August 2013

We Care Haiti

Partnership with Texas Baptist Disaster Recovery and Texas Baptist Men

How did it Begin? James Cundiff, a McKinney businessman and volunteer with Texas Baptist Men, was among the first responders to the Haitian earthquake in January 2010.

"We began to pray that God would provide food," recalled Cundiff, "And God was faithful. At first it was a few meals, then a few hundred meals, then thousands, then tens of thousands of meals. I realized then that God had a much bigger plan here than I did." James Cundiff founded We Care Haiti the next day.

What's Happening Now? We Care Haiti remains active, providing not only physical nourishment... [continue]

Executive Board votes to sell Glorieta Texan Lodge

The Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board unanimously voted to sell the Texan Lodge at the Glorieta Conference Center in New Mexico and invest the revenue in convention-sponsored youth camps.

The board voted to sell the lodge for $100,000 to Glorieta 2.0, a Christian camp group that is buying the conference center from LifeWay Christian Resources. The BGCT will then create a "quasi-endowment" with the funds, which will produce $4,000-5,000 year to support BGCT youth camps such as Camp Exalted and Camp Fusion.

Texas Baptists' Treasurer Jill Larsen said the endowment would continue the type of work the funds were... [continue]

Eagle Pass: Rebuilding Houses, Rebuilding Lives

What Happened? Eagle Pass is a South Texas city located on the Rio Grande border, linked via bridge to the Mexican city of Piedras Negras. In June, this community suffered a bought of extreme flooding. No deaths were reported, but many people had to be evacuated from their houses during the disaster. More than 300 homes were damaged or even destroyed, and two months after the disaster, this community is only beginning to recover.

What is Being Done?

The Del Rio-Uvalde Baptist Association (DRUBA) is partnering with local churches to support the citizens of Eagle Pass as they continue to rebuild their city.

On September 13-14,... [continue]

He redeems my wayward thoughts

It's my first morning in this apartment. I am aware of the presence of the Spirit and I let my thoughts wander. I feel a wave of thankfulness rush over me. I have such a homey space to live in for the next year. It's old and dated, definitely doesn't smell new, it has an interesting paint job from the previous BSM intern, mismatched furniture, stained carpet, and the ceiling looks like it's falling down in the bedroom.

But my mind's on something else. I'm imagining the fellowship that will happen in this space. I think of those who'll meet here weekly and do life together, our time in worship, the revelations that'll occur through... [continue]

Mobberly Baptist declares 'I am not ashamed!'

LONGVIEW - In a pair of jeans and a black and green t-shirt, Pastor Glynn Stone asked people participating in Mobberly Baptist Church's worship services to proclaim one simple yet powerful message through action: I am not ashamed.

They did it in droves.

Eighty people were baptized Aug. 18 after the pastor explained the significance of the ordinance and provided biblical examples of getting baptized as a public display of a decision to follow Christ.

"Baptism is a sermon of you committing your life to Jesus Christ," he said. "Today, we get to celebrate that."

The church attempted to remove all barriers that may make people postpone... [continue]

Down to get a free snow cone

At Texas A&M University-Kingsville, our BSM has been blessed with close relationships between our staff and the University's personnel responsible for all freshman orientations, welcome week and student affairs. Because of this friendship, we have been given the opportunity to serve the incoming freshman week after week while they are in town for two days going through orientation.

Each night that we are at freshman orientation, we have the privilege of serving snow cones, ice cream or coke floats to 100-200 students, and we are the only student organization to do so.

With this, we are able to connect with many students and establish... [continue]

Changing one life at a time

Over the last couple of months, as I have prepared to serve as a Campus Missionary Intern this school year, God has been teaching me a lot about myself and the mission He has called me to. For someone my age I look at the world I live in and see so many big issues but I also see God moving in big ways.

I was sitting thinking yesterday about how I am moving away from my family and the close friends I have been blessed with while in college in order to serve at a new campus in a new town. As I began to think about the life that I am leaving behind, I was reminded of what my pastor said last Sunday. I will probably never cure cancer or... [continue]

How do our churches minister to schools?

1) How did your church first get started working with your local schools?

We have been working with the local schools for over 10 years. - Tom G. Revilla

It started with our geographic location right across the street. After unsuccessful attempts to interact we prayed for openings to collaborate. When a new principal came on we began to partner together to do an event. We gathered a group of members that are teachers by profession and brainstormed ideas of how we can interact and support the schools in our neighborhood. - Adam Griffin

2) Were there any obstacles to overcome when you first started? If so, what were they?

The obstacle we... [continue]

Serving as the eyes and ears of Jesus in Oklahoma

Gary Henneke, Pastor of Frelsburg Baptist Church of New Ulm, Texas joined 140 volunteers who served during the recent "Loving Oklahoma" event. Gary is a trained NOVA Chaplain and joined to see how his training could be of assistance on the field. Gary wrote the below account of his experiences and concluded that Chaplains are very much so needed as Disaster Recovery teams continue to serve in areas affected by disasters. Gary stated "We certainly need to be the "hands and feet" of Jesus during these times but we must not also forget to be the "eyes and ears" of Our Lord during these recovery events." Gary worked with "Field of... [continue]

Practical ways your church can share Christ's love in schools

Mounds of glue sticks, construction paper, pencils, and backpacks line store shelves, signaling the fast approaching start of a new school year. For churches, these first signs point to much more than the end of the busy summer event schedule and the start of high attendance season for Sunday School. The start of the new school year marks the start of a unique and much needed opportunity to share Christ's love with our local schools.

Popular belief might lead you to believe that school doors are padlocked and chained against anyone associated with a church. This is certainly not the case. Schools today are facing many issues and... [continue]

Truett Elementary: God still cares

More than 96 percent of the students at George W. Truett Elementary School in Dallas are economically disadvantaged. Many of them come from refugee families who come to the area with very little. As a result, nearly 70 percent of them are considered "at-risk."

In many ways, the more than 1,000 students - above what other public elementary schools serve - who attend school there have been ignored. Until recently, the school buildings had become dilapidated. Portables meant to help the situation also became run down.

The start of the school year opens an opportunity for Texas Baptists to show these students that they have not been... [continue]

FBC Dripping Springs brings foreign missions home

DRIPPING SPRINGS - To share the gospel overseas, churches do construction projects, prayer efforts and service initiatives.

First Baptist Church wondered: Can't it do something very similar in its own community?

Out that spirit, the congregation birthed Mission Drippin', a weeklong effort to invest in their community. This July 28-Aug. 4, mission teams met in homes across the area to pray for their neighbors and neighborhoods. The next day, they prayed specifically for the schools their children attend.

Then they took to the streets, cleaning up part of the Dripping Springs from which the city's name is derived. They cleaned up a... [continue]

Loving Oklahoma volunteers help victims rebuild and restore

A series of tornadoes in May of this year devastated parts of Oklahoma, taking lives and flattening houses. Two and a half months later, residents still have needs as they try to restart their lives.

On August 5-10, Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery partnered with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and World Vision to help meet many of those needs through the recovery effort Loving Oklahoma.

More than 130 volunteers scattered across a widespread area from El Reno to Shawnee, Okla. to aid in debris pick-up, house construction, donation sorting and other needs. Many came in church groups and some came as individuals.

According to Daniel Cana... [continue]

Lay cowboy church pastor, wife save two drowning children

GARNER STATE PARK - Rebecca Strange prays for God to use her and her husband "for your will."

On Aug. 6, it was God's orchestration of small events that led them to be exactly where God wanted them, the couple said. Visiting Garner State Park on their honeymoon, Richard and Rebecca decided to stay a day beyond their initial plans. They were enjoying the trip, and one more day would be wonderful, they thought.

The extra time gave them a chance to go fishing that evening. They hadn't caught or seen anything of significant size, and the couple was about to pack up for the night. Then Rebecca spied "biggest bass I've ever seen in my... [continue]

Heart notes about my time with Russian orphans

June 1 - While in the city we have been given the opportunity to volunteer at a local hospital. Children who are removed by social services from problem homes or Russia's streets are taken to this hospital. Here the children are evaluated and diagnosed medically. It is then decided whether the children will enter into something similar to foster care, go to an orphanage, or be placed in any other kind of institution that houses children.

June 2 - At the hospital, a few of the children stuck out in my mind. One of them was Anya. She was two years-old and had a sister that was with her at the hospital. Her name was Nastia, and she was... [continue]

Uniforms: They're elementary

DALLAS - Join Texas Baptists, Dallas Baptist Association and First Baptist Church in Dallas as they partner to provide uniforms and Bibles for every student of George W. Truett Elementary School.

The three partners are working together to raise $15,000 to provide a uniform and Bible for each of the more than 1,000 students enrolled at the school, which is named after a legendary Baptist statesman and former pastor of First Baptist Church.

The uniforms would be a significant to help to area families, said Texas Baptists Executive Director David Hardage. More than 96 percent of Truett Elementary students are economically disadvantaged... [continue]

Hard knock life

The only men inside the orfanitorio are the security guards. 80-or-so children play within the fenced courtyard; they are shielded from outside dangers and void of inside comforts. The orphanage is an institution rather than a home. A 'mother' cooks for the children, but no mommy dotes on them. A man guards the door, but no father walks through it. These children were removed from fractured homes, but not given a replacement.

In the midst of such circumstances, the children wonder as to their worth and struggle to define their dignity.

One gordita girl revels in our attention. Sitting in my lap is a particular thrill. While... [continue]

Three keys to sharing the gospel with your children

Parents prioritize laying a solid foundation for their children early on that will undergird the rest of their lives. Parents know that early awareness, habit formation and discipline of sport and music helps their children develop. To that end, parents invest their time, energy and resources to give their children the best possible start.

Parents must have that same kind of passion for laying a proper spiritual foundation, including sharing the gospel with their children. In many ways, the same principles for coaching youth sports teams apply to sharing the gospel with children.

Be a coach. Coaches are always there for their teams,... [continue]

Tell me the stories of Jesus

On Friday, we taught Religion class and I was designated "narrator" of the story of David and Goliath while Ashley "played" David and Taylor, Goliath. (Note: I learned after getting some funny faces it is pronounced Go-lee-ath in Kenya!) It really is rather convenient when telling the story of the little shepherd boy David and the giant Goliath to have team members who are a foot apart in height! We learned that "God is BIG" and "God is STRONG" (with VBS-like actions of course) and I wrote a simple song the night before that tells how we praise God by dancing, praying, waving, playing instruments, etc. We sang while the children... [continue]

Needs from disaster area apparent as school starts

The pastors in Eagle Pass are intent on helping families recover from the recent flooding in Eagle Pass and Piedras Negras. Their immediate need is to supply families with needed items like household goods, furniture, bedding, school supplies & back packs to replace items that were lost in the flood. Eagle Pass is also in need of volunteers to help replace sheet rock and reconstruct homes that were damaged by the flooding.

Donated supplies should be sent to: Iglesia Bautista Peniel Pastor - Felipe Garcia 1595 Juanita Drive Eagle Pass, Texas 78852

Pastor Garcia is identifying families in his community that need the help so that... [continue]

Go Now Missions: A new understanding of Father

It is Ramadan here in South Asia. Ramadan is a month long fasting for Muslims. Honestly, it is epitome of a works based system. Islam is a spiritual power that exerts control over this time. Muslims are repressed into Islamic traditions. Many Muslims blindly follow strict fasting due to extreme fears.

Satan has strongholds on these traditions and fear. It is overwhelming the extent of darkness during this time. It is heartbreaking. This past week, my friend and I were invited into a Muslim home to break fast for the evening.

I was blown away by her interest in the Good news in HER home. She invited us in her home so she could invest... [continue]

Bible Study: What is Open Group?

When we examine the Great Commission passage of Matthew 28:19-20, several important words are customarily highlighted - "go," "teach," "observe." The word rarely mentioned is "them." What an incredibly important word that should draw our continued attention as Sunday School leaders, focusing our efforts toward reaching the lost in our neighborhoods.

The Open Group concept in Sunday School is foundational to a successful Bible study ministry in our churches. Over time, it's easy for people to focus their small group toward their own wants and needs, and less on those who are outside. As Sunday School leaders, we must continue to keep... [continue]

Home is where the heart is

We've heard this phrase time after time. Everyone knows it. We think of home and certain things come to mind. It's different for everyone, but for me it's things like family, love, comfort, and familiarity.

But what about the people who don't have a home? What about the kids who have never known family, or even love? Not only are they "houseless", meaning they don't have the four walls or comfy bed, but they are truly without family or community. What about the orphans?

"We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not
... [continue]