March 2019


MAP Stories: Milena Nascimento


It is with great joy that I share the news of our Punan community...

Keep reading...

Texas BSMs pray for and partner with the Forgotten50


For Texans, it can be hard to imagine a college without any sort of campus ministry. Yet for many universities around North America, that is the case...

Keep reading...

JESÚS NOS LLAMA A ROMPER EL CICLO DE LA VENGANZA


Hace dos mil años Jesús puso el dedo firmemente en la noción de venganza. “Ustedes han oído que se dijo: ‘Ojo por ojo y diente por diente”. Pero yo les digo. No resistan al que les haga mal. Si alguien te da una bofetada en la mejilla derecha, vuélvele también la otra” (Mateo 5:38-39, NVI).

Esto suena maravilloso hasta que uno es el que recibe la bofetada; entonces la cosa se vuelve personal. A mí me enseñó mi padre, quien es seguidor de Cristo, que si alguien me golpeaba, yo debía regresarle el golpe. Esto era el reflejo de una sabiduría rural práctica con la que él creció, no lo que Jesús enseñó.

La venganza es algo que se nos inculca a una temprana edad, y lo interesante es que la venganza está ligada a la justicia; de ahí la enseñanza del Antiguo Testamento de ‘ojo por ojo’.  De hecho, esta ley limitaba el castigo a que el agresor pagara proporcionalmente por lo que había hecho. En otras palabras, si alguien me robaba una vaca, yo no debía ir a matarle a su hijo. Yo debía buscar una restitución justa; una de sus vacas, o quizá más de una como castigo.

Aunque la justicia del ‘ojo por ojo’ es limitada, podemos ver cómo se metastatiza, especialmente cuando las personas o grupos buscan lo que ellos piensan que es un castigo justo, no lo que una autoridad externa piensa que es lo justo.

Esto sucede una y otra vez en el escenario global. Un interesante artículo de The Washington Post habla sobre cómo los supremacistas blancos y los musulmanes fundamentalistas se alimentan mutuamente....

Keep reading...

DONNA BURNEY NOS MUESTRA QUE TODOS PODEMOS SER ACTIVISTAS


Donna Burney no es una activista típica. Tras servir como profesora de inglés y después en la Unión Femenil Misionera, se jubiló; sin embargo, hace unos años, Donna se dio cuenta de la incertidumbre que enfrentan algunas mujeres al salir de prisión.

El Señor le dio a Donna una carga por estas mujeres y hace unos años fundó el ministerio “Light in the Gap” (“Luz en la brecha”, en español). Los voluntarios en verdad encuentran a estas mujeres en la brecha del tiempo entre la vieja vida de su estancia en prisión y su nueva vida en sus comunidades.

Desde su fundación hace solo algunos años, los voluntarios de Light in the Gap han esperado a unas 4,000 mujeres recién salidas de prisión en paradas de autobús en sus ciudades. Les llevan galletas, bolsas llenas de artículos de higiene y un devocional. En el invierno les llevan abrigos, pero lo que es más importante, llevan el amor de Cristo y esperanza a mujeres que se sienten olvidadas y con profundos sentimientos de vergüenza por su pasado.

Donna vio a través de su ministerio una injusticia, algo que los abrazos y oraciones, aunque poderosos, no podían resarcir...

Keep reading...

Donna Burney shows that everyone can advocate


Donna Burney is not your typical advocate, after serving as an English professor and then with Woman's Missionary Union, she retired. But, a few years ago, Donna became aware of the uncertainty facing women just released from prison.

The Lord gave Donna a heart for these women and a few years ago, she began “Light in the Gap” ministry. Volunteers literally meet women in the gap of time between their old lives as prisoners and their new lives in their communities.  

Since its founding only a few years ago, Light in the Gap volunteers have met some 4,000 recently release women at the bus stops in their towns. They bring cookies and bags filled with toiletries and a devotional. During the winter they bring coats. But mostly, they bring Christ’s love and hope to women who feel forgotten and a deep sense of shame about their pasts.

Donna saw through her ministry an injustice, one that the hugs and prayers, while powerful, could not correct.

She reached out to the Christian Life Commission and asked for our help. The women Donna was ministering to needed an advocate to stand in the gap for them. The women needed their elected officials to step in and get the government agency responsible to change its policy. Donna met me in Austin, and we went to meet the men and women with the power to change the policy.

Before our first meeting, we prayed for God, our advocate, to stand in the gap for us, to give our words power and to give us favor with those we were to meet. And He did!...

Keep reading...

Jesus calls us to break cycles of revenge


Two thousand years ago Jesus put his heal on the notion of revenge. “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you, don’t resist an evildoer. On the contrary, if anyone slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also” (Matthew 5:38-39, CSB).

This sounds wonderful until you are the one slapped; then it gets personal. I was taught by a Christ-following dad that if someone hit me, I was to hit him back. It was a reflection of the practical rural wisdom he grew up with, not with what Jesus taught.

Revenge gets embedded in us early. And here’s the interesting thing, revenge is related to justice. That’s the point of the eye-for-an-eye instruction in the Old Testament. It actually limited punishment to an equal response for an offense. In other words, if someone steals my cow, I’m not supposed to go and kill his son. I’m supposed to seek a just recompense -- one of his cows, or maybe more than one cow as a punishment.

Even though eye-for-an-eye justice is limiting, you can see how it metastasizes, especially when individuals or groups seek to exert what they think is a fair punishment, not what some external authority thinks is just.

This happens over and over on the global stage. An interesting article in The Washington Posttalks about how white supremacists and Muslim fundamentalists are feeding off of one another....

Keep reading...

CLC to host Advocacy Day in Austin for Texas Baptists


The Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission will host its 2019 Advocacy Day March 26-27 in Austin for ministers, leaders, students and advocates. ...

Keep reading...

Cows bring transformation for Macedonian communities


By Abby Hopkins

In rural, economically depressed communities in Macedonia, one cow can go a long way.

Macedonia Cow Bank is a Texas Baptist Hunger Offering supported ministry that aims to serve these communities by providing cows to local farmers and pastors. Jeff Lee, director of the organization, began the ministry when he was introduced to a local who wanted to farm.

“The purpose of the cow bank is to help other local farmers and pastors through loaning a cow to them so that they can help their own family, sell the milk, or give the milk/cheese/butter to the congregation,” Lee said.

Lee and other staff identify potential applicants, meet with them to ensure they will work and do the job, then provide a cow when the applicant is ready. Recipients then repay the loan by giving back the first calf.

Last year, a group of local pastors approached Lee and requested help. Macedonia Cow Bank gave the pastors six cows and have seen successful results. The pastors have started selling milk and have used profits for outreach in their communities....

Keep reading...

Texas children are dying in unsafe Texas homes


Our Texas governor said something during his State of the State address in January that should not have been shocking, but still it is. “Last year, more than 100 children died in our Child Protective System.”

It should not have shocked us because this is not new. In fiscal year 2017, Texas had “172 confirmed child abuse and neglect-related fatalities,” according to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. And that was a decrease from 2016, when 222 died.

Here are the death totals from 2010-2015: 227, 231, 212, 156, 151, and 171. That’s 1,542 deaths from 2010 until the end of the Texas fiscal year Aug. 31, 2017. We are now 18 months beyond that point.

As Gov. Abbott said, “The primary goal of government is to keep its citizens safe and secure.”

We are not doing that well enough. In 2017, 238,600 children were assigned for investigation or “alternative response” by Child Protective Services. That is a lot of children. That’s 3.18 percent of the 7.5 million Texas children....

Keep reading...