, nor of what prayer is. This caught me by complete surprise. I had the opportunity to tell her about Jesus and what He did for her on the cross 2,000 years ago to save her from her sins, and her eyes sparkled in... [continue]

What is your coat?

This past week I have been writing some curriculum for a D-Now that our team will be running next weekend. We’ve been going through the life of Joseph and seeing how what Jesus did on the cross has finished every trial and struggle that Joseph faces. We pointed out four main things that are finished in his life, his self-worth, self-identity, fear and his independence.

Identity means so much here in Portland. How you express yourself, your interests, your feelings and your sexuality define who you are. Coming from South Texas, I really struggled to understand where people were coming from and why they expressed themselves the way... [continue]

Becoming a laborer for Christ in South Asia

I have been a follower of Jesus Christ for over 15 years. I have learned a lot about following Him throughout this time and honestly, I have a lot more to learn about following Him. In no way do I claim to have all of the answers, wisdom, understanding or experience. But, I do have what He has been teaching me lately and that is what I am writing about today.

I have read Luke 10 multiple times, and I have taken notes throughout my share of Sunday mornings, Wednesday evenings, retreats, conferences and planning meetings. However, the Father has really deepened my understanding of this passage and how I can apply it to my life... [continue]

A new opportunity to share God’s word in Haiti

In Haiti, I met a “crazy” man – one for whom I had prayed to encounter.

We had been in clinic for two days, yet I had not had a single opportunity to share the Gospel with a person who did not know Christ. It bothered me so much that I asked my supervisor to explain the clinic tickets were allocated among the community. Why were we reaching only the believers in our efforts? 

For the most part, the decision was left to the pastors of the local churches; nonetheless, I found myself searching the word of God and praying earnestly for an opportunity to reach the lost. Never had my heart so yearned to share His light. 

The very... [continue]

Sharing the Gospel in Taiwan

Sunday nights in Taichung are my favorite. Along with my team and a full-time missionary, I get to walk through Bible stories that I've known since Sunday school with people across the Christian spectrum, from mature Christians to those who have never heard about Jesus.

Tonight, I was blessed to interact with one of the latter. Jason is an exchange student from mainland China and tonight was his first time to come to our meeting. One of his friends (also from China) has been coming for a few weeks and has been really curious about Jesus and decided to invite him.

Just a few hours ago, he got to hear for possibly the first time... [continue]

How to Give Up Your Kids

I have felt conviction in my life from many sins, but recently none more than idolatry. What is the object of my worship? Sadly, it is my children. There are three things I am trying to do in my life to “give up my kids.”

1. I need to change my prayer life. Honestly, when I think about how I pray for my kids, I see my problem. I pray things like, “Lord, help them make the team.” I feel like I decide what is best for my kids and then beg God to make it happen. I need to quit planning their life and then getting upset if something else happens. Why do I ever think my plans are better than His?

2. I need to prepare my kids for the... [continue]

God’s hand at work in Seattle

I'm working with my team at Epic Life Church here in North Seattle. This week is our biggest week of the summer concerning the church because we're working an event called Celebrate North Seattle. This event has grown to over 2,500 attendees in past few years and it celebrates the achievements and businesses around the community. This is our major outreach event of the year. There have been countless hours worked over the last six months by the staff at Epic Life and we've been able to join in the process. Because this event is happening this Sunday, we're doing any and all last minute preparation in order to be ready.

On... [continue]

Sharing the hope of Christ in East Asia

Walking down the city streets, I saw handicapped individuals selling lottery tickets and knock-off sunglasses to pay for their next meal. I saw a beggar crouched in the corner of a stairwell, his hands clasping a paper cup. I saw bald, orange-clad monks asking for food offerings for their monastery. I saw an old woman presenting drinks before a spirit house. I saw the most intricate and magnificent architecture constructed to honor an idol made by human hands. I saw graffiti on an overpass that read “Where is the hope?”

The people of this country are 97% Buddhist. They believe that all life is suffering, and the only way to escape... [continue]

You will be hated for my name’s sake

Coming from the South, New York City was a huge culture shock. New York City has a population of 8 million +, when my hometown doesn't even reach close to 1 million. At first, I told myself there's no way I could live here. You don't even feel the freedom to breathe. But then it grew on me.

I am living in Manhattan and commute to Brooklyn where I have begun to work with Pastor Danny at Swerve Church. Bushwick is a neighborhood two square miles wide and home to 140,000 people. It is filled with art, culture and a great need for God. You learn very quickly that you are in their territory, which makes ministry here very relational... [continue]

Defining Work in Oregon

I have found the word “work” to be one of the hardest words to define when speaking about ministry here in the Northwest. In the American context, most define work as space to complete a task or an hourly fulfilment. However, these examples are constructed with a beginning and an ending. Work is merely the time in between.

The work I’m a part of here redefines and challenges the concept because I am always on the clock with my students. I travel, eat, I feel pain and live life with them every day.

The international students who I minister to are in need of a friend who can answer the awkward cultural questions, give advice... [continue]

Seeking God’s presence in California

Salam (hello),

I came to California not knowing what to expect, but knowing that I need to be obedient to the call of making disciples among all the nations. My trip includes serving the Afghan community in Fremont, California. When we got here, Ramadan - a time when Muslims fast from dawn to sunset - had just begun.

For me it was hard to come and not have a set schedule of what to do, but the Lord showed me Psalms 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth!”

Jesus has been teaching me to be still in his presence since February, but he has been reminding me, “Ana... [continue]

Sharing the Gospel with Greeks

Click here to read the previous post from Ginnie.

The following day, our team of 11 split up and four of us volunteered to do a 24-hour shift at Skala, which is a stage two refugee camp. Typically, no one willingly volunteers to be at Skala, since there have not been many refugees since the EU-Turkey Accord in March; however; Eurorelief requires that a team be there just in case a few boats happen to get past the Turkish Navy.

I really did not want to go, but when my leader asked for volunteers, I felt the Lord nudging me to go. After a few moments of awkward silence, I listened to the Holy Spirit and volunteered... [continue]

Continuing to share life-giving words in East Asia

Jennifer has served as a semester missionary in East Asia for the past few months. Here are her thoughts as she contemplates leaving those she has befriended and have yet to receive salvation.

How often do we pause to think about God's love for us? The depth of God's love that caused Him to take our debt so that we may live with Him forever. It is a love that we cannot fully understand until we begin to grasp the debt we owe. 

Then, let the weight of such a gift give a desire for friends to accept His love also. With this love, it is nearly unbearable to watch friends hesitate to make a choice and watch them consider whether or... [continue]

Is there a sign on my forehead?

Sometimes a client will ask me if there is a sign on his/her forehead that says something to the effect of, “Abuse me, I’m a target.” Of course there is no sign, but at times negative reoccurrences in a life leads one to wonder if indeed there is a sign.

The truth is, to God’s people, and especially God’s ministers and their families, there is a target on each one. In our church, there is an elderly saint who prays especially for my husband and me. He tells us that we have big red targets on us. No, he is not hallucinating. He knows God’s Word tells us this is true.

There is an adversary, the devil, who prowls around like a... [continue]

Breaking fast in Greece

The Lord is always good, but the Lord has been especially good these passed few days here on the island of Lesvos, Greece. The beauty here is unimaginable. The rolling hills, the glistening Aegean Sea, the Greeks whose smiles and warm nature always make your day. At times you might forget that just a couple miles away lies a refugee camp. While the tension and the hurt is palpable and real, I cannot deny that the very essence of God flows through every inch of that camp and the entire island.

As the days have passed in the camp, there have been families I've come to know and love, children who I could see playing on my street back... [continue]

Riding on a rickshaw and seeing God at work

I have been in South Asia for 10 full days and I can honestly say that everything is completely different from anything I've known before. The language, food, architecture, culture, people, dress and transportation are all very different than life in the States.

Today, I'm going to focus on the transportation difference though. In the United States, we have a lot of traffic laws and regulations that are in place to promote order, safety and peace of mind amongst its citizens. In South Asia, there are some traffic laws, but most of them aren't followed because there are millions of people trying to get where they need to. There... [continue]

Where to turn when ministry is hard

Ministry can be wonderfully fulfilling. It can also be incredibly taxing. Statistics concerning ministers are staggering! According to Life Recovered, 75 percent of ministry leaders report they’ve had a significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry. Thirty-three percent confess “inappropriate” behavior. The clergy has the second highest divorce rate among all professions. Forty-five percent of ministers’ wives say the greatest danger to them and their family is physical, emotional, mental and spiritual burnout.

Ministry leaders are expected to have perfect marriages, well-behaved children and no personal... [continue]

We are all in this together: Boomers and millennials on mission

“Without individuals, nothing changes. Without institutions, nothing survives.” So said French philosopher and statesman Maurice Talleyrand. He concluded there is a need for both the maverick individual who seeks to disturb the status quo, as well as the company man who presides over the equilibrium. We, Jim and Nick, both represent voices from generations that epitomize each caricature.

One of us is an Uber-riding, selfie-taking, student debt-accumulating, norm-bucking individual. Don't group him, because 'nobody puts baby in a corner.' He defies your labels but admires your fascination. He is a millennial, someone born between... [continue]

Want to Minister to People Who Live with Mental Illness? Here’s Where to Start

Imagine this.

You are a soldier, a veteran of war. The experiences that have made you stronger have also left your body marked by scars. The battles you have survived have helped you discover previously unknown parts of yourself that both make you proud and terrify you. Your training shows in the way you walk, the way you talk and the lines on your face.

You appreciate when people recognize you as a veteran and thank you for your service. But what you really need is to be with people who understand, who have been where you have been and who don’t require you to explain your stories or hide your struggles.

So you look online and... [continue]

A burdened heart to reach the lost

What truths or experiences capture a heart to burden it with the task of reaching a lost world? For me, it was a crowd of people in Taichung, Taiwan. In 2000, I served with Go Now Missions in Taiwan. I wasn’t the most active student in the BSM, and only heard about the trip because the lead singer of a band I was in wanted to go. I loved Jesus, but the task of reaching a lost world hadn't captured my heart. I simply wanted to play guitar for my band on the other side of the globe.

Although I had traveled globally, and even lived in the Middle East due to my father’s career, this trip was different. In Taiwan, our band played at... [continue]

Nourishing bodies and minds in Sri Lanka: Texas Baptist Hunger Offering

In villages across Sri Lanka, many mothers struggle with the harsh reality that they are unable to provide healthy food for their children to eat. Many are either too poor to put food on the table consistently, or they don’t know what healthy food is and how nutrition impacts the bodies and minds of their growing children. Children who grow up malnourished are more likely to struggle with illnesses and developmental delays, leading to more medical issues as they get older.

According to UNICEF, nearly one of every five children in Sri Lanka is born with low birth weight and approximately 29 percent of children under five years... [continue]

Don’t lose the spark in your marriage

This article is part four of the Marriage in a Fishbowl series, focused on encouragement and helpful marriage tips for ministers. It is written by Cory and Amy Brand, a ministry couple serving in Corsicana. Click here to read part one, part two, and part three.

“So, what do you do in your free time?” (We’ll give you a minute to stop laughing…) We have found that, even when we do have a free minute, we don’t really even know what we enjoy doing anymore. So much of our time is scripted for us that we can’t even imagine having a choice of activities!

I read an article recently by Pastor Chris Hodges called “How to Make Your... [continue]

A Short Walk to Another World: Reflections on ministry on the border

On a beautiful clear Saturday morning, I had the opportunity to join Josue Valerio, director of the Missions Team, and my daughter Kalie Lowrie, publications manager for Texas Baptists, on an outing to help train a handful of pastors in the Juarez Valley. Our day began with a short walk over an International Bridge from El Paso into Juarez. In less than 30 minutes, God transported us by foot into another world—a world of opportunity.

A local pastor named Jose Angel Hernandez, also a Texas Baptists River Ministry coordinator, greeted us in his older model Suburban and transported us along streets and byways much more like a third... [continue]

Growing up in a preacher’s home

Growing up as a preacher’s daughter was a wonderful experience for me. I’ve learned many life lessons being raised in the ministry. I’m grateful my parents taught me the importance of having a personal relationship with God, loving and serving people, and always being positive. I will be forever grateful to my parents for setting the example of what it truly means to love and serve the Lord.

One thing that needs to be understood while serving in ministry would be the word “sacrifice.” Sacrifice of leaving behind friends to move to another city, sleeping in on Sunday mornings and family time. We moved every two to three years... [continue]

Running with endurance in South Africa

God is full of wisdom, and I’m impressed how He knows every heart and mind. One of the activities that I was part of this weekend was a race with obstacles. In this race, God showed me His unconditional love, patience and grace that we go through in our Christian life. This race took place this past Saturday, and there were six kilometers that we needed to run.

Five members of the orphanage, where I am currently serving, were participating in this race, including Brianna and myself. There were two boys with the ages around 11 and 9. The other person who ran was a girl who is 14 years old.

One of the best things to do in these... [continue]

Why the church must be involved in caring for those with mental health issues

According to statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health, in 2014, 18.1% of U. S. adults aged 18 or older had experienced some form of mental illness within the past year. This statistic translated into an estimated 43.6 million adults, or 1 out of every 5 adults, and did not even include the millions of children with mental disorders! Given these numbers, it is important for churches to develop plans to engage and serve people who struggle with mental health issues. There are at least four reasons that the church must do so.

Firstly, the church must care for people with mental health issues because of our... [continue]

Cultivating meaningful communication with your spouse

This article is part three of the Marriage in a Fishbowl series, focused on encouragement and helpful marriage tips for ministers. It is written by Cory and Amy Brand, a ministry couple serving in Corsicana. Click here to read part one and part two.

“Never close your lips to those whom you have already opened your heart.” - Charles Dickens

A church member dies. Someone feels forgotten. A family falls apart. Another financial need arises. A cancer diagnosis. The phone rings…again. Is anybody else exhausted?

As ministers, we are constantly battered by the pain in this world, by the fallout from sinful choices, and from the... [continue]

​Medical missions--Providing light in a man's darkest moments

"'For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me'...And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'" Matthew 25:35-36,40

How does God work to save a man from taking his own life? How can a clinic team and two pastors reach a man in his darkest hour? God alone can be the explanation.

This week, I traveled with a group of pre-med and medical students to El Paso... [continue]

Moving forward

The following story took place early in the 21st century:

The first day on the job, my pastor husband was setting up his office in a wonderful church where we were serving at the time. He called out to his secretary: "How do I access the internet?" She responded, "We don't!"

It turns out that the World Wide Web had never inhabited the little church. Later that week, pastor husband gathered among a group of humble servants to have a discussion about getting the office set up with an internet provider. The proposal was initially met with pleasant chatter of several obvious reasons the staff could use access to the internet in... [continue]

A Holy Week reflection on suffering

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Christ and Him crucified.1 Corinthians 2:2

The cross of Jesus Christ is central to our faith, and its presence could not be more evident during this time of year. In this season, we remember the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. We have prepared our hearts through Lenten devotion. We have set our minds on Good Friday in order to discern the grace of God in the most difficult of situations. Even now, we wait with bated breath for hope to rise again with resurrection power on Sunday morning.

We can't wait for Sunday morning. Sunday morning is when the darkness of night... [continue]

Are you stuck?

This past weekend my daughters and I attended a sold out Beth Moore Conference in Waco with 7000 women in attendance. As you probably already know - that many women going to one place would be phenomenal, would be awesome worship - 7000 voices at one time worshipping Jehovah, the One True God. The parking and gathering would be a headache, and the lines to the bathrooms (even the men's turned women's) would have long lines.

So we are in a city that none of us are familiar with - depending on our Garmin. We left the hotel early and set our sights on getting to the stadium, parking and finding our seats before worship started. We... [continue]

Putting marriage priorities back in order

This article is part two of the Marriage in a Fishbowl series, focused on encouragement and helpful marriage tips for ministers. It is written by Cory and Amy Brand, a ministry couple serving in Corsicana. Click here to read part one.

'And they lived happily ever after!'

Are you kidding me? I'd venture to say that any of us who have been married for any length of time have figured out that creating a good marriage takes work! But here's my question: who are you married to? I mean, let's just get really honest. Who consumes your thoughts, your time and your energy? Whose companionship do you seek? Who has your heart? Who are you... [continue]

Marriage in a Fishbowl

Have you ever had any of these thoughts?

  • I hope no one realizes that I have no idea what I'm doing.
  • I want to quit most Mondays.
  • I'm really kind of 'over' people. I'm not even sure I like them anymore.
  • I'm afraid that my kids will end up resenting me, despising the church and rejecting Jesus, all because of their experience as a pastor's kid.
  • My marriage is so strained I'm not sure we will make it.

Cory and I have been in ministry full time for most of our adult lives. We have served together, raised our kids under the watchful eyes (and often vocal opinions) of our congregations, led out in Bible studies and taught classes together, fed... [continue]

Today we have hope, today we are fed: Texas Baptist Hunger Offering at Work

Ruth sat at a table in the two-room shack where she lived with her abusive husband and four hungry children in the Dominican Republic. She stared at a cup of tea in her hand that would cause her to abort a fifth child she was now carrying.

"Ruth! Ruth!" She heard Rosa Elena calling her name from across the street. It became a God-moment, and the calling of Ruth's name saved the precious life of Ruth's unborn child.

Rosa Elena did not just cry out to Ruth; Rosa Elena fed Ruth and her children, and shared God's love for her and spoke of the gift of life Ruth carried within her.

Today, Ruth serves in a kitchen preparing food for more... [continue]

Listening and responding to the Lord’s call to go

Go Now Missions recently hosted Discovery Weekend at First Baptist Church Midlothian, where 195 students were issued invitations to serve as Go Now Missionaries after the weekend. There were 50 small group leaders, made up of BSM Staff, Church Staff and students who are former Go Now Missionaries; 25 host homes provided by FBC Midlothian; 17 who served on the Prayer Team; and 25 who served on the Servant Team. Below is a story from one student who participated in the weekend.

"Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well." 1 Thessalonians 2:8

Last July, I felt the... [continue]

Should I smack someone or is there a better choice?

It was our first day back at church after being away for a month. I got up early, spent time in prayer for the services and for my own heart's cleansing, praying that nothing in my heart would hinder the work of the Holy Spirit in my life or the lives of my family – personal and church.

During the morning service, I was just overwhelmed while we were singing of the love of Jesus and I was reminded of the story of Calvary. It was a great morning of worship.

However, the service was barely over when things went downhill. Hurtful, critical words said thoughtlessly by a fellow Christian brought me close to tears and really hurt... [continue]

I wanna know what love is

Like the 80s rock band Foreigner, I want to know what love is. And I am not alone in my inquiry. Legendary singer Tina Turner asks, "what's love got to do with it?" John Legend speaks of its all encompassing nature, singing it has affected "all of me." So what is it?

Diana Ross and Lionel Richie found that love is "endless." Beyoncé, Queen Bey, opines love is "crazy." Huey Lewis says there is a "power of love." How much power? Well, it made Stevie Wonder call just to say "I love you." Leona Lewis is quite figuratively "bleeding love." And Taylor Swift owes her entire career to love, or the lack thereof.

Determining whether they are... [continue]

​Revival through the radio waves in Honduras

This past month, Radio Rio de Dios had an incredible time of ministry. During the last week of January, during our monthly marathon, special guest Pedro Paz came to the radio station to pray, share the Gospel and minister to the listening audience.

Over a period of six days, more than 500 people came to the radio station seeking help, prayer, and to bring offerings for the radio ministry. People waited for hours outside in the hot sun to receive prayer and in some cases healing from various illnesses.

During the week over 175 decisions were made, many accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior for the first time, while others renewed... [continue]

Baptist University of the Américas to relocate entire campus

SAN ANTONIO – Baptist University of the Américas (BUA) students will enjoy a modern campus when they move into one building that provides more square footage and up-to-date facilities for Fall 2016.

The 68-year-old university on the Southside that educates Hispanic ministers from 23 countries is relocating its entire campus operations and personnel this summer.

The university is moving from the eight outdated buildings to a medical office building built in 2006 that has been unused due to foreclosure.

BUA has been on its campus at I-35 South and Palo Alto Road since 1965 and has launched a fundraising campaign to raise... [continue]

Ministers, church employees invited to participate in 2016 SBC Church Compensation Survey

DALLAS — GuideStone Financial Resources, along with LifeWay Research and Baptist state conventions, have opened the biennial SBC Church Compensation Survey for 2016. Ministers and church employees are invited to participate in the survey, a resource used by churches of all sizes to determine fair wages and benefits. Survey participants will have the opportunity to enter for a chance to win an iPad®. The survey and complete contest rules are available at

The survey's results will be made available in the early fall, in time for many churches considering their 2017 budgets. The survey is the... [continue]

Experiencing God’s call in Moldova

Going into the mission, I did not know what to expect. I knew we would be working with orphans and giving them shoes, but this mission was so much more than that. God used this mission to open my heart to what He calls us all to do - bring others to Christ.

I went into this trip feeling as though God would use me to make a great impact on the children in need, but He surprised me and used the orphans of Moldova to have a huge impact on me. In working with these children, I faced an incredible amount of joy and sadness. Some of the kids were ecstatic, while others were in despair. Seeing the light some of these children had in the... [continue]

Jamaica: Building Faith While Building Houses

I am convinced God has a sense of humor; He takes the most entertaining situations and uses them to build His character in us. Our first experience was the three-hour bus ride from Montego Bay to Harmons. Many in our group were very apprehensive of the narrow roads and steep exposure and trusted the experience and ability of the driver. I was struck with the similarity that life is sometimes like a bus ride: exciting in the beginning, but as we get into the twists, blind turns and hills of life, we realize our need for dependence upon God to guide us safely to our destination. By the end of the ride, we are grateful to have arrived... [continue]

Jamaica: Laying Foundations Physically and Spiritually

I spent the first week of 2016 in Harmons, Jamaica, serving with the Won By One to Jamaica project.

During the week, I got to live out what I believe is God's calling for my life. I helped build a house and lay a foundation alongside Jamaicans while investing in their lives in order to show them who Christ is - the true foundation.

Little did I know that I would be changed as much as I was and in the way I was. God changed my heart by the joy of the people. The people, who I went to with the intention of helping, showed me Christ's heart in a new light.

What amazes me is this is too often the case with mission trips. The missionary... [continue]

Walking in the fire, continued

Part One closed with this scripture: Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

You may not realize it but this is a major part of dealing with stress and burnout.

I gave you a list of symptoms to look for. Could you see yourself in that list? Perhaps over the holidays you have been more aware of the pressures put on you by others. Many people experience chronic depression during the... [continue]

Seeing God at work in Oregon

God was abundant in His faithfulness and provision over this past week. We got to meet and interact with so many University of Oregon students and create relationships with those who were intrigued at being called to the Lord's hands; all while working with an awesome team at the university.

We handed out flyers and explained the intentionality found in Northwest Collegiate Ministry to students and why God's Love is such a bigger deal than all else. We also prayer walked and evangelized to students during our work times.

Getting an idea of what ministry and evangelism looks like in the Northwest was incredible and something I am... [continue]

The ultimate harvester at work in East Asia

This past winter break I spent Christmas in East Asia meeting university students and spreading the Gospel to more than 100 people who had never even heard the name Jesus. Going to East Asia during Christmas opened a huge window of opportunities to share with students the true reason that we celebrate Christmas. Our outreach included meeting students on campus, inviting them to meet up for lunch and to attend the Christmas parties we had during the two weeks we were there.

My biggest concern for this trip was meeting students. I figured it would be impossible to actually meet someone willing to have lunch or come to a Christmas... [continue]

Even the smallest gesture of obedience

Over Christmas break, Go Now Missions mobilized student missionaries around the world, including to New York, where a team served Chinese churches. Eliud Valle, student from University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, tells a testimony from one of the unique encounters he had on the trip:

I wasn't very excited about going out to random streets and handing out bags that contained old newspapers and a card with the church's information on them. My group and I walked for about an hour and a half and we had yet to come across someone to talk to.

On our walk back, I decided to go up to a house and knock on the door. No one answered at first... [continue]

Becoming New York street sweepers

It was Christmas day. My bags were packed and my heart was ready to serve on the mission field in New York City. I left Texas the following morning, arriving in New York City with the anticipation of my team concentrating our efforts solely in the Chinatowns of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Flushing. Although I was sent by Go Now Missions to work with Chinese churches in the first-ever "Christmas in Chinatown" project, God orchestrated my week much differently than I had initially expected.

After two full days of ministry with Chinese churches in Brooklyn, I had already been humbled and stretched far out of my "Christian comfort zone... [continue]

God’s perfect timing revealed in a subway food court

The first couple of days [in New York] were trying because not many of the community people seemed to respond to our attempts to have intentional conversations. I was having a difficult time finding the opportunity to share the Gospel with anyone even though I did have a few nice conversations with people on the subway about what our team was doing in New York.

However, my conversations never really went any further than that and asking if those people needed prayer. As the week went on, I began contemplating whether or not I was wasting or missing opportunities to serve the Lord well in New York. I wanted to so badly share the... [continue]

New York and a hope worth talking about

In the months leading up to my trip one word seemed to keep surfacing in conversations with friends and family. As I sit down and began to process the events of this past week, I began to see how that same word seemed to lace itself through the week. That word was hope.

Hope: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

What does it mean for us to have hope, what do we hope in? We have hopes, or expectations for our futures, we find ourselves constantly hoping for or expecting something better than what we have. As Christians we have hope in, or expectations that God will fulfill his promises. This isn't a new... [continue]

How Moldova changed the way I see missions

This winter I served in Moldova where I got to fit needy children with a new pair of shoes and share the Gospel with them. I went in not knowing what to expect, sure I had prayed and I researched the country but I still didn't know what would happen or how the children and people from the country would receive us.

During the week we spent in Moldova, the south team – the team I was on – gave out over 1300 pairs of shoes, and that is from one team alone. I believe collectively we gave out around 3,000 pairs of shoes. From the various orphanages and churches we visited, there were two children who engraved their names in my... [continue]

The week that changed my life

I was given an amazing opportunity to serve in Arlington at Mission Arlington, and my view on people changed entirely. I am not used to working with people in general and it came to be an issue, but with God's help, I made it through. God brought me to Arlington, so I can connect with these people. I am going through a financial issue in my family right now, so connecting with these people was not an issue. God used me in so many more ways that I could ever imagine Him doing. I'm such a shy person, but that shell completely broke down with speaking to these people. I normally don't talk to strangers, let alone have a spiritual... [continue]

Seeing God’s sovereignty through small blessings

On my third day of working with Mission Arlington, I was able to do something new from my regular job in child care. I worked the in the front office.

My job was to help people who needed food, clothes, help paying bills, etc. I would bring them into a room, talk to them about what they needed, pray for them and then take them shopping in our store where everything was free.

I talked and prayed for several people. After about four hours, I had a woman come in. When I sat her down to talk, I asked her how she was doing. She looked tired, and stressed out.

She said, "I have to ask someone to jump my car all the time, I don't have a... [continue]

Get to know: Clay Carter

  1. Where do you serve and what is your role? I serve at FBC Perryton as the Student and Education Minister.
  2. Most influential book you've read in the past two years? One book that has impacted me, which I just finished, is "Limited Church: Unlimited Kingdom" by Rob Rienow. Great book that challenges ministers on the effectiveness of current ministry practices.
  3. Who is the one person who has had the most impact on your ministry?My youth pastor, Jerry Pritchett, who was my youth minister my junior and senior year of high school.
  4. What I love most about youth ministry is . . .Seeing students come to know Christ and mature in
... [continue]

Get to know: Scott Dishman

1. Where do you serve and what is your role?

First Baptist Church Palestine, Texas. Youth Pastor

2. Most influential book you've read in the past two years?

The most influential book is "Jesus Focused Youth Ministry", wish I has read it years ago. Made me take a total different look at my ministry to students.

3. Who is the one person who has had the most impact on your ministry?

My wife Laurie Dishman has had the most impact on my ministry. She has been my rock from the very beginning. She is always there to listen and puts up with my craziness.

4. What I love most about youth ministry is . . .

I love being... [continue]

Walking in the fire

When you have given of yourself until there is nothing left to give, there is a way to recover.

I sat in my office at the church and cried, "God, I don't want to do this anymore." It wasn't the first time God and I had this conversation, but this time was different. Times before I was frustrated, or I just didn't like some of the current issues the church was going through. This time I was depressed, my heart was aching and I literally felt like every part of my insides had been poured out. There was nothing left but the physical part of me trapped being a pastor.

For 10 years, I had been involved in itinerant ministry. My wife and I... [continue]

Do you have Christmas expectations?

The turkey buzz is over. This week alone we have five Christmas parties! I am tired just making my checklist of what to bring to each party, what to wear, scheduling childcare, etc ... As I thought about what to write for this blog my heart was overcome with the emotions and stress of the season. I want to be joyful and sentimental and have all of those "christmasy" feelings, but instead I feel cranky and frazzled.

As a teenager who felt a strong calling to ministry, I never imagined I would feel this way about Christmas. My favorite thing to do was attend our church's Christmas Eve service. I loved everything about it: the... [continue]

Finding comfort in Wales through Christ’s human nature

Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. Hebrews‬ ‭12:3‬ ‭‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

I've found myself in a culture made up of people I don't know, and who do no not know me. I've left the familiarity of my home in Texas and I now live in a city that is far from my comfort zone. I no longer live in the Bible Belt. I live in a society that values independence and has little patience for institutionalized religion. Fair enough. It's been a challenging change, but a good change, and in an effort to follow Paul's, and by extension, Christ's,... [continue]

Get to know: Dan McGlasson

1. Where do you serve and what is your role?

I serve as Minister to Students at First Baptist Church in the center of the universe, El Paso, Texas. My responsibilities include the planning and coordination of the youth program, grades 6 through 12, along with general ministerial duties for the church

2. Most influential book you've read in the past two years?

I don't know about influential, but for practical it is "The 7 Best Practices for Teaching Teenagers the Bible" by Andy Blanks. Very concise and a good manual for my workers.

3. Who is the one person who has had the most impact on your ministry?

My direct... [continue]

How to deal with conflict

Before my husband was a pastor, I had my ideas about pastors' wives. I figured they were more spiritual than the average person. That they were better at dealing with conflict. That they had some sort of secret, Holy Spirit infused wisdom that gave them the ability to know what to say, and when and how to say it.

Then my husband stepped foot in the pulpit on his very first Sunday.

I sat there in my designated spot on the front row, knowing without a doubt that I was no more wise, or spiritual or in tune with God's people than I had been the week before. Yet, there I sat, "The Pastor's Wife", and I knew there was a room full of people... [continue]

Encouragement to operate on faith

As long as I can remember, my mother validated her life by operating on faith. I was told that if you truly believed with all your heart that God is able, He will keep His promises. I've included some scriptures which remind me of His goodness, His grace and His mercy repeat in my mindset:

  • Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen
  • 1 John 5:4; Hebrews 11:6 Faith is the victory that overcomes the world and without faith it is impossible to please God
  • 1 Corinthians 13:2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to
... [continue]

Opportunities for patience and obedience in the day-to-day

God's Provision at the Post Office

A few weeks ago, I took an Iranian man, Robert*, to the post office to see if he could find some boxes he had been looking for in the mail for weeks. He shipped seven boxes of books to his new address here in Fort Worth before he left Malaysia about three months ago. The boxes were long overdue and only one had arrived. When we went to the post office we waited in the long, end of the day line that's always there in the afternoon. For a while, I passed the time on my phone. When I started to get impatient God prompted me to pray. He said: "You have not because you ask not." So, I put my phone... [continue]

Engage 24: Sharing the Gospel with two pennies on a college campus

We first met Joe while doing a Solarium Outreach Table on campus about a month ago. He was more than willing to participate in sharing about his life and beliefs. To be honest, I don't remember if it was me or my fellow campus missionary intern, Patrick, who led him through the survey, but I do remember he heard the Gospel that day. About a week ago, I ran into Joe again while I was playing pool in the University Center. I said "hello" to him and he seemed surprised that I even remembered his name. He played a game or two with me, and we talked a little bit about life and other things. We both went on our way.

Then this week, I... [continue]

Get to know: Charles Washington

  1. Where do you serve and what is your role?I serve at the Texas Baptist Children's Home as the minister of youth and recreation.
  2. Most influential book you've read in the past two years?No More Excuses by Tony Evans
  3. What I love most about youth ministry is . . .Building relationships with youth. I love the aspect of community building because it creates deep and lasting bonds. Despite the brokenness in the world, the kids I work with are great to be around, and as they come and go, the memories I make with them are life long, and will never leave.
  4. If I could see anyone in concert it would be . . .Stevie Wonder
  5. If I could go anywhere on
... [continue]

Eating Together

"Let's eat." Those may be my favorite two words. Whether it's dinner with my family or Wednesday night supper at church, few things speak of the abundant life God longs to give us like sitting together over a delicious meal. Perhaps that's the reason Jesus' primary commandment about Christian worship involved the commandment to eat together. Baptists generally believe Jesus left us with two ordinances for worship: baptism and the Lord's Supper. While we have brought baptism into the building, baptisms originally happened in public. The one thing Jesus told us to do when we gather together for worship was to share this meal and... [continue]

Understanding persecution in North Africa

We had been meeting with O and his family for a few weeks, they are Sudanese refugees. He has had contact with several followers, but we had not yet determined whether he was one, too, or not. His wife had already committed her life to the Son and had been on fire.

The Christian worker, J, who connected with them, had been mentoring her one-on-one for a few weeks by this point. However, they were (and still are) undergoing a lot of persecution. When her brother in Sudan found out she had switched over from his religion to following the Son, he threatened both her and O.

He traveled to our city to find them and take her home... [continue]

Why it is important to live life with intentionality

I'm not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination. However, I was challenged about ten years ago by a friend to give running a try. "Running?" I asked. How funny is that! I had never been in any kind of sport in school. I did accept her challenge and began running with her. Physically, it was the hardest thing I had ever attempted. It was very slow at first; just down the street a bit, then adding a little more distance each time. Before I knew it I had reached ten miles over time after a great deal of hard work and determination; something I thought I would never do! I now run regularly and it is one of my favorite things to... [continue]

An expression of love at Christmas

The viral video begins with a college-age young man approaching a homeless man on the street. The pessimist in me assumes the young man and his videotaping cohort are up to no good. I'm expecting them to taunt the poor man, tape their escapades and replay it for their evil pleasure.

I underestimated the power of love.

The young men proceed to take the homeless man to a clothing store. There, they allow the man to choose a new pair of shoes, two pairs of jeans, several shirts and other clothes. The receipt on the video shows $151 in expenditures. Next, they rent a hotel room for the man for two nights. "I haven't slept on a bed in... [continue]

Living life to the fullest in Wales: Part 2

Read Part 1.

My goal for the year is to present Jesus to the people I meet, exactly as He is. Not as a strident task-master, but has a friend who, by His death on the cross, has freed us up to live and to love others.

Michael Frost, whose writing we've been assigned to read over the last few weeks, says that a missionary's job is to live questionable lives, and to alert people to God's reign as the King and Creator of this earth. This excites me.

Like I said in my earlier post, God has allowed me to have passions, and as my Father, He loves that I love these things. For instance, I love CrossFit. I love CrossFit because... [continue]

Living life to the fullest in Wales: Part 1

"I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10

Students have arrived in Bangor, and the town has new life. A university town with no university students is a quiet town. Before, the town would become eerily quiet at around six when all the cafes and shops started to close. There was no night-life, and not much to do in the day either. But then students got here and now the town is abuzz at all hours of the night, which I quite enjoy.

Now that there are students in town, there are friends to be made. Last night, I was riding in a car with Ryan and a few new friends. One is from Scotland, one is from... [continue]

When God has a bigger plan

I had a plan at an early age.

I wanted to become a preacher's wife; to be just like our preacher's wife, Ms. Nelda, whose face was kind. Her husband was well-spoken and always jolly. He seemed like an angel to me as he stood in the baptismal waters on special Sundays with light from heaven (it seemed) shining on him and the one he plunged into the waters.

They lived in the holiest spot in town, in a gingerbread-looking rock house right across from the church. They were lucky enough to have a constant stream of friends, including myself, who would cross the street after church inviting themselves into the rust chain-link... [continue]

Get to know: Mike Vasquez

Mike Vasquez is the youth pastor at First Baptist Church Hondo.

1. Most influential book you've read in the past two years?

"Crazy Love" by Francis Chan

2. Who is the one person who has had the most impact on your ministry?

My home pastor, Bob McCarter. Pastor Bob taught/modeled what it meant to love the church, and what it meant to invest in relationships.

3. What I love most about youth ministry is . . .

I love students. They are the present and they are the future. Watching them grow and develop into men and women of God is my favorite thing.

4. If I could see anyone in concert it would be . . .

David... [continue]

Get to know: Stephanie Canaday

Stephanie Canaday is the Minister to Students at Faith Fellowship Baptist Church in Denison, Texas. I work with the students in 7th-12th grades and their families.

1. Most influential book you've read in the past two years?

"Speaking to Teenagers", by Doug Fields.

2. Who is the one person who has had the most impact on your ministry?

Kathy Wilburn. She has taught me so much from how to teach a class, how to plan a large event, and how to always put people first. The greatest part was half the time I didn't even realize I was being taught anything. I thought I was just helping out. Probably the best... [continue]

Get to know: Courtney Williams

Courtney Williams serves as the Minister of Children, Youth, and Young Adult Discipleship at David Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Austin, TX.

1. Most influential book you've read in the past two years?

Having gone through two Masters Theological programs in the past 3 ½ years, I've read numerous interesting texts alongside the Bible, but the most influential book I've read in the past two years is probably "Spiritual Warfare: The Battle for God's Glory" by Jerry Rankin.

2. Who is the one person who has had the most impact on your ministry?

While my lifelong Pastor and biological father played a huge role in the... [continue]

Why you should never say never

Growing up, we would pass through Houston on the way to my aunt's house in Texas City. We would always say, "We'll never live here!" But then, the last half of my junior year in high school, we moved from my beautiful, quiet, peaceful, quaint East Texas small town to the concrete, noisy, busy, modern life of the city! Never say never! I thought I was going to die! But you know, I actually learned a thing or two, and made one or two good friends. I still hated the city, but I didn't die!

After Keith and I married and he finished seminary, our first church was in Lubbock. I have always been a "kid person" so naturally I volunteered... [continue]

College campus challenged by the Great Commission

Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK) has been challenged by the "Great Commission." Our lead team came up with a great outreach to reach students that would not normally come to a BSM services. Who does not have a love for pancakes? Plus we hand them out for free.

After coming back home from Beach Reach our leaders asked themselves, "how can we bring the Beach Reach mission back to our campus?" Since the spring of 2015 we have started a new outreach that we have been starting to do at least once every month. This outreach entails at least 25 boxes of pancakes and several student volunteers. After 24/7,our Thursday night service... [continue]

They don't have the gospel

Last week, as we were walking outside to get our scooters and leave our supervisor's apartment, our supervisor came outside and showed us something. We had been hearing firecrackers go off all night and he pointed out why.

Ghost Holiday.

Just a few feet away, lining both sides of the sidewalk were little areas, encircled with white powder, burning incense. Our supervisor told us they popped the firecrackers to ward off evil spirits. They burned these things for their ancestors – to appease them and make them happy so they wouldn't curse them. They worshipped their ancestors.

I stood there in the middle of the sidewalk just staring... [continue]

Go Now missionaries see God at work in the midst of opposition

We have Go Now missionaries faithfully serving everyday around the world. The peak time of service is over the summer, when many college students have a break from school. However, it is important to know we also have students who take a semester of time to serve the Lord wherever He has called them. I love being able to hear the phenomenal stories of these faithful students and pass them on to our Texas Baptists.

This week, two Go Now students serving in South Asia have endured spiritual warfare unlike what many of us have ever seen and have remained faithful to the Lord's call to proclaim the Gospel.

Rachel and Michelle* go out... [continue]

It’s All About the Maintenance

With just a glance my way you can immediately see that I didn't spend much of my young adulthood taking care of my body. It was different when I was younger. Through high school and college I was very active and physically fit. But as I married, pursued a career, had a child and encountered health issues which limited my activity, taking care of myself kind of got put to the side.

As a Christian woman, wife of a minister and a mother, what is my responsibility to care for myself physically? Paul wrote to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 6:19, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have... [continue]

A prayer to make God's name known in the red light district

A few days ago we went to the red light district of this area I am living in. We worked with the children of the prostitutes there and helped them with school work.

I was sitting in the middle of a slum, in a small room filled with kids with smiling faces, who are being beaten by their fathers or not cared for by their mothers. Just the fact that they are getting an education is very rare, and some of them will never leave the slum that they have grown up in their whole lives.

We walked up and down the streets of this place, and there was woman after woman sitting outside of their small, one bedroom house, waiting for customers to... [continue]

5 Things you need to be doing for your college freshmen students right now

Para leer en español, oprime aquí.

In my experience as a Baptist Student Ministry director, I see that once Christian college students start college life, the academic, social and financial demands, not to mention a new environment and new lifestyle, can make a well-intended college student put God on the back burner.

I understand how we could think Christian college students should remain close to God, specially those who were active in youth group and attended summer camp for several years. Unfortunately this is not the case for many students.

So, what can we do about this? How can we help a college student stay... [continue]

5 acciones que usted necesita tomar para ayudar a sus estudiantes universitarios ahora mismo

To read in English, click here.

En mi experiencia como Director del Ministerio Bautista Estudiantil, veo que una vez que los estudiantes universitarios cristianos comienzan su carrera, las exigencias académicas, sociales, y financieras, por no hablar de un nuevo ambiente y nuevo estilo de vida, pueden hacer que un estudiante bien intencionado ponga a Dios en segundo plano.

Entiendo cómo podríamos esperar que los estudiantes deban permanecer cerca de Dios en la universidad, especialmente los que fueron activos en el grupo de jóvenes y asistieron a campamentos de verano durante varios años. Desafortunadamente este no es... [continue]

Facing the oceans in South Texas and finding strength in the Lord

A lot of really great people in my life encouraged me to do Go Now Missions this summer. My BSM directors, my friends, pastors and loved ones encouraged me to take a step of obedience and to go wherever I was called, to leave my 'yes' on the table for God no matter what. It seemed like such a daunting task and I was in denial, although a small part of my heart never allowed me to just say "no" and walk away.

I remember having an epiphany one day over Christmas break, that I could no longer change and grow spiritually if I was going to try and stay within my comfort zone at school and at home. This "aha" moment lead to prayers for... [continue]

The beauty of a sunrise in the midst of darkness

Most of the world is asleep at 4 o'clock in the morning. I am normally asleep at 4 in the morning, but not today. Today, I am sitting on the top of a mountain, shivering from head to toe, and waiting for the sun to rise. If I weren't so much in awe, I think I'd be crying because of the beauty that surrounds me. I look to the left and see the Portland city lights shining in the darkness. I look to the right and I can see mountain peaks against the barely lit sky.

I am humbled by all that surrounds me. I am so small in comparison to these vast sloping mountains. As it gets closer and closer to sunrise time, my surroundings become more... [continue]

The power of a new Bible in the hands of a child

It was one of our rougher apartment complexes. I was warned that the kids were typically loud, disrespectful and disobedient. It was my first week teaching them and I was a little nervous. So far I had only visited the property during other activities, but now I was suddenly responsible for this infamous group of kids.

The kids always trickled in slowly at first, which was fine because it gave my partner and I a chance to get them signed in before they started playing games. We always played games with the kids for an hour before cleaning up for a Bible study during the last 30 minutes.

There was a small handful of other kids there... [continue]

Demonstrating your best gift for the church

Every day at my house there will be any number of boo boos and tears. With four small children, one or more of them will invariably stub a toe, bump a head or get swiped in the face with a foam sword by one of their siblings. All of these boo boos need my love and attention. At the heart of the matter is not the stubbed toe, but a heart that needs to be told, "I love you and I care for you." Each kiss, each hug, seeps out the love my children desperately need.

Although the type of boo boos that hurt our heart change over time, our need to be wrapped in God's love does not. In the Bible, we are told of our Father's great love for... [continue]

Six months in Southeast Asia: the highs, the lows and God’s unfailing love

I have learned so much about God's character in the time I have been in Southeast Asia and this last month really helped me put all my thoughts together.

First off, throughout my time there God continued to remind me of His perfect love. It always seems funny to me that He could show me such love in the middle of a red-light district, in a place so deprived of it. However, it turned out to be the perfect place for Him to show me. Every time I stepped onto the streets of one of the districts, I was reminded of these words, "There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still." For me it was all the encouragement needed... [continue]

Blind, but now I see

When you think of East Asia, what do you see? What do you think of?

Super crowded streets and cities? Buildings on top of buildings? Pollution? Rice and noodles? Split pants? Scooters everywhere? Asian cartoon characters on everything? Chenglish? Poverty?

Millions of people, faces or souls who live without hope daily?

People who walk around living their day to day life looking for satisfaction, meaning and value in anything and all the wrong things because they don't know there is more?

I see people who laugh, cry, drink coffee, take selfies, play basketball, make pizzas, watch movies, have children, get married, work... [continue]

Shining stars and talks of God in Quebec

We've just finished our first week of having residential campers here at Frontier Lodge! Thanks be to God because we had the smoothest week with no hiccups or accidents! Residential camp is for campers who stay with us a week or more, living with us in the cabins and spending time with us all day, all week. Also, this is when the Christian camp starts, so we can talk about Jesus all we want!

My cabin had three girls in it, all age 10, plus my junior counselor who is 15. My girls were named Reiley, Norah, and Kaitlyn (it made me so happy we had the same name, but I couldn't let her know because we all go by camp names, and mine is... [continue]

A call to pray during a time of prayer

I'm living in one of the largest Muslim-populated countries in the world. I'm only here for two months, but my trip is during a really interesting time. I had the opportunity to experience life here before, during and after two of the biggest holidays: Ramadan (fasting month) and Eid al-Fitr (festival of breaking the fast). While I've studied and read a lot about their faith before I came, it's a whole different experience when you are actually surrounded by it day in and day out.

The call to prayer is heard loudly five times a day. It is a common occurrence for my friends to stop what we are doing to go pray, and it doesn't... [continue]

How Oregon trees taught me to give God control

As we walked up to the tree, my heart sank. I knew exactly what our next activity was on our trek in the woods with the YD adventures crew. I was so excited about getting to take a group of kids from our apartment buildings out camping for a few days, but as we approached the dreaded tree I began to question the wisdom of that decision. Ever since I witnessed my sister fall from a zip line, I have been a little leery of the idea of jumping out of trees. And these were not just any trees, these were Oregon trees (If you have been here then you know exactly what I'm talking about).

Oregon trees are TALL; however, this particular one... [continue]

Baylor University's continued stance on sexual ethics

Recently the Baylor Board of Regents changed the language of their student conduct policy. This action has been represented in a number of ways through headlines and news reports. Judge Ken Starr, president of Baylor University, sent us the following memo to help us understand the actions of Baylor and to clarify the misunderstandings that have accompanied this action. Please note the following from Judge Starr:

Recent news reports of changes to Baylor's sexual conduct policy have unfortunately employed sensational headlines that have created misunderstandings about our policy.

In fact, Baylor's sexual conduct policy... [continue]

Confessing struggles and insecurities during a heart-felt sleepover

It was a beautiful, sunny morning. Becca and I were walking through the Fountain Park apartment complex and praying for all the people living there. We prayed for a group of preteen girls we'd had the opportunity to meet, but that we were struggling to build relationships with. In that moment, Becca and I both thought about hosting a sleepover with the girls where we could play lots of games, watch movies, get to know the girls and teach them some of God's truths. When we told our supervisor about it, she thought it was a great idea, and we began planning to make it happen.

Fast forward two weeks, and we have another beautiful... [continue]

Even ninja turtles and robots are important to God

I looked up in the busy, chaotic room of waiting people. They were gathered in clumps decorated with hyper children. Some of them had been there for nearly an hour waiting for someone like me to grab their clipboard and call their name.

I skimmed quickly over the next person's paperwork and was thankful it was written in English. It was my first day on the job, and out of the all people I had already seen, over half of them spoke only Spanish. Though I could generally figure out what it was that Mission Arlington could do to help them, I struggled to hear their story or really communicate past understanding the words necesito ropa y... [continue]

How to handle opportunities when they come our way

Choosing Opportunities

Choosing opportunities is an everyday, life-long process. "Have you been praying?" are words I will never forget that have helped me make decisions, and rely on God.

The weekend before our wedding, my husband and I ran into a friend who had asked if he could give our information to a pastor and we said yes. That day was the start of something huge in our marriage because a few weeks later my husband received a phone call from the pastor about scheduling a meeting with some of the members, so we agreed to go for a visit. My first experience ever in a search committee meeting was pretty intense. I didn't think... [continue]

Finding beauty in the mundane, a lesson from Savannah

My time in Savannah so far has been filled to the brim with new experiences, new restaurants, new places and even seeing a couple of celebrities! I am in awe of all I have had the blessing of doing over the past several weeks. However, sometimes it hasn't been all that glamorous. Though my personality drives me to desire to go and do and never stop every second of the day, God is continuing to remind me that there is surely beauty in it all – from the mundane to the hilltop moments.

Work-wise, this week has consisted of sorting through donated clothes at the store, a meeting and taking one of our sweet residents to the dentist's... [continue]

Sadly leaving Portland, but God continues to work

It's almost been two whole months here in Portland, Oregon. Time seems to be flying by, but you can be certain that God continues to do what He promises. Not only has God wrecked my world, but He has given my team opportunities beyond what we could ever ask for. Relationships have been made, and soon they will be hindered by distance; it's comforting to know that Jesus will continue to move.

So, I apologize for my lack of structure and not getting my update in on time. If you know me then you know just how true that statement is! So let me update you while I have the chance!

This summer has been filled with more than just random... [continue]

Sharing a promise from God in Rhode Island

Growing up in the South meant everyone had heard of God and Christianity. That was just the way life was. Even if someone didn't believe, they were well aware of the faith. I hadn't met someone who had never heard of God. No matter where I had served on mission trips, the people I shared the Gospel with knew something about God and the Bible. That all changed on July 13, 2015.

I am currently serving in Connecticut and Rhode Island with church plants and other organizations through Go Now Missions. This summer has been full of soup kitchens and youth clubs where adults and children shared with me what they knew about God. They all... [continue]

HPU students serve God and experience Spanish culture on Costa Rica Trip

BROWNWOOD – Thirteen Howard Payne University students, faculty and staff members visited the country of Costa Rica following the end of the spring 2015 semester. The international experience was led by Carla Hawkins, then assistant professor of Spanish, and Keith Platte, director of HPU's Baptist Student Ministry.

The expedition was HPU's first hybrid trip combining students from Spanish class with mission volunteers of the BSM. However, all students participated in each of the activities during the 11-day trip.

The students and supervisors made their first stop at Hogar De Vida, an orphanage, where they witnessed to others by... [continue]

Learning truth in South Africa

A few things I've learned (and relearned) from being here in South Africa, reading a bunch of great books and hearing some awesome speakers.

  1. Comfort is my sworn enemy. It also is a great enemy of so many American churches. Jesus did not call us to be comfortable. Having church in a tin shack in the cold with a bunch of youth who speak another language is not something I was initially at ease with. But God is moving there and it is an amazing experience. We make it so much harder on ourselves to spread the Word when we only do it in comfortable places.
  2. A lot of times we like to see God as "a nice, middle class, American Jesus." We
... [continue]

When photobombing leads to sharing the gospel story

Photobombing, it's not how I typically try to meet strangers, and definitely not how I try to start friendships. But one of the biggest things I've learned in South Asia is how the Father truly can (and does) use all things to bring people to His name. My teammate and I met and befriended a group of girls two Saturdays ago when we photobombed their selfies. It was a rather awkward first impression to make, but ironically, it has turned into a beautiful friendship. We met with them over pancakes (their first ones!) last Saturday afternoon, and the conversations we had with them blew us away. The following is an account of that... [continue]

Twenty years old, but always a child of God

I am 20 years old. In the eyes of society, I still have a ways to go in life, but I am slowly and surely gaining responsibility and freedom. I can legally drive a car, vote for the politician of my choosing, travel outside of the country on my own, move away to attend college, accumulate student loans, spend the summer doing mission work, and if I wanted to, I could even get married. (Don't worry Mom and Dad–I've got lots of time before I hit that season of life!) In the eyes of our society, I am learning to be an adult and am progressing at a pretty normal rate. However, during my time at the South Texas Children's Home... [continue]

Answered Prayers in Connecticut

I want to share the story of Pastor Josh. Pastor Josh graduated from Norwich Free Academy in 1987. When he was 16, he said he went on a mission trip and that summer is when he had a heart for his high school and knew he needed to be doing something for his peers. That next fall, he went back to school, and he and a friend went to the school superintendent and asked if they could start a prayer group on campus and they were told, yes.

It was the first and only Christian group on campus. They were not given a classroom or other meeting spot, so they met outside by the cherry blossoms. Sometimes the group would have 20-30 people show... [continue]

Keepin' It Real

I had been a Christian for only a couple of years when I met my husband. I was a new Christian, young and ridiculously on-fire for the Lord. He was young and solid and headed to seminary. Boom! Fireworks! Perfect match. We got married after college. I would love to tell you that it was happily-ever-after and nothing but mountain-top experiences full of ministry and love, but in this post, we are keepin' it real.

Life has been hard. Ministry has been hard. But we have learned, and grown, and found joy and purpose in the midst of the realities of life.

I hope you are blessed and free from struggles. But if you're having a real kind of... [continue]

Jesus & “Jurassic World” (yes, I will connect them)

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of watching "Jurassic World." (My fellow staff members who attended the movie with me might not say the same. I am an action movie spaz, but that's besides the point.) It was super intense, but once I finally stopped shaking due to my muscles being clenched the whole time (in suspense, not fear, of course – two different things), I seriously enjoyed it. As crazy as it may seem, I even drew some parallels to the Gospel. Who knew, right?

In the movie, the super smart scientists in the lab at Jurassic World have created a genetically modified (female) dinosaur called Indominus Rex. As mayhem ensues,... [continue]

A vessel for the Lord in Oregon

I stopped to be still and just feel the Lord's presence. It had been a long day and it was only noon, but the Lord had been at work since before the day even started.

It was a Saturday. But not just any Saturday. This Saturday represented the beginning of the Lord's work in a new apartment complex. We were having a barbecue to invite people in the community to be apart of kids club, youth group and our brand new house church that was just planted in the area. It had been an incredible day so far and we were getting to meet so many new people. There is no way to describe the experience except for peace. I was hot and tired from... [continue]

Giving God your “yes”

Many people think that working in the red-light district would be incredibly heavy, spiritually dark and really depressing. While those things are true to an extent, each time I do outreach in those areas, I walk away with a little bit of joy restored to me. Let me explain.

In the midst of the darkness, in the midst of all of the terrible things happening, in the midst of people being completely enslaved to their sin, I am able to so humbly rejoice in the salvation I have received through Jesus Christ. Because I was once in darkness, I was once enslaved so completely to my sin. Yet simply, by the grace of God, I am set free.

Do I... [continue]

Lives added to the Book of Life in the Philippines

Once my team and I arrived in Bicol our team (of four Americans and me) grew and we added two translators, they were instantly part of our team! We headed out to the field last Saturday morning, to Apuao, a small island. The pictures I have taken don't do God's creation justice.

Ate Annie, Deanna, Racheal and I headed to the village. As part of our mission, we asked the people if we could take their blood pressure and once we were invited into their homes we would talk to them about the Gospel. Sometimes Ate Annie shares in Tagalog or other times one of us would share in English and she will translate. It is so amazing how God... [continue]

God’s great redemption story

Habakkuk's Complaint

How long, Lord, must I call for help,but you do not listen?Or cry out to you, "Violence!"but you do not save?

Why do you make me look at injustice?Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?Destruction and violence are before me;there is strife, and conflict abounds.Therefore the law is paralyzed,and justice never prevails.The wicked hem in the righteous,so that justice is perverted.

The Lord's Answer

"Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed.

For I am going to do something in your daysthat you would not believe,even if you were told.

Habakkuk 1:2-5

A friend shared these verses with me a few days ago, and its... [continue]

Learning more about Jesus in the midst of cultural shock

I've been serving in Southeast Asia for about three weeks and I've learned a lot of things, but one of the biggest lessons I've learned is that being a cross-cultural worker is hard. You arrive in a new culture and literally everything is different and those differences can be overwhelming.

At first the newness is exciting – trying new food, meet new people, seeing new sights is fun. This is called the fun or "honeymoon" stage of culture shock. I served in England last summer and stayed in this stage the whole time. So this summer, when it's only three weeks into my two month time here, I was surprised to already be moving out... [continue]

Learning to love more in Houston

Camp Bethany is in full swing. Last week, we were praying for kids and this week we had them! It is hard to believe that we have only known these kids for five days. Already they have stolen my heart. I guess that is what pouring into someone for nine hours a day does to you.

Although I feel like I know them very well, I am still fully aware each of these kids comes with a lot of "life stuff" that I do not know about. Sometimes we see this "stuff" come out in some ugly ways - like fighting during frisbee games, having attitudes about doing math problems, and making offensive comments about other kids. We've had quite a few... [continue]

Serving in Quebec to glorify His Name

Well, we've officially had our first group of kids come through the camp. On Thursday, we had kids ages 5 through 12 come from a Quebec school. They were able to go through nine activities, such as arts and crafts, boating, sports, etc. All the kids ages 7 and under spoke ONLY FRENCH! So I had to learn some French really quick in order to lead these kids through my activity, which was sponge volleyball. It was super stressful, but also very sweet to see these little children who were so precious and know that God loved them.

The real ministering happened later that night, when the little kids left and we had fourth through sixth... [continue]

Sharing the greatest story in Hawaii

After a semester of trying to get our schedules to match up, I was finally able to take John on an adventure to Rainbow Falls. John is a student whom I've been blessed to grow close to over the last semester. He was not raised in a Christian home. He did not grow up going to church, or reading the Bible. He is not a believer. But he is searching.

I finally had the opportunity to go out into the beauty of nature that is Hilo, one-on-one with John. As we sat on the top of a giant lava rock in the middle of the Wailuku River, we began to look at all that was around us.

I asked John, "Isn't this beautiful"?

He obviously agreed. We began... [continue]

A servant’s heart with a smile

This past weekend, we traveled to a local village for an English camp. The entire point of the weekend was to help the Thai people practice their English all while building relationships. I was fortunate enough to meet so many Thai girls and build awesome relationships with a few of them over the course of the weekend.

Susie decided to sit with me on the way home because we had a 4 hour bus ride and she wanted to practice her English!! She ended up asking me how long I had been a Christian and I knew that was God putting an opportunity right in front of my face, so I took full advantage of it. I was able to share the Gospel and... [continue]

Pain and sadness amidst beauty

We arrived in Portland on Monday, May 25. It didn't take long for me to realize we weren't in Texas anymore. This place was very different.

Oregon is filled with flowing hills and trees. There are so many trees, and not just trees, but tall trees, I mean TALL trees. It also didn't take long for me to fall in love with Portland. When we pulled out of that parking garage of the Portland Airport and started down the highway, that's when I fell in love.

All of the flowing hills, the trees, the green everywhere, the colorful houses built up on the hills, none of them looking quite the same. It was beautiful. That was the moment I... [continue]

Learning to pray without ceasing

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I especially aim to cling to the part of this verse that says, "pray without ceasing." I have a deep desire to be a prayer warrior, a woman ready and willing to go to the Lord in prayer at any time, and I eagerly expect for the Spirit to help me in my weakness. When I "do not know what to pray for as [I] ought," I desperately hope the Spirit would lead me and even intercede for me "with groanings too deep for words" (Romans 8:26). However, even in the midst of these desires, I... [continue]

Bestowing confidence and honor on a Haitian family

After trekking through a winding uphill climb, we have arrived at a beautiful new home in the mountains. Our team is here to take part of the tradition of dedicating each new home that is built. The family members are present, along with a pastor and translator. A member of our team steps forward to present a Bible with an inscription inside to the family and prays with them as they dedicate this house to the Lord. Since arriving at LifeLine Christian Mission, we have been part of a couple of house dedications, but this one stands out in my mind. The father of the 10-plus household steps forward to speak. What he says next stops me... [continue]

An early morning prayer meeting in Haiti

The streets are dark. Angry and frightened dogs bark at us as we file down the humid, trash-filled streets. We walk in silence. The only sound we hear is sweet Matilde with her mega-phone, shouting in Creole for the neighborhood to wake up and join us. Our group of both Americans and Canadians keeps putting one foot in front of the other. We don't know how far we will walk, but we continue on in the 4 a.m. darkness.Every day, these men and women meet at 4:30 a.m. to pray. Gran Goave, the village Chandler and I are visiting, used to be one of the largest hubs of Voodoo in Haiti. Years ago, when Voodoo was still largely dominant... [continue]

God opening doors in Germany

Before my teammate Kasey and I even arrived in Germany, God was opening doors at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, where we would be spending our summer doing outreach. Our supervisor Nick Howard went one day to check out the campus and get an idea of what we could do when we got there. He went to the Amerikanistik (English) Department, spoke with a secretary, and explained who he was and that we would be coming in the summer. He thought it might be of interest to them to have native speakers with whom students could practice English. As he was doing this, a girl named Carolin overheard their conversation and asked Nick... [continue]

Serving in Wiesbaden, Germany

The First Week

I can tell I'm in Germany because the other day, the smell of sausage and sauerkraut actually came drifting through the window. The first week here in Wiesbaden has been crazy, exciting, different, tiring, surprising and fun. So far, we have been getting oriented with different things: the church, the people, the language, the transportation. While adjusting to jet lag, we have explored the city and met people. It has been great to learn about what will be our home for the next several weeks.

The People

I am incredibly thankful for the people I get to work alongside this summer. My teammate is delightful and fun, our... [continue]

Giving Back

As you know, there are many expectations of a minister's wife, but none more important than she have a growing relationship with the Lord, a powerful prayer life and an erudite knowledge of the Scriptures.

These expectations were very hard for me when David and I started our ministry in 1982 as I was a fairly new Christian. I had not been raised in the church or in a Christian family so I did not have any example to follow and a weak foundation. However, in 1987, the Lord gave a great gift to me towards my journey of faith, through Doris Shellabarger.

Doris and Dave joined our new church start in Flower Mound and immediately opened... [continue]

It's not about me. It's about Him.

Go Now Missions Orientation, a weekend of preparation for college-aged summer missionaries, took place from May 22-24 at Dallas Baptist University. I, Erin Turner, with four of my friends from the UT Arlington BSM, arrived before 2pm that Friday to check in and meet our tribes. We were all so excited to see what God would do that weekend!

My tribe (a group of missionaries that the Go Now staff put together based on trip/location) was made up of seven girls who would all be serving in the Houston area, or somewhere else in Texas. Our first activity was to make up a tribe name, motto and build a shield to represent that. To get... [continue]

FBC Del Rio reaches across the border to assist tornado victims in Mexico

As needs are arising in Texas following flooding, tornadoes and other severe storms, many in Mexico are also experiencing great difficulties from weather damage. Larry Floyd, pastor of First Baptist Church Del Rio, led a group from their church to minister across the border in Acuna, Mexico, following an F4 tornado. Read his report below:

Day 5 in Mexico was one of importance. We sent a group of seven to continue our presence for those that have been displaced by the F4 tornado on Monday. As we went in Jesus' name, we made an initial stop by our partner church Templo Bautista Bethel. There we stumbled upon a pastor's gathering in... [continue]

Operation Giver: Voluntary church cooperation

Operation Giver is a project connecting young Texas Baptists with older professors, pastors and theologians to discuss Baptist Distinctives. Similar to the book, The Giver, our goal is to pass on wisdom from seasoned Baptists to the up-and-coming generation. While times continually change, the beliefs we share as Texas Baptists have held true for more than 130 years. Facilitating these conversations will help educate and encourage younger Baptists as they continue in the biblical tradition set before them.

Transitions tend to mark who we are. It is during the transitions we live through in which we get the opportunity to show what... [continue]

Ebola Free Liberia Baptists Say, “Thank You”

We received the following letter from Olu Menjay, president of Liberia Baptist Missionary & Educational Convention, Inc, vice president of the Baptist World Alliance and principal/chief administrative officer of the Ricks Institute. He gives his thanks with a grateful heart, and thanks you for your prayers and tangible support during the raging storm of Ebola in Liberia.

"I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in everyone of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now." Philippians 1:3-5

On Monday, May 11, 2015, we attended the official... [continue]

Saying goodbye to UTD

This week, I said goodbye to the BSM at UTD, as I served my last day as its Campus Missionary Intern. After a whirlwind year, it slowed to a stop with the last few weeks of finals and end-of-the-year activities. And there is much I'll be taking away from my experience.

Primarily, I am so grateful the Lord blessed the ministry of the BSM at UTD so immensely this year. This was my fifth year to be involved (first as a student and now as a staff member) with the BSM, and the spiritual growth of the group is incredible. Our student leadership team is now larger than the entire membership, or weekly free lunch attendance, when I first... [continue]

Hearts full in Haiti

On Tuesday and Thursday nights, we have our beginner ESL (English as a Second Language) course. It's four o' clock and our students start to pour inside. We have made provisions with an extra table in the spare room and extra chairs around our kitchen-turned-classroom.

We exchange familiar hellos with our students, always so jovial and friendly as they arrive. It's hard to believe that some of our students walk for two hours to come to our one-hour class. It amazes me that they are this devoted to learning English.

This is our last class for awhile as we will be hosting short-term teams from the States and will not be able to... [continue]

Operation Giver: The security of the believer

Operation Giver is a project connecting young Texas Baptists with older professors, pastors and theologians to discuss Baptist Distinctives. Similar to the book, The Giver, our goal is to pass on wisdom from seasoned Baptists to the up-and-coming generation. While times continually change, the beliefs we share as Texas Baptists have held true for more than 130 years. Facilitating these conversations will help educate and encourage younger Baptists as they continue in the biblical tradition set before them.

When a person accepts Jesus Christ into their lives one of the first things they are assured is: "Nothing can take away your... [continue]

Leaning on your helpmate when your faith is tested

In the 35-year marriage I've been blessed to be part of, there have been some very rewarding times and some frustrating times. Unfortunately, some of those frustrating times have been associated with the Church. As much as I love being a pastor's wife (most of the time), there have been days I wish Mike had become a businessman or a doctor--anything other than a minister! From insensitive comments to a very hurtful firing, I have run the gamut of emotions and responses.

But, I can honestly say that the hard times have been the times we've grown closer together. When your faith is tested, there is something wonderful about having the... [continue]

Spurred on to serve

The second half of the spring semester in college is a whirlwind. Students don't get to ease back into class after spring break; instead, they hit the ground running. The two weeks after spring break have been full of tests, projects, papers, and assignments for the students at UTD. Schoolwork is in the prayer requests from every girl I meet with weekly.

But in the midst of the busy-ness of school, there is room to implement spiritual disciplines, and especially lessons learned during spring break. Many of us went to Beach Reach on South Padre Island this year, and it definitely had an impact on everyone involved. At UTD, we have a... [continue]

The hope I have to share

Through working in Hilo, HI, a melting pot of cultures, God has opened my eyes to the world. I've served overseas in several different areas of the world: Central America, South America, East Asia and in various locations across the U.S. However, at least outside of the U.S., I had been ministering to primarily one main people group.

Here, I have been blessed with the opportunity to minister to students from all over the globe. Some from countries I had never even heard of until I came here.

As I talk with these students and listen to their stories, my eyes are opened to the world around me. The wars, freedom, the struggles, the... [continue]

Walked away with hope

A team from Texas Medical Center in Houston served alongside River Ministry Coordinator Vanessa Quintinilla in Mission and Port Isabella, Texas for spring break. They conducted medical clinics and participated in community outreach. The medical team was able to combine meeting both physical and spiritual needs throughout the week.

We were able to meet one lady who'd been in a car wreck three years ago and had been bleeding since then. Her friends and family suggested it might be menopause, but the doctors quickly rejected that. As a result of the bleeding, her husband had left her, which also led to her being depressed. She had no... [continue]

His love is overflowing

Around 5 p.m. is my absolute favorite time of the day. We have just finished teaching our ESL young adults class and I head outside to play with the kids who are crowding around the porch waiting for class to be over.

I catch my breath as I gaze out upon the beauty of the mountains that surround me. The air is cool, which in Haiti is a big deal. Haitian kiddos are littered across the landscape playing football, singing songs and tossing frisbees.

I pick up a frisbee and start in on the action. My Creole only takes me so far. I know names and faces and can ask how they are doing ("Como ou ye?"), but beyond that my communication... [continue]

Planting seeds at Beach Reach

I am a recent sister in Christ. I was baptized on February 15, 2015, and God called me to South Padre Island for Spring Break. I struggle with anxiety and the fear of the unknown, but God kept telling me I was needed for Beach Reach. So I faithfully followed God's call with my new BSM family to give free van rides and serve pancakes to those on spring break.

At the beginning of the week, I struggled with my ability to effectively serve God. However, my team members did not let me give up. They encouraged me and loved me when I did not love myself. I got to see God work through not only my team, but the other Beach Reachers on the... [continue]

Operation Giver: Baptist Autonomy

Operation Giver is a project connecting young Texas Baptists with older professors, pastors and theologians to discuss Baptist Distinctives. Similar to the book, The Giver, our goal is to pass on wisdom from seasoned Baptists to the up-and-coming generation. While times continually change, the beliefs we share as Texas Baptists have held true for more than 130 years. Facilitating these conversations will help educate and encourage younger Baptists as they continue in the biblical tradition set before them.

"Sometimes it is easier to have someone tell you what to do than to do it yourself," said Dr. Mike Williams, a professor... [continue]

Beach Reach: God would have to grant me faith

I will try to do the story about our new brother in Christ justice....

On the first night of Beach Reach, I met a guy named Chris while serving with the street team. During our conversation, the topic of faith came up and he began to debate with me about Christianity. Chris claimed to be a Lutheran, but it became very apparent that he had no real relationship with God simply because he really didn't believe in Him.

By the grace of God, I was able to answer all of his questions, but the conversation ended abruptly as the van pulled up to take him home. I honestly felt as if there was no way he would come to know the Lord any... [continue]

Relocating and regulating your life

Relocating to a new church and city can be very exciting for a pastor's wife, but with relocating many hurdles occur, which the wife must learn to deal. The hustle and bustle of moving boxes, new restaurants, shopping places and friends are exciting, but can quickly have a dark shadow cast over them after the moving van pulls away leaving her in a strange environment void of former friends, sights, smells and even favorite grocery stores. All of this hustle and bustle can appear to be glamorous to the average church member, but there is one little factor most people overlook…the challenges and emotions that the pastor's wife... [continue]

Encouraged by Compassion: Pastor Lee and The Dropbox

On March 5, I went to see The Dropbox with some friends from the Baptist Student Fellowship. The movie documents the ministry of Pastor Lee Jong-rak in Seoul, South Korea. Pastor Lee created a type of delivery box built into the wall of his house church in which abandoned children may be placed anonymously by their mothers. The baby box was built so that unwanted children would not have to be abandoned in random places or in unsafe environments, exposed to the elements and without proper food or care.

The movie began with a quote from James 1:27 which reads, "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to... [continue]

​Promising God my 'Yes'

In early February, 182 Texas BSM students gathered at First Baptist Church in Midlothian for Go Now Missions' Discovery Weekend, where they prayed and sought out God's calling for how they would spend summer 2015. Chelsea Bradley, a BSM student from Tarleton State University, writes about her experience from the weekend and shares how God opened her heart to a task she did not think He would have in store for her:

I came to Discovery Weekend with a very specific trip on my heart. I remember telling my friends beforehand, "If I'm appointed to this trip, I'm definitely going. But if not, then I know God wants me to stay home this... [continue]

Live the Difference: on a college campus

This year's Annual Meeting theme is "Live the Difference." We asked several individuals what it looks like to live the difference in their day-to-day lives. Here's what Jay Leibold, campus missionary at the University of North Texas, had to say:

What is culture? Culture is defined as the beliefs, customs, and values of a particular society, group or place. I came to the UNT BSM my freshman year and have been here just long enough (starting year 5) to see a shift in our culture. We have begun to see a shift in what we value as a campus ministry and what our attitude should be as christians at a large public university. Our culture... [continue]

God's plan since the day we arrived

I have now reached my halfway point of my time in South Asia. Since the day we arrived in our city, Father placed learning the language on both my teammate's and my hearts. We didn't understand this because there is no way we could have learned the language being a short term "trip." We followed His instructions and found ourselves learning the national language two times a week for two hours each day. We met our national partner Kate* and fell in love with the way she desires to help people with language and her sweet spirit is absolutely contagious.

After about a month of language our supervisor sent us to another city for a... [continue]

Idols and open doors


Namaskara! Once again, I am so thankful for your time to read this and your prayers for the ones I love here. His love is so greatly shown and I hope to share this with you through my words. I am so honored to call you Family!

The best way I can describe the past month of life here would be to point you to 2 Pet 3:8-9. He has continued to show me that He will fulfill His promise and He is not slow, but is patient towards us. Father has placed us where we need to be and His promises are being fulfilled daily. Everyday I have to remind myself to place the people of South Asia in His hands, not knowing that they would be the... [continue]

Washed Away

We flew in to this beautiful city and were immediately overwhelmed with the aroma of His spirit amongst many other new aromas. The first feeling of 110-degree weather with 80% humidity and the beautiful faces making their homes on the sidewalks tells me that I am not in Texas anymore and gives me a great love for South Asia. I cannot doubt His purpose for these people and I hold strong to His mercy and grace. I am already in love.

Orientation was full of new ways of travel, teaching, learning, and loving the world He made. I was taught how to share His story in many different ways and truly love these people. Something that has... [continue]

Japan Ministries Continue

The Japan Mission Trip for August 2014 was a richly rewarding experience for the seven Texas Baptist Disaster Recovery volunteers who participated, led by retired IMB Missionary to Japan, Sherwood Moffett. Since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami of northern Japan, teams of Christian volunteers have expended time, money and energy to be the face of hope and the arms of grace to the survivors.

The team spent the first few days in the city of Sendai, the largest city in the disaster area, worshipping with Taitomi Baptist church and participating in ongoing youth fellowships and adult Bible studies. The aim of these activities was to show... [continue]

Tears, Courage and New Beginnings

Andrea Nedorostova was born and raised in the second biggest city of Czech Republic called Brno. Playing tennis competitively her whole life brought her to the United States when she received a scholarship to attend Northwestern State University of Louisiana. Upon graduation with a bachelor's degree in communication, she moved to Austin, TX to pursue a master's degree in journalism at The University of Texas at Austin.

When she visited West, she immediately felt like she belonged. West residents treated her like one of their own. Andrea was captivated by their kindness, and mainly, by the way they handled a difficult time in life.... [continue]

Seeds of destruction: the city of West

Andrea Nedorostova was born and raised in the second biggest city of Czech Republic called Brno. Playing tennis competitively her whole life brought her to the United States when she received a scholarship to attend Northwestern State University of Louisiana. Upon graduation with a bachelor's degree in communication, she moved to Austin, TX to pursue a master's degree in journalism at The University of Texas at Austin.

When she visited West, she immediately felt like she belonged. West residents treated her like one of their own. Andrea was captivated by their kindness, and mainly, by the way they handled a difficult time in life.... [continue]

A fascinating day in the Quilombola village

On August 9, Linda Freeman (a member of First Missionary Baptist Church in Fort Worth) and Bertha Vaughn (a member of Bethany Baptist Church in Houston) joined seven other Texas Baptist church leaders through the African American Ministry. Each followed the call to serve eight days in Salvador, Bahia in Brazil. Here the team did door-to-door evangelism and held Bible studies for Quilombola villagers under a shade tree. Read Freeman's and Vaughn's testimony as they recall unforgettable experiences from the village visits.

Linda Freeman

BRAZIL - It was a fascinating day. We visited two of the Quilombola villages. In the last village we... [continue]

Fajita Feed

No, we aren't feeding fajitas. We are feeding students. About 1,800 of them, in the middle of campus, at lunch time, on the first day of the semester. The Father has blessed the Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) to be a part of its official "Welcome Week" activities, and Fajita Feed is one of the biggest!

At 9 a.m., the BSM at UTD staff and student leaders began setting up tables and tents and carrying cartloads of water bottles and cookies. We were also blessed with the Texas Baptist Men, who came with the food, and volunteers from local churches who helped serve up lunch so our student... [continue]

Alaska: Making an impact

Allison Dufour, a student at Stephen F. Austin State University, served in Alaska with Go Now Missions.

It has been just over a week since my return home from Alaska back. This last week has been a whirlwind emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.

I have slowly begun to process the changes in my life since spending a summer in Alaska. I have often thought about how I could impact the people of Anchorage, but what I did not expect is how much of an impact they would make on me.

Since leaving Alaska, I have noticed how much the Lord changed me as a person. One of the biggest ways this happened was God improved my work ethic.... [continue]

Boldly sharing Christ in South Asia

B.B., a student from Texas A&M University, served with Go Now Missions in South Asia this summer.

Well jet lag is a beast. It's currently 5 a.m. and I can't sleep because I've crossed about 11 time zones to get home, but in this quiet darkness when I find myself alone in my living room, what better thing is there to do than think about the wonderful things that my God has done this summer. So this update will be sort of different than my others, for instance it's probably going to be a lot longer because I need to tell you about the events of the past three weeks and then sum up what the Lord has been teaching me this summer. So... [continue]

The Israel battlefield, from the eyes of a missionary

Lana Fashi Zayed is a missionary in Israel with the Arabic Church of Dallas as her sending church. She asks for prayer as she and her husband search for a vehicle and give birth to their firstborn this month. They will be visiting Texas next summer to share about living and ministering in Israel.

The church-based mission sending fund provided by gifts to the worldwide offering of BGCT provides matching funding to the Arabic Baptist Church to support Zayed's ministry. For information on how to support the fund please contact Ryan Jespersen at or (214) 828-5278.

Oh started quietly, but was... [continue]

New York: Busy summer ends

Sadly, our summer interns are leaving New York City. It was such a privilege to serve with these 15 young adults for two months. I learned so much from them. Helping coordinate this summer internship was a privilege and a blessing. It feels different now that our Metropolitan New York Baptist Association mission house is empty.

The past two months, our associational mission house was full - not only with our summer interns, but also with mission teams from all over the United States. They were here to serve at the different churches in New York City.

Diana Mao, cofounder and president of Nomi Network, spoke to our interns about her... [continue]

Quebec: Afraid to believe

Trying to communicate camp rules and activities to the French campers was challenging enough. Keeping the campers focused and interested during devotional time is a whole different ball game - especially when I'm trying to discuss a chapel message that was given in a language that I don't understand.

After starting the week off with uninterested campers begging to go play instead of talk about God, I couldn't help but be frustrated and growing impatient at my inability to reach my group of girls. I couldn't understand why my girls were so cold to Christ and why they didn't seem moved at all by the stories of his love and sacrifice... [continue]

Orlando: When the world comes to us

Central Florida is fortunate to be blessed with more than 50 million souls to minister to throughout the year.

Orlando has broken its record of people passing through the city with 59 million people, representing different cultures, ethnicities, languages and races. It is beautiful to imagine the hearts that could be touched, seeds that could be planted and souls that could be saved.

What is even better is the thought that one changed soul can change a nation or area. As we spread the gospel to one person, that one person can spread it in their home, and then “Bam!" From right here in America, we have reached China, North Korea or... [continue]

Vancouver: A summer of sowing seeds ends

Here in Vancouver, we've been hanging out with some university students every Thursday this summer to play Ultimate Frisbee. They've let us join in supporting their team, even though not all of us play. They've let us come along to dinner with them after games. And now I can finally say that they let us share the gospel.

On a recent Thursday, I talked with three of the girls over dinner about what I believe and how Christianity differs from other religions. I shared with them the gospel and planted seeds of news they hadn't heard before. We're making the most of these relationships in our final days here by spending time with them... [continue]

England: God had other plans

I was super-sad to leave Manchester. I had grown to love the missionaries, my teammate, the church I attended and the non-Christians I had befriended. I was flying back to Texas alone.

I was tired from staying up late saying goodbyes to everyone, and I had an early-morning flight. By the time I got on my flight from London to Texas, I was ready to sleep, watch movies and just shut out the rest of the world for the next 10 hours. That was not God's plan for my flight.

Even before the plane took off, I was comfy in my seat with my neck pillow. Then the cutest 2-year-old sat right next to me. I thought, “Well, there goes my sleep... [continue]

Massachusetts: Lessons from a cupcake

It should come as no surprise to me that God is continuing to teach me through the tiny tots I so enjoy being with. But one lesson was far more subtle than usual, and it has taken me a few days reflection on an adorable moment to recognize how childlike we should be when approaching God's throne.

It was a Thursday. The church was having a party in the park. As usual, I was running around with a few of the kids. One in particular had attached himself to me for the evening. I was carrying him on my hip, running around, doing all kinds of ridiculous things you do when playing with toddlers.

Wanting and not wanting a cupcake

And at one... [continue]

Georgia: Well done, my good and faithful servant

These are the words we all long to hear. "You did well my Daughter, come rest with me for eternity to come." There will be a time that comes when we stand in front of our Maker, as He evaluates the life we've lived, and the work we've done for His kingdom. If there's one thing that should stir our affections and spur us on to good works, this should be it. It's Sunday afternoon, and I'm back in College Station, Texas, sitting at my favorite coffee shop, on my favorite couch at Sweet Eugene's, dwelling on my 6 1/2 weeks at The Living Vine in Savannah, GA. If there's one thing that rang true throughout my time there it was this... [continue]

Oregon: What makes us different

For the last nine weeks, I've been living in the land of weird. I've seen a German Shepard in a stroller, a man wearing the same kilt every day, and piercings I didn't even think were possible. I'll be honest it took me a few days to adjust to this city that prides itself on being weird. But the more time I spent here, the more I understood that its uniqueness is why Portlanders love it so much.

We have been so blessed to be able to live in an apartment right in the heart of downtown that is big enough to host a lot of people. Nearly every night we have friends over to hang out, eat, or watch a movie. Many of these people would... [continue]

Georgia: Resting in his hands

It is hard to really describe what we do here at The Living Vine Christian Maternity Home. It is one of those things that you can't really understand it until you are actually doing it, living it. But I think this story really sums up exactly what is going on here.

Saturday, July 19th, was visitation day. The girls spent the morning doing their chores and then later in the afternoon, they were allowed to go out on visitation with family, if that was at all possible. We had one girl going on visitation, one girl who spent each day at the hospital with her baby in NICU, leaving three girls that we were going to get to take to the... [continue]

Connecticut: The Story of Kenny

A few weeks ago I got to have a conversation with a good friend of ours named Kenny at the soup kitchen. Kenny is probably mid-60s, military veteran who grew up in Norwich, Connecticut. When we first met him he shared with us that there were two things that he did not discuss with people: religion and politics. A few days later, we got to hang and chat with Kenny a little bit more and we were just making simple casual conversation. He started to ask what we had been up to the day before, and let's just say that opened up a huge door.

Zach began to tell him that we were at our weekly Bible study and that we were studying the book of... [continue]

Alaska: Satisfying physical and spiritual hunger

It is hard to believe I have now been serving with Alaska Missions in the Last Frontier for almost two months. There have been many up and downs, but through it all The Lord had moved in miraculous ways. After spending a week serving in Kodiak, Alaska, our team took a ferry back to the mainland, eventually settling in Anchorage. This is where we have been serving for the last 6 weeks and will be until August.

We spend our mornings doing service projects in the community, which include light construction and a lot of cleaning. I would not typically choose painting a strangers office as my first thing to do in the morning, but the... [continue]

Call to prayer: responding to the crisis

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (BP) -- As a former Texan, my heart goes to the border of Texas. As a born-again Christian, the Gospel of Jesus Christ calls me to compassionate action for those who are suffering right now as a result of the immigration crisis, especially the children.

Due to the gigantic nature of this entire issue, most of us become paralyzed or even intimidated by it. By no means do I imagine myself as an authority on this very complex issue, but as one American and Christian leader, I must respond.

As the medical community would sort through the issues as they treat multiple people in a triage unit, we may need to do the same... [continue]

Colorado: Make the most of every opportunity

I am serving with church planters in Loveland, Colo., this summer. Recently, we had opportunities to put into practice Colossians 4:5, which says, "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity."

Usually on Sundays, we get to church two hours early to unload the trailer and set up for worship services in a local elementary school. However, one particular Sunday when we arrived, the parking lot was filled with bicyclists, and we couldn't park in our usual area. We found out a major round-trip bike ride from Denver to Fort Collins was under way to benefit people with multiple sclerosis. In the course... [continue]

Quebec: No language barrier for God

God has shown me recently just how far his love stretches to all people -- every language, every age and every race.

Unlike my previous weeks at Frontier Lodge, most recently I worked in the French camp instead of the English camp. I was informed of this exactly one day prior when the kids arrived, giving me plenty of time to fill my head with insecurities and reasons why this would go horribly wrong. I was so quick to forget God's promise, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."

The week began with some obvious challenges such as many exchanges of blank, confused stares between the campers and me as we attempted... [continue]

My loud mouth and God's appointments

Surely if you know me well, you have seen the openness in many of my responses that are without thought. From time to time my "loud mouth" has led me to conflict, but recently it opened a door for a friendship with a girl named Enus to continue to grow!

During a conversation, Enus mentioned how she was going to go shopping and immediately the words that came out of my mouth were, "Can we come with you?"

She smiled so big and replied, "Yes!"

So we spent our day shopping with our friend. We were able to shine the light of Christ to Enus outside of teaching English and talking about Isa. We have just loved her for being one of God's... [continue]

Park Ministry in Alaska

The first day in the park we introduced the kids to the Bible. We told them that the Bible is God's word and that everything in it is true. Every child that stayed for story time was given a Bible that day. As soon as story time was over a group of them ran to the table and started reading Genesis 1. I was blown away!

One of the girls who was a part of that group has stood out since that very first day. We asked for a volunteer to pray and she basically prayed the sinner's prayer. She is always excited for story time and is so interested in what we are teaching. We have had a lot of conversations about things that she has read in... [continue]

Eyes opened, heart broken for refugees

I have been given the opportunity to serve this summer in Nashville, Tennessee for two months. I am interning at World Relief Nashville by helping resettle refugees. Before coming to Nashville, the word refugee was nothing more than a word because I never really knew what it means to be a refugee. I just used the word "refugee" to describe what I was going to be doing this summer.

After orientation, I learned that a refugee is someone that "flees their country and is unable to return due to a well-founded fear based on persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political... [continue]

WBU professor citizenship

PLAINVIEW -- For Wayland Baptist University professor Dr. Charles Huang, this July 4 holiday will be like none he has ever experienced before. Of course, having only been in the United States since 2007, Huang and his family haven't seen too many July 4 celebrations.

For the family, however, this will be their first Independence Day as United States Citizens.

Dr. Huang, assistant professor of exercise and sport science, took the oath of citizenship last Thursday, June 26, completing the process to become an official citizen of the United States. His wife, Yan Wang, took the oath a little more than a month before. Huang said the... [continue]

Humbled by children's feet

From day one we were asked by our team leader to be FAT. Of course I had already had a few Brazilian meals by that time and was definitely on board to be fat on this trip, but she had another meaning in mind. FAT: fluid, available and teachable. It seemed easy enough.

Most mission trips require those basic qualities, but it was certainly harder than expected. We really had to learn to "let go and let God" because we never really knew what was in store for us from one day to the next.

We were so blessed to work with Samaritan's Feet while in Brazil, an organization that distributes shoes to the local children. The best... [continue]

A goat run and a divine appointment

So I'd like to tell you a story that happened while we were back in the city after our last trek to the countryside. It will describe just how the Lord makes things happen that he wants to. To do this I'm just going to tell you one of my journal entries for that day, I feel like it'll explain it best.

Sometime between 12 and 1 we were told that we were going on a walk. So my partner, the pastor (Harry), me, Reed (our translator and national partner), and Suzanna (Harry's daughter who it feels like she and Reed like each other) all set off on a journey that would end up being hours of walking in the hottest heat I've experienced... [continue]

Called to be different

Different. That's how I would best describe the past five months of my life since I left Texas, and headed off to live in the Middle East. It's not a bad different, it's just different. The people are different, the smells are different, their decisions are different, the sounds are different, viewpoints are different, I'm different.

However, this isn't a bad thing because in fact we are called to be a different people in a place that believes and practices things contrary to what we believe. We are called to be in the world but not of it, we are called to be different. Sometimes we have to travel halfway across the world to... [continue]

I don't fit in this country

I have never, in all of my life, consistently been the tallest person in the room, but that happens here a lot... that is unless my 6' 8" supervisor is with us. I really have no idea how he does it, because bus seats, taxi roofs, doorways, and even some covered walkways are too small for me. I find myself bending over much more frequently than I ever did in the states, but I guess we all have to make sacrifices for the gospel.

So first I want to explain a little bit about my job here in South Asia because, as always, it's not exactly what you envision when you sign up. To be honest though, I think that's a very good thing in this... [continue]

Crab Fest and conversations about Christianity

The Lord began my summer of service with an amazing week in Kodiak, Alaska at Crab Fest. This week my Go Now Missions team and I served alongside missionaries from Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Missouri. Every year, the city of Kodiak holds Crab Fest, a festival that brings families together to have tons of fun. We partnered with Frontier Baptist Church and Kodiak Island Outreach to hold a booth that gave away free hot chocolate, New Testament Bibles, and small kids toys. What seemed like a simple booth turned into a life changing experience for both the people of Kodiak and myself.

More often than not, the men... [continue]

Serving those who serve

The first week of being in a new culture has been interesting, to say the least. There's always so much to adjust to-- you really have to humble yourself and accept that you don't know everything. One of the first times I tried to buy something with British currency was kind of humorous. I was buying a croissant and a water bottle and it cost two pounds. I hadn't had time to learn all the different coins there were, but I saw a big coin that had a two on it-- so I just assumed it was two pounds. I handed the cashier the coin and she just stared at me. I could tell something wasn't right, so I took the coin back and handed her a... [continue]

The necessity of discipleship

If there is one thing I have learned while serving on staff at the UNT BSM it is the essential need for collegiate ministry in the United States. Over one million students are attending college in the State of Texas. According to a recent poll by Lifeway, 70 percent of freshmen who enter the college world will stop attending church. This generation is among the most biblically illiterate of all generation. This generation simply does not know the Bible or the truth of the Gospel.

These statistics are a small portion of what is truly seen in college ministry today. I have seen college ministry done correctly and disciples are made... [continue]

Final preparations for student missionaries

As I've been preparing to serve this summer, I thought there wasn't anything else to know than what I've experienced overseas already. I thought, "culture shock didn't happen to me, I knew what to expect." But sitting through the session about it, I realized that I actually had experienced it, I just didn't know how to label it at the time. This is pretty much how my entire weekend went--with me walking into a session thinking I knew exactly what to expect, and leaving humbled, yet encouraged, with new knowledge.

This past weekend, May 17-19, 198 of the 298 student summer missionaries gathered at Dallas Baptist University for... [continue]

Rebuilding West

Thanks to World Vision, building supplies have arrived in West, TX for the home of a West ISD Principal whose home was destroyed after the after the fertilizer plant explosion. The supplies have arrived at the build site, the foundation has been poured, and now it's time for skilled volunteers to pitch in and help this wonderful community servant and family get back into their home and resume a normal life.

Let the home build begin! We are calling for skilled and experienced volunteers to join with the Shalom Builders in making this home a reality. Will you join the Shalom Builders Network by registering here to help with this... [continue]

God moves at a TWU benefit show

Last Friday night we were given the opportunity to host a benefit show to raise money for summer student missionaries. We had planned on having local musicians put on a show for us. Student leaders, a TWU staff employee, and friends came to enjoy this time together.

We also had one of our guys that just started to get involved share some poetry with us that he wrote.

From student BSM leaders, to family and friends, we all sat and listened and enjoyed some dessert and hot drinks made with our new espresso machine for the BSM building.

The night did not turn out how I had planned at all. Usually, this is how most of my stories go.

There... [continue]

Serving in West Africa

Our Savior did not stay where it was comfortable. He did not stay where it was safe. Rather He left the throne of Heaven to meet us here and come into our mess. So, we too must follow the example of our Beloved and go to Him "outside the camp." Don't assume this means you must move to another country and culture in order to live this out. It may be for many of you. But at the core, Jesus is calling us to leave our normalcy, our Christian circles, and our storehouses of self-preservation and go to those who are waiting outside the gate. We do not wait for them to come to us, rather we run to them! We do not wait for an "opportunity... [continue]

Letter from Haiti student missionary

Bonjou zanmi m! Hello my friend!

Since my last update much has happened. I have spent more time in Fond des Negres and have been able to get to know some of the kids in our area. It seems nearly impossible for me to walk anywhere outside of my house without at least one child by my side. The children are so eager to give and receive love; they have so much joy. One thing they lack is discipline. The people in our area are so poor. Many of the children that come around our compound show signs of malnutrition and most don't have shoes or proper clothing.

I spent two and a half weeks in Grand Goâve at a different ministry called... [continue]

The invitation to service

When I was 12-years-old, I felt called to ministry. While the specifics of my calling were unclear, I knew I was supposed to spend my life engaged in some type of vocational ministry or mission work. Despite the lack of clarity in my calling, I was able to easily identify and explain my life's purpose to others because of what the church referred to as: the call to special service.

But somewhere along the way many (or if we're being completely honest, most) of us have stopped heeding the special service call. For some unknown reason, we believe people are simply going to hear and discern their calling for themselves - and nothing... [continue]

Doctrine and Dialogue

Every Friday Students at the University of North Texas BSM and discuss different topics of Christian belief in an activity called Doctrine and Dialogue. At Noon students come together and talk about a chapter from the book Christian Beliefs by Wayne Grudem. In this book students are taught systematic theology in short chapters… and when I mean short they are super short. At most these chapters are six pages. In SIX pages students, believers can have an understanding of tough theological beliefs and topics found in the Bible. Last semester we covered the following topics:

  • What is the Bible?
  • What is God like?
  • What is the
... [continue]

Sent to serve

BUTTE, Montana - One Friday night, as I was getting ready for bed, I looked outside and realized that I would be spending Saturday morning shoveling snow from the church sidewalks. Again. This made four days that week and three in a row. I set out a reminder for myself in the morning, knowing what my temperament would be.

The first thing I said that morning was, "Do I really have to get up to shovel snow?" Then I saw my towel. It was a Go Now towel from a couple of years prior that said, "Sent to Serve." It reminded me that even Jesus said that He was sent to this earth to serve, not be served (Matthew 20:28). I didn't come to... [continue]

Mission Drippin' - A model for community outreach

Mission Drippin' is a week-long community outreach ministry of First Baptist Church of Dripping Springs. Read about the practical ways that their church implemented this ministry, so you can similarly create a model like this in your church. Click here to read the background, mission and vision of Mission Drippin'.

The Practicals of community outreach through Mission Drippin':

Leadership: A leadership team is formed, placing a team lead with each ministry project for the week.

Kick-Off Worship Service: We have a worship and prayer service with the intent of preparing ourselves for a week of ministry.

Prayer Days: On Monday night, we... [continue]

From Texas to Montana

My name is Justin Langford, and I am serving this semester in Butte, Montana, through Go Now Missions. The main portion of my ministry here is with college students at Montana Tech through both the Baptist Student Union and Park Street Baptist Church. Up until now, I had lived in Texas all of my life, and the most I had ever been away was probably no more than 2 weeks. I have just finished my second week here, and, in case you didn't know, Montana is very different from Texas. The ministry I'm involved with looks different than what I had imagined. However, different isn't bad - it's just different.

I'm living literally right next... [continue]

Mission drippin' - reaching out to our community

Six years ago, First Baptist Church of Dripping Springs burned to the ground at the hands of an arsonist. Many people at that time left the church. There were about 50 people left to determine the next step. The small group hired a great interim pastor that helped the church through a healing process.

At that time they also determined they would come together in unity to rebuild the church. Gradually, the church began to grow and they brought on a full-time pastor, Craig Curry and his wife, Fallon.

During our second year we began looking for ways to help our church engage in outreach and missions again. For a while, the church had to... [continue]

It is all possible

As I prepare for each lesson daily, I pray that God speaks through me and says to each child what he or she needs to hear. Each day that passes, I get closer to leaving. This makes me work harder because I want to make the most of my experience.

When I got here, I told each child that we were going to be learning a verse from the Bible each week. I told them it would be a total of 11 verses. They all looked at me and said, "Miss that is too much! I will never be able to memorize so much!" I told them, "I know you all are capable of doing so! Do not complain, just do it! How do you eat an elephant? You eat it one bite at a time. Just... [continue]

Hunger for More

Thank you all for your prayer! I can see the mighty hand of God firing up the hearts of the town. As I took my seat next to the people that usually attend the evening Sunday service, I started seeing more people come in. I was surprised to see thirty people in the service! That is eighteen more people than usual!

What joy it was to see the church fill up! As the service was about to start, I started praying for each of their hearts and for God to open their eyes to the unconditional love and protection he offers to those who let Him.

This past week I had asked three of the kids from the program if they wanted to help me paint posters... [continue]

Couldn't You Carry Me?

One day a teenage friend of mine, who is moving closer to knowing Christ, and I were playing basketball in the park, and he seemed to be moving slower than usual.

When I asked what his problem was, he showed me a huge painful-looking blister that took up a small section on his foot. I suggested we go back to the house to give his wound a rest. He offered no objections. He was moving even slower as we walked home, so I carried him on my back for the last stretch of the trip.

After lounging around the house for a while with some of the other summer missionaries, we realized it was time to go to an evening prayer meeting at a local... [continue]

Gospel Focused Free Lunch

Some days serving at the University of North Texas are just plain hard. UNT is very different, in comparison to the college I attended. Most students do not care about God or want to engage in spiritual conversations. This is not because they don't see the reason for believing in God, but because they really just don't care. I am learning that when you make the conversation about meeting their needs and hearing about their lives, the Holy Spirit moves.

Each week the Baptist Student Ministry serves free lunch on Wednesdays at noon. A different church provides each meal and help serves hundreds of students on campus. I see new faces... [continue]

DBU Students Respond to The Calling Conference

Dallas, TX - Nearly 400 DBU students gathered together for The Calling Conference, an event geared to help college students discern their calling to ministry and determine the next steps for them to take along that journey. Sponsored by Texas Baptists and coordinated by Dr. Bill Tillman, director of the Theological Education Division of the BGCT , the meeting brought together seasoned ministry professionals to share with the students knowledge and insight gained from years of ministerial work within local churches, college campuses, and denominational bodies.

The event began with a special chapel service held for students involved... [continue]

A Heart for Christ

The kids in the feeding program I work with have been selected from families most in need. They burst through the classroom doors each day with so much energy and excitement. It does not matter how the weather is; they are always here. Seeing the kids, and their involvement in my classroom, makes my heart sing with joy! Though at times I feel drained and nearly lose my voice, I feel satisfied knowing God is using me.

The kids in the program come with an empty stomach. If it were not for this program, many of them would not eat. Either their parents work too much, and are never home, and/or there is not much to eat. While the kids... [continue]

Let Our Lives Burn for You

This past Sunday, after church, the pastor brought a small grill he wanted to use. He had never grilled in his life, and I had never started a fire in my life. This was a new experience for all of us. Using coal, wood, and cardboard, we tried to start the fire. The material would burn fast, but the coal would not light. It was embarrassing how long we took to finally get the coal burning. Once we got it burning, it continued to burn. This got me thinking about the church members.

I see members come to every service, but it is always the same people. I see no growth or true communion between the members, and no one wanting to step up... [continue]

God is Not Limited

There are three things you might notice when driving into Crawford, Texas. Perhaps you'll notice the billboard featuring George and Laura Bush, our most famous property owners. Perhaps you'll notice the welcome sign from First Baptist Church, or perhaps you'll notice the city limit sign, which reads, "Pop. 717."

The Crawford community sits about 20 miles west of Waco. Yet, Crawford does not share the big city features of its larger neighbor. Crawford has one post office, one blinking light, one restaurant, and one high school. You get the idea.

Yet, First Baptist Church is a unique blend of business owners, stay-at-home moms... [continue]

Life is so good

Truthfully, I do not know how else to describe the change that has taken place in my life. Through it all, God has still been faithful. I have recently moved to Denton, Texas to serve as the Campus Missionary at the University of North Texas. I have been blown away by how blunt people are in Denton, how exhausting campus ministry is, and how God works all things together for his good.

That last one blows my mind. God is truly blessing my ministry right now. He is literally bringing people to my feet.

My first couple of weeks in Denton were really slow. I was transitioning and getting the hang of things. Most students were not back... [continue]

North Texas Team Works in Piedras Negras

A team from Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, Texas, just completed a very successful health clinic in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico. The team worked in cooperation with Iglesia Fuente de Vida and mission coordinator Gloria de la Pena to minister to the needs of the people of the city. The clinic was focused in the four areas of wheelchair ministry, eyeglass ministry, dental care, and health screening.

As a result of this clinic, 53 people received wheelchairs, walkers, or canes. Our dental team provided care for 120 people in cooperation with a great team of dental professionals from Piedras Negras. The health screening team... [continue]

We Did Not Meet by Chance

When I was young, I struggled with being social and outgoing. I sit and wait around until someone would come and play with me. As I grew older, that started changing. As I got more involved in church activities, Christ starting removing timidity and all shyness from my life.

From the moment I opened my life to Christ, the transformation in my life began. Just the other day I, as I prayed before starting my devotional I was giving thanks to God for surrounding me with such amazing people. I have made close friends, and the pastor's family has taken me in as their daughter. Everything is in place, and God has placed me exactly where I... [continue]

Ignite Your Passion Outreach

The Ignite Your Passion Outreach was a huge success this past weekend. Pastors and Church Leaders in Eagle Pass, Texas had hoped to have a prayer meeting spanning across the bridge (between Eagle Pass, Texas and Piedras Negras, Mexico) which serves as a walkway across the border. They had received permission from city officials but the decision was rescinded at the last minute and therefore the group met in the parking lot at the border and prayed for the border violence and needs of both cities.In spite of this development, over 300 from the community participated in the outreach. The event consisted of a block party, concert... [continue]

Christ shared around pizza boxes and guitar cases

There are two kinds of people in our town: people who like the smell of church and people who don't. That is not to say that they are not open to Jesus, but their perception is that the church comes with pews and weird music. So our church's leadership has been exploring non-traditional types of Christian education by building faith community into other activities that don't smell like church.

Our inaugural effort was to come up with a way to creatively have a study using the Alpha Course ( The Alpha Course is designed to approach questions of faith in Christ in a non-threatening and non-religious manner. It uses... [continue]

He redeems my wayward thoughts

It's my first morning in this apartment. I am aware of the presence of the Spirit and I let my thoughts wander. I feel a wave of thankfulness rush over me. I have such a homey space to live in for the next year. It's old and dated, definitely doesn't smell new, it has an interesting paint job from the previous BSM intern, mismatched furniture, stained carpet, and the ceiling looks like it's falling down in the bedroom.

But my mind's on something else. I'm imagining the fellowship that will happen in this space. I think of those who'll meet here weekly and do life together, our time in worship, the revelations that'll occur through... [continue]

Down to get a free snow cone

At Texas A&M University-Kingsville, our BSM has been blessed with close relationships between our staff and the University's personnel responsible for all freshman orientations, welcome week and student affairs. Because of this friendship, we have been given the opportunity to serve the incoming freshman week after week while they are in town for two days going through orientation.

Each night that we are at freshman orientation, we have the privilege of serving snow cones, ice cream or coke floats to 100-200 students, and we are the only student organization to do so.

With this, we are able to connect with many students and establish... [continue]

Changing one life at a time

Over the last couple of months, as I have prepared to serve as a Campus Missionary Intern this school year, God has been teaching me a lot about myself and the mission He has called me to. For someone my age I look at the world I live in and see so many big issues but I also see God moving in big ways.

I was sitting thinking yesterday about how I am moving away from my family and the close friends I have been blessed with while in college in order to serve at a new campus in a new town. As I began to think about the life that I am leaving behind, I was reminded of what my pastor said last Sunday. I will probably never cure cancer or... [continue]

How do our churches minister to schools?

1) How did your church first get started working with your local schools?

We have been working with the local schools for over 10 years. - Tom G. Revilla

It started with our geographic location right across the street. After unsuccessful attempts to interact we prayed for openings to collaborate. When a new principal came on we began to partner together to do an event. We gathered a group of members that are teachers by profession and brainstormed ideas of how we can interact and support the schools in our neighborhood. - Adam Griffin

2) Were there any obstacles to overcome when you first started? If so, what were they?

The obstacle we... [continue]

Serving as the eyes and ears of Jesus in Oklahoma

Gary Henneke, Pastor of Frelsburg Baptist Church of New Ulm, Texas joined 140 volunteers who served during the recent "Loving Oklahoma" event. Gary is a trained NOVA Chaplain and joined to see how his training could be of assistance on the field. Gary wrote the below account of his experiences and concluded that Chaplains are very much so needed as Disaster Recovery teams continue to serve in areas affected by disasters. Gary stated "We certainly need to be the "hands and feet" of Jesus during these times but we must not also forget to be the "eyes and ears" of Our Lord during these recovery events." Gary worked with "Field of... [continue]

Practical ways your church can share Christ's love in schools

Mounds of glue sticks, construction paper, pencils, and backpacks line store shelves, signaling the fast approaching start of a new school year. For churches, these first signs point to much more than the end of the busy summer event schedule and the start of high attendance season for Sunday School. The start of the new school year marks the start of a unique and much needed opportunity to share Christ's love with our local schools.

Popular belief might lead you to believe that school doors are padlocked and chained against anyone associated with a church. This is certainly not the case. Schools today are facing many issues and... [continue]

Loving Oklahoma volunteers help victims rebuild and restore

A series of tornadoes in May of this year devastated parts of Oklahoma, taking lives and flattening houses. Two and a half months later, residents still have needs as they try to restart their lives.

On August 5-10, Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery partnered with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and World Vision to help meet many of those needs through the recovery effort Loving Oklahoma.

More than 130 volunteers scattered across a widespread area from El Reno to Shawnee, Okla. to aid in debris pick-up, house construction, donation sorting and other needs. Many came in church groups and some came as individuals.

According to Daniel Cana... [continue]

Heart notes about my time with Russian orphans

June 1 - While in the city we have been given the opportunity to volunteer at a local hospital. Children who are removed by social services from problem homes or Russia's streets are taken to this hospital. Here the children are evaluated and diagnosed medically. It is then decided whether the children will enter into something similar to foster care, go to an orphanage, or be placed in any other kind of institution that houses children.

June 2 - At the hospital, a few of the children stuck out in my mind. One of them was Anya. She was two years-old and had a sister that was with her at the hospital. Her name was Nastia, and she was... [continue]

Hard knock life

The only men inside the orfanitorio are the security guards. 80-or-so children play within the fenced courtyard; they are shielded from outside dangers and void of inside comforts. The orphanage is an institution rather than a home. A 'mother' cooks for the children, but no mommy dotes on them. A man guards the door, but no father walks through it. These children were removed from fractured homes, but not given a replacement.

In the midst of such circumstances, the children wonder as to their worth and struggle to define their dignity.

One gordita girl revels in our attention. Sitting in my lap is a particular thrill. While... [continue]

Three keys to sharing the gospel with your children

Parents prioritize laying a solid foundation for their children early on that will undergird the rest of their lives. Parents know that early awareness, habit formation and discipline of sport and music helps their children develop. To that end, parents invest their time, energy and resources to give their children the best possible start.

Parents must have that same kind of passion for laying a proper spiritual foundation, including sharing the gospel with their children. In many ways, the same principles for coaching youth sports teams apply to sharing the gospel with children.

Be a coach. Coaches are always there for their teams,... [continue]

Tell me the stories of Jesus

On Friday, we taught Religion class and I was designated "narrator" of the story of David and Goliath while Ashley "played" David and Taylor, Goliath. (Note: I learned after getting some funny faces it is pronounced Go-lee-ath in Kenya!) It really is rather convenient when telling the story of the little shepherd boy David and the giant Goliath to have team members who are a foot apart in height! We learned that "God is BIG" and "God is STRONG" (with VBS-like actions of course) and I wrote a simple song the night before that tells how we praise God by dancing, praying, waving, playing instruments, etc. We sang while the children... [continue]

Go Now Missions: A new understanding of Father

It is Ramadan here in South Asia. Ramadan is a month long fasting for Muslims. Honestly, it is epitome of a works based system. Islam is a spiritual power that exerts control over this time. Muslims are repressed into Islamic traditions. Many Muslims blindly follow strict fasting due to extreme fears.

Satan has strongholds on these traditions and fear. It is overwhelming the extent of darkness during this time. It is heartbreaking. This past week, my friend and I were invited into a Muslim home to break fast for the evening.

I was blown away by her interest in the Good news in HER home. She invited us in her home so she could invest... [continue]

Home is where the heart is

We've heard this phrase time after time. Everyone knows it. We think of home and certain things come to mind. It's different for everyone, but for me it's things like family, love, comfort, and familiarity.

But what about the people who don't have a home? What about the kids who have never known family, or even love? Not only are they "houseless", meaning they don't have the four walls or comfy bed, but they are truly without family or community. What about the orphans?

"We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not
... [continue]

Go Now Missions: Overcoming fear

Honestly, there were many things coming into South Asia that made me extremely fearful. I was nervous about the darkness, depravity and strongholds. I was terrified about my extensive traveling schedule.

But, I think majority of the fear that consumed me was feelings of inadequacy for my role in South Asia this summer. This summer, I have been doing media over the summer missionaries here in South Asia. My role was to create mobilization and awareness materials from summer students. I desired to utilize my talents in cinematography to capture God's work on film so others can join in the work that the Father is already doing here in... [continue]

Conference set to gear churches for boomer wave

The baby boomer wave is upon senior adult ministries, and people from all across the country are registering to "catch it" with the National Boomer Ministry Conference Sept. 5-6.

At First Baptist Church in Allen, participants will have a full schedule of breakout sessions, general sessions and entertainment.

Baby boomers remain the largest population group, now ranging in ages 49-67, said Keith Lowry, Texas Baptists' single adult/family ministry/senior adult specialist. They tend to have a different mindset than the previous generation when it comes to finding a church home and often are turned off by the term "senior adult." Most... [continue]

Go Now Missions: Seeing past the labels

Special needs boy, disabled boy, different many labels are attached to him by society confusing what he has with who he is. When I look at him I see him and his name is who he is. The limitations he has do not define who he is.

Of all the ministries I knew I would be apart of in Missions Centers of Houston, I would have never guessed that God would use me to minister to special needs individuals in a community where they are being ignored.

These past few weeks one of the focuses of our prayers has been God showing us how to minister to the special needs individuals in our community. God has definitely been hearing our pleads... [continue]

Go Now Missions: What am I doing with my life?

This is a question that I often use in jest, but that I also often ask myself and ask God. And from each I often get no answer; why should I worry myself with the future, when the present has enough problems of its own that request my attention?

But at the same time, whenever I ask this question, I always get the same response about the present: I am letting God use my life for His purposes.

I felt the call to go to Russia for about a year before I was connected by crazy circumstance to a team going from Texas A&M. It has been almost two years since I first felt that call, and now I am here, in Russia, letting God use my life for His... [continue]

Pray. Just pray.

Have you ever felt like a catalyst? A catalyst is "an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action". So put simply, a catalyst is something that helps the bigger something happen faster.

I feel as if I've been that for the past 6 weeks. I say this not to boast, but to share how God has humbled me. Here in East Asia, there are already people working to make God's name known and I feel that God just picked me up and placed me in the middle of it all and said "Pray. That is all. Just Pray."

"Pray Continually" - 1 Thessalonians 5: 17

There were many times when I would sit down and pray for God to allow us to share with those... [continue]

Hispanic Baptists in Texas Looking Toward Future

SAN ANTONIO - Hispanic Baptists are well-positioned to focus on what God has laid on their hearts for the convention's future, said Jesse Rincones, Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas executive director.

"I thank God I've had the opportunity to serve for the last three years," Rincones said of serving as president and more recently executive director. "It's been a historic time, a time of transition."

Since signing the unification agreement with the Baptist General Convention of Texas in 2010, Hispanic Baptists have celebrated their centennial, made changes to some of their bylaws, established the volunteer position of executive... [continue]

Texas Baptist Camps: Made to glorify Him

After leaving my work at Camp Chaparral last summer, I knew I wanted to return to work there again. I loved the atmosphere and the fulfillment of serving God there.

This year as a returning staffer I was so excited to start work and my expectations were set high. I was nervous at first because I learned that most of my friends that I worked with last year weren't returning but God has definitely exceeded my expectations this year. So far I've gotten to celebrate with two kids that gave their hearts to Christ. One of them is the child of a good friend!I've made several new life long friends in my coworkers.

Working here has also... [continue]

Go Now Missions: Planting the seed

All morning we spent setting up for our community wide block party with help from the three hundred strong Prestonwood youth choir. The morning turned to noon and things became frustrating as the large bounce house inflatable failed to blow up. As I walked away feeling frustrated, God reminded me why we were setting up bounce houses and giving away five hundred hot dogs in the first place - to engage the community of Richmond, BC with the truth and life of Jesus Christ.

I redirected my heart and steps and introduced myself to a Chinese family enjoying hotdogs in the shade. They were inviting and had questioned why so many students... [continue]

Family Gathering volunteers help bring new look to San Antonio church

SAN ANTONIO - Volunteers ripped out paneling and combined their handiwork skills to assist a church during the Texas Baptist Family Gathering.

The 91-year-old Harlandale Baptist Church building has been in need of an updated interior and exterior for some time, said Dan Trevino, who has been the church's pastor for 10 years.

Texas Baptists teamed up with San Antonio Baptist Association to provide a group of volunteers who signed up for the mission opportunity in the exhibit hall of the Family Gathering.

The volunteers prepped the worship area for a new paint job, which Trevino said will bring openness to the room. He hopes the remodel... [continue]

African American Fellowship visions future, studies new age statistics

SAN ANTONIO - African American Baptists were challenged to look into the future with a new set of lenses as they gathered together at this year's Culp Banquet, celebrated during the Texas Baptists Family Gathering.

Photo: From left to right: Oscar Epps, President; Ponce L. Brown, Vice President; Glen J. Samuels, Secretary; Elmo Johnson, Treasurer; Michael Evans, Former President

Nat Irvin II, professor of management at the University of Louisville, recalled a childhood memory when an unfortunate incident with glass caused blindness in one of his eyes.

"Just because you have eyesight doesn't mean you aren't blind," he said as he walked... [continue]

The sweatiest job I ever loved

From standing over the steam table to serve chicken-fried-whatever with gravy to running around with day campers to life-guarding to cleaning the entire camp in a few hours for the next group that was coming, they are some of the hottest, hardest but most treasured memories that I have.

But more than the heat, I remember who I served with and how God used these people and their examples in their faith, their work, their growth and their love to mold parts of me and who I am today.

We were a team of college students and high school volunteers that spent hours doing hard, dirty and hot work. Our sun up to way past sun down routine... [continue]

Breaking the chains of darkness, revisited

This summer, I have reverently been praying for divine appointments in South Asia. Honestly, my heart hurts deeply for this place. My biggest prayer is for His truth to be shared and embraced in the darkest corners of South Asia.

Last week, we were prayer walking around a Hindu temple in the city. These temples are incredibly dark places. Imagine yourself walking into a temple where people are convulsing and chanting to the daily animal sacrifices.

Darkness is heavy on your chest as you walk barefoot on the "holy", blood, and dirt stained floor. Hundreds of people are shoving you to make their daily sacrifices to their idols as they... [continue]

2013-2014 Officers Elected to the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas

Hispanic Baptists elected the first female convention president in their 103-year history this morning.

The announcement came after two rounds of voting. The first - a race between Daniel 'Tiny' Dominguez, current president of the Hispanic Baptist Convention; Bea Mesquias, member of United Baptist Church in Harlingen; and Manuel Rios, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Monte Calvario in San Antonio - did not result in a clear majority.

The runoff was a close race; Mesquias won with 100 votes, versus Rios' 97.

Mesquias has a long resume of accomplishments in Baptist life. She has served on the boards of the Woman's Missionary Union of Texas... [continue]

Messengers grant board authority to consider building sale

SAN ANTONIO -- Messengers to the Baptist General Convention of Texas annual meeting elected officers and granted the BGCT Executive Board and an ad hoc committee authority to consider sale of the Baptist Building in Dallas.

In the second day of the Texas Baptist Family Gathering and during the first BGCT business session, messengers re-elected Jeff Johnson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Commerce, to a second term as president by acclamation.

Messengers also elected by acclamation Kathy Hillman of Waco as first vice president, René Maciel of San Antonio as second vice president, Bernie Spooner of Coppell as secretary of the... [continue]

Go Now Missions: The nations in New York

"From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and find him through he is not far from any one of us." Act 17:26-27

This bible verse is the driving force of the kind of perspective that I have as I take a look of New York, because the nations are here. I have interacted with people from India, Ecuador, Columbia, Mexico, and Dominican Republic on a daily basis. This has become my norm. It's amazing to see how a state within the U.S. serves as a home to the nations!

By Erika... [continue]

Guarneri: Bible calls Christians to embrace diversity

SAN ANTONIO - The bible calls believers to embrace diversity, not just tolerate it, according to Julio Guarneri, who presented the Baptist General Convention of Texas Annual Meeting sermon July 14. Using Acts 1:8 and Revelation 7:9 as his guiding texts, Guarneri, pastor for Calvary Baptist Church in McAllen, preached that God's heart and vision for the church is inclusivity. Acts 1:8 delivers Jesus' stated purpose for the church: to reach "the ends of the earth," Guarneri said. This can - and often does - mean crossing geographic boundaries, but it also means crossing cultural boundaries close to home. Samaria was not a... [continue]

Common Ground at the Cross of Christ

SAN ANTONIO - Christians should seek unity because of their desire for and delight in the Lord, Earl Grant, pastor of Covenant Church in San Antonio, shared in the opening session of the Texas Baptist Family Gathering.

"Diversity is a given because diversity is the inherent mix," he said. "It is the inclusion or intentional integration that makes the mix work well."

"You need to know you are saved, and because of your salvation you can handle it," Grant explained. "You have been called and cleansed by God. You have been washed in the blood."

He went on to share that as Texas Baptists, "we come to a common ground at the cross of... [continue]

Johnson discusses Dr. Seuss and diversity

SAN ANTONIO -- With children gathered around and a Dr. Seuss book in hand, Baptist General Convention of Texas President Jeff Johnson added a metaphorical twist to this year's presidential message.

Johnson began his message at the Texas Baptists Family Gathering, an event that brought together the diverse Texas Baptist family, by reading The Sneetches, a Dr. Seuss story where the sneetches learn a valuable lesson about peaceful coexistence between one another regardless of their diverse appearance. Johnson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Commerce, grasped the children's attention on the stage as the screens displayed picture-book... [continue]

Go Now Missions: Divine appointment

From the moment I stepped foot through the doors I knew this place was different from any that I had been in all summer. I have been doing missions work everyday for three weeks but when I entered this portable building I knew the presence of the Lord was at work there stronger than I had felt it anywhere else. I looked out the window and saw a crowd of people in a line the wrapped around the building and into the parking lot of First Baptist Church Orlando.

Each face was a face that was in desperate need of help. They were here as a last resort. They had found their way to this church on this rainy Wednesday morning to ask for... [continue]

Jespersen named urban missions director

DALLAS -- Texas Baptists has named Ryan Jespersen director of urban missions.

With a majority of the population living in urban, inner-city areas, Jespersen believes these communities need more outreach, which he plans to encourage through his new position.

"You're typically not going to have as strong of churches in the inner-city," he said. "My goal is to eventually 'call out the called' of young people who want to pastor and work in urban churches."

In his new role, Jespersen will provide leadership and guidance for short-term, mid-term and long-term volunteers who can help strengthen existing urban churches and plant new ones.

As... [continue]

Go Now Missions: Breaking the chains of darkness

Earlier this month, I was sobbing because I was so overwhelmed by the deep chains of darkness here in South Asia. I struggled because I wanted desperately for these people to come to know and embrace our sweet savior Jesus Christ. I wondered why the Holy Spirit was not working faster.

Later that day, my partner and I grabbed coffee with a girl we had met on the metro. We shared the gospel and our stories and I was amazed to see how Jesus stirred her heart in mighty ways.

When we met with her just two days later, she said she was overwhelmed by our message and it had completely changed her heart. She keep saying, "I am a completely... [continue]

The same roots

Sitting on couches overlaid with colorful quilts, university students from Dallas Baptist University and the University of Sao Paulo each sang to the tune of "Amazing Grace" in their own language. I was one of the individuals in the room who identified with the Brazilian students, being from Spanish descent; however, I differed in the language in which I sang. To hear voices raised singing in English, Spanish and Portuguese was a beautiful picture of God's glory in both the unity and diversity in the Kingdom of God. The same beauty is reflected in Texas Baptist congregations across our state.

When I entered college, I began... [continue]

Continue on with the challenge

At the age of 21 sitting in a room filled with about 6,000 Hispanic youth and young adults at Congreso, my heart pumped quickly, my lungs needed to inhale deeply and a non-stop stream of tears came down my face. It didn't take long before realizing the altar call was for me! Right then and there, it could not be clearer; I needed to answer the call as a bilingual Hispanic pastor in Texas and to respond with being on mission for God along with encouraging others to do the same.

You either are living on mission or you are not. Please keep in mind there is no in-between. If we are to change the future of this world, let alone this... [continue]

Go Now Missions: Trust and Obey

When we arrived in North Africa, we were told by our host missionaries that the next day we would be going to an area on the outskirts of town to spend the night.They told us that they had never taken a team here and they really were not sure why we were going. All they knew is that as they prayed about the schedule for our team, the Lord had said to go here. They told us that this area had lots of worship of Satan and that Wednesday was a day to "celebrate" Satan with alters, sacrifices and worship. Trusting and obeying, we all loaded up on Sunday and headed out! Our only plan was to have some good team time in preparation for the... [continue]

A beautiful mosaic

Diverse...We all would love to use this word to describe our worship experience. But is that the true depiction of what we see on Sunday morning?

Texas Baptists is no doubt an ultra diverse association of Baptist churches, but what about each church individually? If we ALL were to assemble in one place, we would resemble a beautiful and grand mosaic art piece. But, this is not what I see in my neck of the woods.

In my city and in most of Texas, Sunday morning worship still is the most segregated hour. We publicly endorse social progression, but then we allow our services to travel back in time to the 1950s. Just being part of Texas... [continue]

Go Now Missions: The Power of Puzzles

Fridays are busy nights at the Hospitality House. I stepped out of the main room to video chat with one of my best friends who is also on a summer mission trip. Just as I finished talking to her, my partner Myriam charged into our room. "I love puzzles!" she exclaimed. She began to tell me about the conversation she had just shared with a young boy staying at the House tonight.

Months before this trip, I found Bible story puzzles at the dollar store and picked them up to bring to Huntsville. Tonight, Myriam and four or five boys stretched out on the floor to work on the puzzles. As they worked, she asked one of them what he knew... [continue]

A safe place in the storm

Moore, Oklahoma is a town we will not soon forget. The nation looked on in stunned silence at the devastation from the violent tornadoes that visited this community. Too many realized too late that a truly safe place was all that stood between life and death.

Storms often come without warning. Some are more severe than others. Some storms threaten our physical safety while others wreak havoc on our emotional wellbeing. Preparation is key for storms not to be too costly. As the people of Moore discovered, everyone needs a safe place.

As a pastor's wife of 24 years, finding a safe place in the midst of ministry was my greatest... [continue]

A little bottle of

Change, whether good or bad, is difficult. The Kennedy clan has just moved from the shores of Alabama to the mountains of Colorado. Are our new vistas awesome? Yes! Has the move been exciting? Yes! Am I grieving? You bet!

One of the last things I did was make that final hair appointment with my hair dresser and dear friend of 15 years. When it came time to get that last "Everything-I-can-get-done-to-my-hair-that-will-last-me-for-as-long-as-possible," she fixed me up, including giving me a little bottle of "Fixes Everything." Really? Everything?

I can think of some broken areas of my life that could use some fixing, some empty... [continue]

Go Now Missions: Purpose

I have had several of my close friends email me saying things like "I hope you're having a great time" or "I am so glad you're happy."

I am not here to have a great time.

Living here is not easy. I don't like being unable to understand anyone. Foreigners are not treated like celebrities here. I accidentally bought pig's neck lunch meat at the grocery store. I miss my family. I miss my Christian community. I miss everything I've ever known.

But I am not here to have a good time or because it makes me happy*. I am here in Russia for the same reason that I am here on Earth.

I am here because God created the world and everything in it... [continue]

Parenting PKs

All of us in ministry know what it is like to live in a fish bowl. While it is hard on us, it is harder on our kids. Too many PK's (preacher's kids) grow up with a deep resentment toward the church, Christians, their parents and sometimes God because of all the expectations placed on them. We have raised four children in that fish bowl and I have spoken to hundreds of pastor's wives, some of whom carry a broken heart over their kids. As I look back on those child-rearing years, there are a few thoughts I would like to share.

The first thought is that God chose us to be the parents of our kids. Do you believe that? We all know that... [continue]

Go Now Missions: Christ be lifted high!

"And this is the confidence that we have toward him that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him." 1 John 5:14-15

I had been praying this verse over this past week as many obstacles advanced back to back on us. We faced a huge shortage in our food pantry, lack of volunteers, and health inspector coming to check our facility.

Christ has answered the many petitions so clearly showing that it was his handy work. Our food should not have lasted the whole week for pantry but the food was stretched and every... [continue]

Overcoming fear with thanksgiving

Fear came roaring in. I could have let the fear overwhelm me, control me, inhabit me, become my constant companion.

Two years ago my husband, Larry, came down with a terrible case of shingles. Sores covered the right side of his face from his chin, up over his ear and deep into his eardrum rupturing it 70 percent and leaving him in excruciating pain. In the end, it also set off another attack of his neurological disorder called NMO (Neuro-myalitis-optica) and left him barely able to use his right arm. Many people who have NMO are blind and in wheelchairs. Larry is not, and we have been very fortunate. But I will never forget the... [continue]

Leaving the familiar

I remember as a little girl when my father was contemplating assuming the role of music leader in a neighboring community church. I was too young to know all of the discussions that took place, but one I do remember was when my parents talked to me about this possibility which would mean we had to attend another church. I probably didn't respond the way they had hoped. I remember having a pouty expression and saying "No, I don't want to go. All my friends are here."

Though attending another Baptist church was probably not a huge deal in the larger scheme of life, it seemed like a really big deal to me at the time. Why would I want... [continue]

Go Now Missions: Deep into the forest

During one of our many trips deep into the forest to bring back boards that one of the locals had cut from a tree, God began to convict me of my lack of understanding as well as lift me up and show me that he made me who I am for a reason!

Each morning, we would go over a Bible story so that we could share it with others through out the day. That morning, we had studied the "Parable of the Talents" in Matthew 25. Little did I realize that God had orchestrated that story for me personally that day. We studied that set of scripture on a morning when I was feeling rather homesick and thus, it was hard for me to really see what my... [continue]

Loving West volunteers help city move forward

WEST -- Media outlets across the nation have told the world how an explosion at a fertilizer plant rocked this small Central Texas town.

But that's not where the city's story ends. Thanks to Texas Baptists, in some ways that's where the story begins. The convention has partnered with First Baptist Church in West to help with recovery efforts since the blast. On June 15-22, hundreds of volunteers from across the state, armed with shovels and servant hearts, partnered for Loving West -- a week-long recovery effort coordinated by Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery.

"One of the greatest ways God is blessing us is by these... [continue]

Go Now Missions: A common scar bonds

Lindsay Lawson is a student at UNT and served in England through Go Now Missions. Listen to her as she shares her testimony below. You can read more stories from Go Now Missionaries at

Are you looking for a place to serve? You can find mission opportunities and others like the ones available through Go Now Missions on Be On Mission. You may also toggle between Open, Ongoing and Completed projects on the map by using the color pins above the search tool.

Be On Mission is an online global missions locator that allows users to Search, Submit, and Share about mission opportunities around... [continue]

Go Now Missions: Behind the barbed wire fence

As we walked on the first full day of training, the city skyline expanded before us with no random giant buildings or billboards blocking the view. It is such a sight to behold.

That image is what hundreds of men, women and children get to look at every day from behind a barbed wire fence. Downtown Houston, a city that promises days full of life, art and culture, separated from a community by a barbed wire fence.

It's not that the people behind the fence have a different viewpoint, though. The people here see that opportunities for a different life are out there, but they also see that there are barriers that prevent them from even... [continue]

On a Mission in Mission

By: Molly Livingstone

For many, the Saturday before Memorial Day means going to the lake, grilling burgers and relaxing with friends and family. However, for a group of students in Texas it meant driving to south Texas, checking blood pressure, and attempting to overcome language boundaries.

The group consisted of 11 people; including one doctor, and eight students from Texas Women's University, The University of Texas, The University of Texas Medical School and the Baylor College of Medicine.

"We are able to connect the churches with the community," director of the Baptist Student Ministry at Rice University and University of Texas... [continue]

The little things: God uses volunteers to answer big prayers in Oklahoma

By: Molly Livingstone

LITTLE AXE, Okla. - Dressed in a long-sleeved gray shirt ornamented with a small orange OSU emblem, Zach Rowell, stood in the bed of his white truck as the sweltering summer sun beat down relentlessly. Carefully, he pushed a large, maroon corduroy recliner to the back of the bed, securing it with yellow bungee cords.

Rowell traveled June 4 to Little Axe with a youth group of about 25 people from University Heights Baptist Church in Stillwater to help with tornado relief efforts. The group does a service project each Tuesday and chose to help the tornado-ravaged communities. He ended up being an answer to... [continue]

Snapshot from the field

May 18-20, 200 Go Now Missionaries gathered at Dallas Baptist University for Orientation. They were prepared for service through worship, training sessions and seminars. On Sunday, May 19, family and friends were invited to attend a Commissioning Service. Below is a peek into orientation from some of our students. Our Go Now student missionaries will be serving from 2 weeks to 10 months in 13 different states and 21 countries. We are scattering Texas student to the nations!

Ready to Go!

"Go Now Missions Is" Instagram challenge Sharel (UNT), will serve the fall semester in the UK. "I left orientation ready to go! Although I am not... [continue]

Go Now Missions: Contentedness in Christ despite earthly pain

The people of Nueva Candalaria live on $6 per day and have received no aid prior to the arrival of Living Water. The constant hard work of the pastor and the obvious effects of poverty on the children made it easy for me to view the people purely as victims.

Continued interaction with the villagers showed me glimpses of pride, obsession with sex, and selfishness. Working next to them throughout the project helped me to see the people as they are, not helpless victims of a world pressing them down, but as real, flawed people in need a Savior.

It hurt me to see the conditions in Guatemala throughout the week. For the first time, I... [continue]

Go Now Missions: Last minute choice and provision

In late March during one of our weekly BSM Bible studies, an Alaskan missionary named Brenda Crim began speaking about her ministry and the Alaskan culture that she is trying to reach. I began to think to myself, "If I were to actually do any summer mission, this would probably be the closest to perfect for me." Well, that feeling grew the entire time that Brenda spoke.

After she was done, we had a worship break and I was wrestling with the thoughts of school, work and money while the band went through a few songs. Cody, our BSM director, begins with his message on Jonah and his disobedience to go to Nineveh. It was overwhelming; I... [continue]

From the lender's perspective – Leah Gonzalez, day 10

This is the 10th and final guest blog post in a series of 10 by Leah Gonzalez, a master's degree student in social work at the University of Texas in Austin.

Just like there are individuals behind each story of extraordinary debt caused by payday and auto title loan, individuals make up the industry, as well. It wouldn't be fair to disregard what members of the payday and auto title loan industry have said in defense of their business.

A major concern of payday and auto title loans is how long a borrower is in the debt cycle. The loans are designed to be short term, although borrowers often default on payment and renew their loan at... [continue]

Raising Arizona – Leah Gonzalez, day 9

This is the 9th guest blog post in a series of 10 by Leah Gonzalez, a master's degree student in social work at the University of Texas in Austin and a graduate of Howard Payne University.

Several states have banned payday and auto title lending. At the end of July 2010 Arizona joined these ranks – kind of. It's true; in 2010 Arizona enforced "Operation Sunset," which made it illegal to provide a payday loan. Part of this operation includes a limit of 36 percent interest on other consumer loans. Research from the Arizona Attorney General concluded that these protective measures would benefit Arizona consumers by outlawing these... [continue]

The pros and cons of usury – Leah Gonzalez, day 8

This is the 8th guest blog post in a series of 10 by Leah Gonzalez, a master's degree student in social work at the University of Texas in Austin and a graduate of Howard Payne University.

The term used to describe illegally high interest rates applied to loans is "usury." Usury laws set caps for interest rates of consumer and commercial loans. Payday and auto title loans are considered consumer loans.

The Texas Finance Code sets strict rate and fee limits for various types of consumer loans, including auto title loans and payday loans, technically called "deferred presentment transactions." The Texas Constitution contains a... [continue]

Finding the right alternative – Leah Gonzalez, day 7

This is the 7th guest blog post in a series of 10 by Leah Gonzalez, a master's degree student in social work at the University of Texas in Austin and a graduate of Howard Payne University.

It may not be difficult to imagine you're in a place where your next paycheck is too far off with a bill looming over your head. Financial constraints are nothing new to many of us, but fortunately many of us also have reliable support or resources available to help.

But what if you had no support? You didn't have parents, brothers, sisters, or friends who knew your struggles or a reliable and sustainable source of income to provide hope in a dire... [continue]

Payday loans and blueberry pie – Leah Gonzalez, day 6

This is the 6th guest blog post in a series of 10 by Leah Gonzalez, a master's degree student in social work at the University of Texas in Austin and a graduate of Howard Payne University.

I've been doing a lot of talking about the issues surrounding payday and auto title loans. I've read articles, academic studies and just about anything related to the lenders and the consumers affected. I've done this research because I'm not able to give you a first-hand account of what it is like to be entrapped by a payday or auto title loan.

I want to provide the facts of what these lending practices entail, and practical ways individuals can... [continue]

Money speeds away with car title loans – Leah Gonzalez, day 5

This is the 5th guest blog post in a series of 10 by Leah Gonzalez, a master's degree student in social work at the University of Texas in Austin and a graduate of Howard Payne University.

Auto title loans have the similar promised quick fix solutions of payday loans, and often the same potential to cause just as much financial instability. I may not have been very clear making distinctions between payday lending and auto title lending in my previous posts, so I want to give some fair time to this lending practice.

To receive one of these loans you are required to own a clear title of a car. The amount of your loan is based on the... [continue]

Taking up the cause of the afflicted and poor – Leah Gonzalez, day 4

This is the 4th guest blog post in a series of 10 by Leah Gonzalez, a master's degree student in social work at the University of Texas in Austin and a graduate of Howard Payne University.

While researching predatory lending and its impact, I found a fairly consistent voice of opposition from religiously affiliated organizations. Truthfully, this took me by surprise.

I grew up going to church, graduated from a private university, and I'm continuously developing my faith. I think it's reasonable to say I've been to my fair share of church services. My research findings caught me off guard because the many sermons I've heard... [continue]

Texas cities pioneer lending regulations – Leah Gonzalez, day 3

This is the 3rd guest blog post in a series of 10 by Leah Gonzalez, a master's degree student in social work at the University of Texas in Austin.

Since the Texas legislature meets every other year a lot of work needs to be done during the interim. Payday and auto title lending policy is no different. Several cities throughout Texas have passed ordinances that take further measures to protect their residents from becoming entrapped in the payday and auto title lending cycle.

The most action has been taken by three major Texas cities - Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas. Regulations in these cities limit how much a lender can lend and... [continue]

The military and some (not so gentlemanly) lenders – Leah Gonzalez, day 2

This is the 2nd guest blog post in a series of 10 by Leah Gonzalez, a master's degree student in social work at the University of Texas in Austin.

Steven Graves and Christopher Peterson may not be the most recognizable names in academia, but for the purposes of this blog, they are my new higher-education heroes. Graves is a professor of geography at California State University, and Peterson teaches law at the University of Florida. In 2005, Graves and Peterson published a study in The Ohio State Law Journal titled, "Predatory Lending and the Military: The Law and Geography of 'Payday' Loans in Military Towns."

This study is a... [continue]

The payday lending loophole – Leah Gonzalez, day 1

Hello! My name is Leah Gonzalez, and I'm pursuing my master's degree in social work at the University of Texas in Austin. I graduated from Howard Payne University with a degree in social work. My family is originally from El Paso, and I grew up in San Antonio. I'll be writing this blog discussing various issues surrounding payday and auto title lending. Payday lending is a complex issue that's targeting the financial welfare of Texas families. I'll be updating this regularly leading up to and throughout Texas' legislative session. Thank you for your interest, and I hope you join me in exploring how payday and auto title lending... [continue]