January 2017

CLC staff: Perspective on refugee resettlement program changes

By Kathryn Freeman and Ferrell Foster

We are praying for President Trump and his administration as they are making many vital decisions that affect the lives of those here and abroad. We prayerfully request that President Trump reconsider the scope and effect of this order and work with congressional leadership to devise a solution that bolsters American security without causing unnecessary delays for refugees fleeing violence or disregarding traditional American values.

Here are our concerns regarding Section 5 of his Executive Order impacting refugee resettlement:

● The order places a 120-day moratorium on the U.S. Refugee... [continue]


Por Tomi L. Grover, Ph.D.


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

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

The impact of institutional giving: Natalie’s story

Since Natalie Rodriguez was 12-years-old, Texas Baptists have invested in Natalie Rodriguez in multiple, life-changing ways.

At the age of one, Natalie was placed in the foster care system, where she grew up living in multiple homes with her younger sister. Then, in 1996, she and her sister were brought to the Texas Baptist Children’s Home. During her first few months, she tried to adjust to new surroundings but was very overwhelmed and unsure about the permanency of her new home.

“I heard about Jesus daily, but I was so upset,” Natalie said. “I wasn’t ready for someone to actually be there for me.”

That December, Natalie was... [continue]

Evidencia de la esperanza, la ayuda, el entrenamiento, y el cuidado por medio de nuestras instituci

Comenzó en el 1941, con el bombardeo de Pearl Harbor. Un joven campesino en el oeste de Texas fue reclutado el servicio militar a principios del 1942. Él entrenó durante dos años, fue a la guerra, fue enviado a Alaska, y fue herido. Fue tratado en Alaska, luego en California, y finalmente tuvo tratamiento extenso y rehabilitación en Temple, Texas. 

Cerca de Belton, estaba la escuela para señoritas Colegio Mary Hardin-Baylor, ahora la Universidad de Mary Hardin-Baylor. Uno de los ministerios universitarios visitaba soldados heridos en el hospital. Una joven de la escuela, natural de la ciudad de Oklahoma, era una de las... [continue]

The land of rice and oil and century old eggs

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

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

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

How to Be An Anti-Human Trafficking Advocate

By Tomi L. Grover, Ph.D.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Single father discovers joy in new beginning through Buckner

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

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

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

Hendrick Breast Institute and the Hope Fund

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

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

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

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

Missionary Adoption Program opens doors for expanded ministry in Brazil and beyond

Deep in the Amazon rain forest, in the midst of 10,000 unreached people groups, lies a community known as Livramento. Translated in English, “deliverance” is a poetic title for the city where God is actively delivering new believers out of darkness and into light.

Rhuan Kaique was delivered from a troubled adolescence to a lifetime of ministry by the faithful discipleship of the youth leaders at Passare Baptist Church. In 2015, Rhuan’s church commissioned him as a missionary to Livramento, a place only accessible to locals.

While working in this new mission field, he met Elieuma. Rhuan built trust with her family and began to... [continue]

Bacote: Permission to go out in public

This just in: Christians have permission to go out in public.

Of course, this is not really news, but sometimes evangelical followers of Christ wonder if it is OK to get involved in their broader culture -- the world, the frightful, dangerous world where Satan can trip us up and snatch us away.

The broader culture is rife with dangerous ideas, influences, and people. We have to be careful out there, but we need to be out there.

Vincent B. Bacote, the author of The Political Disciple: A Theology of Public Life, is helping the church see this need to be involved in the broader culture as a commission from God revealed in... [continue]

Providing hope, help, training and care through our institutions

It began in 1941, with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. A young farmer in West Texas was drafted for the war effort in early 1942. He trained for two years, went to war, deployed to Alaska and was wounded. He was treated in Alaska, then California, and finally had extensive treatment and rehab in Temple, Texas.

In nearby Belton stood the all-girl’s school Mary Hardin-Baylor College, now the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. One of the college ministries was visiting wounded soldiers at the hospital. A young woman at the school, a native of Oklahoma City, was one those visitors. The young farmer met the young woman and soon they fell... [continue]

SCS makes seminary education possible for Corpus Christi minister

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

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

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

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

“Kind of like a fungus,” kids Josh.

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

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

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

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

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

DBU students serve in Spain, share the hope of Christ

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

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

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

Transformational Ministry from Student to Student

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

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

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

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

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

In His hands

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

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

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

Casă dulce casă (home sweet home)

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

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

God's Best Plan

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

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

Lifelong HPU friends share lives, memories at Baptist retirement community

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

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

Rebuilding homes, caring for lives in Baton Rouge

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

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

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

Mustaches raise $17,000 for missions on two Central Texas university campuses

An unconventional fundraising strategy for missions has made a big impact on two Central Texas university campuses. The Mustache Wheel of Doom fundraiser brought in a combined $17,000 on the campuses of Tarleton State University in Stephenville and Howard Payne University in Brownwood through the Baptist Student Ministries. 

The fundraiser has an easy premise. Teams of students grow beards (or wear fake mustaches) during the month of November and gain pledges and gifts for Go Now Missions. At the end of the fundraising time, the teams with the highest fundraising totals are exempt from spinning the dreaded Mustache Wheel of Doom... [continue]

How God changed my heart

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

God sent me to a South Asia.

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

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

One of the stories... [continue]

Parenthood changes with time

It hardly required a thought; it was more an impulse. I grasped the upper arm of my adult daughter, stopped her, and led her backward a step.

We had been in the midst of fevered conversation as only a parent and usually-away-at-college child can be. We walked through an H-E-B parking lot where even at night people zip and zag. The bright white backup lights of a large SUV came on as we approached its rear bumper.

Earlier in the day, a friend had asked prayer for a young woman run over by a SUV backing up in a parking lot.

A parent takes a lifetime of learning and continued learning and turns it into care for a child. In this... [continue]

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

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

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

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


Mu nació en el sureste de Asia y llegó a los Estados Unidos con su familia como refugiada en el 2007. Cuando se ubicaron en el área de Dallas, su familia encontró ayuda y apoyo del ministerio conocido como H4R de la Ofrenda contra el Hambre de los Bautistas de Texas. El ministerio ayudó a la familia a llenar documentos gubernamentales, a tomar clases para aprender inglés, a recibir ayuda con las tareas y mucho más.

Cuando estaba en la preparatoria, Mu asistió a un campamento para estudiantes refugiados organizado por H4R y aceptó a Cristo como su salvador. Aunque el trasfondo de su familia era budista, varios de sus... [continue]

Editorial: Haga saber sus deseos en Austin

Por MARV KNOX/EDITOR, Baptist Standard

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

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

Dallas teen works to make a difference in community: A Texas Baptist Hunger Offering Story

Mu was born in Southeast Asia and came to the United States with her family as refugees in 2007. As they settled in the Dallas area, her family found help and support from a Texas Baptist Hunger Offering ministry known as H4R. The ministry provided her family with help filling out government paperwork, ESL classes, assistance with homework and much more.

While she was in junior high, Mu attended a camp for refugee students hosted by H4R and accepted Christ as her Savior. Although her family background was Buddhist, several of her siblings made professions of faith as well. She began to grow in her faith and found encouragement... [continue]

Road Trip!

WMU of Texas Annual Meeting and Missions Celebration is coming to Midland, TX March 31 – April 1. We know what you might be thinking, ​ “Midland is too​ far!” While it might not be in your neck of the woods, ​ we don’t want you to miss out on this great missions ​experience. Bring the men and women in your life, whether from your small group, missions group, missions discipleship leaders, close friends, or family members.  ​

 ​Be inspired and challenged by ​Delvin Atchison, Daniel “Tiny” Dominguez, Rebecca Epley, Jason Bishop, Marsha Harvell, Deirdre ​LaNoue, Kerri Johnson, and special guest Sandy... [continue]

Fort Worth church supports and connects local students in robotics competition

In 2004, Oscar Vazquez was an undocumented immigrant at Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix, Arizona. A young boy looking for a way to move ahead in life he desired to serve his country in the military, but because of his undocumented status he was barred from any military service.

Then a chance, or not so chance, discovery of a Marine Underwater Robotics Competition spun Oscar’s life into an entirely new direction. He and his team went on to win the national competition held in Santa Barbara, California, beating teams including one from MIT.

In 2015, film director Sean McNamara adapted Oscar and his remarkable team’s story to... [continue]

The power of presence in the lives of teens

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

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