guest author


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... [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... [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... [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... [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… [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… [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... [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,... [continue]

LOS BAUTISTAS SE OPONEN A LA CONSTITUCIÓN’ –LO QUE PUDO HABER SIDO


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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [continue]

EL DÍA DEL TRABAJO NOS AYUDA A VER EL TRABAJO DESDE UNA PERSPECTIVA CRISTIANA


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... [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.... [continue]

EL SISTEMA DE PROTECCIÓN DE MENORES DE TEXAS LE ESTÁ FALLANDO A NUESTOS NIÑOS


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... [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... [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… [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... [continue]

CINCO MANERAS DE BENDECIR A LA MAESTRA DE SU HIJO


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... [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... [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... [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… [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... [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.... [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... [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,
... [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... [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.... [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,... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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… [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... [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... [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... [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... [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,... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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,... [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... [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... [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... [continue]

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


DALLASGuideStone 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 GuideStone.org/CompensationSurvey.

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,... [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… [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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… [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,... [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
... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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,... [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:

... [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… [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... [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
... [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… [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... [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… [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.... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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?

... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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.... [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,... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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… [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... [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… [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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
... [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... [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… [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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.

... [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... [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,... [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... [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... [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... [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,... [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... [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… [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… [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… [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... [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... [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... [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,... [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.... [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
... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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… [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... [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... [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... [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... [continue]

Idols and open doors


Kuṭumba,

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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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.... [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... [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... [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,... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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… [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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,... [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... [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... [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... [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.... [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.... [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... [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... [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... [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,... [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... [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... [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… [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... [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... [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… [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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 (www.alphaUSA.com). The Alpha Course is designed... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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
... [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... [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... [continue]

Go Now Missions: Seeing past the labels


Special needs boy, disabled boy, different boy…so 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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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.... [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... [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,... [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... [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… [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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 http://texasbaptists.org/category/share/.

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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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,... [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... [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... [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,... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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... [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,... [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... [continue]