In early April, a team of six volunteers from Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief found an unexpected need when they traveled to Romania to provide aid to refugees fleeing the Russian attack on Ukraine. There is currently a shortage of construction workers in Romania, a team member told the Arkansas Baptist News. Since team members are skilled in construction, they helped renovate a church kitchen and do much-needed maintenance around the building. Volunteers also delivered kitchen appliances to a refugee camp and built a fence around the trash site at the camp. Other members of the team helped wash and sort clothing donations. At least 1,586 refugees were processed through the church while the team was there.
During a meeting planned by their peers, 70 young adults gathered at First Baptist Church Daytona Beach to pray for spiritual awakening and a committed prayer life that would enable them to overcome pressures of life, reported the Florida Baptist Witness. Moises Bermudez, 19, along with his sister Angelica, 17, organized the “A Radiant Prayer” conference after they watched their own parents’ dedicated prayer life, he said. Inspired by their designated times of prayer on Sunday mornings, the teens organized their own prayer and worship event, including a speaker, to reach other youths. As a result, more youth have joined the Sunday morning prayer meetings. To read more of this story, click here.
An evangelistic outreach in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Georgia recently resulted in 102 people becoming followers of Christ, thrilling local church leaders eager to see their community transformed, reported Georgia’s The Christian Index. Jimmy Blanton, associational missionary at Columbus Baptist Association, said he was heartbroken by surveys that showed fewer than 10 percent of the people living in the 31907 zip code attend church, an indicator that perhaps 90% of residents are spiritually lost. Blanton and other church leaders developed a plan, “CrossOver907,” which sent about 260 volunteers to knock on doors to share the gospel. They also have hosted block parties and events in the community. To read more of this story, click here.
Forty churches from five states sent more than 675 volunteers to join forces and share the love of Christ through community projects with local residents for Southern Baptists’ Serve Tour stop in Meridian. Sammy Simmons, national project director for Send Relief, the joint compassion ministry of the International Mission Board and North American Mission Board, said watching volunteers work together in unity was “a true testimony of the love of Christ.” Volunteers completed 32 projects, serving 2,828 people in and around Meridian and sharing the gospel with 530 people. Nine salvations were reported. To read more of this story, click here.
Collegians are well suited to reach other collegians. This is one reason why leaders at Shandon Baptist Church in Columbia, near the University of South Carolina, emphasize college ministry. The church has an established college residency program where students can give up to two years to assist in campus ministry. Students have served church plants in Pittsburgh and Denver and responded through the International Mission Board’s Journeyman and Go2 programs. During the summer, students have worked on the U.S.-Mexico border and with international ministries in Washington, D.C.
Paul Worcester, national collegiate director for the North American Mission Board, said churches, whatever their ministry context, would benefit from connecting with college students. “This generation is looking for a cause worth living and dying for, and we have the greatest cause on earth,” he said.
Dave Shelley, director of missions for Wilson County Baptist Association in Lebanon, is beginning his 51st year of leading day camps for children. Shelley’s first experience with day camp happened 50 years ago in Atlanta when he was involved in a summer training for college students as they attempted to share the gospel with children through fun games and Bible studies. In the years since, he has served in numerous Tennessee Baptist camps, including All Nations Camp and Journey Camp, using his gifts as a master storyteller, creative game maker, energetic leader, discipler, mentor and encourager. Children and teens from more than 40 nationalities, many of them immigrant and refugee children, have heard the gospel preached at All Nations Camp and have been discipled by their local churches. Some have been called to the ministry or missions service in the United States or around the world. Shelley is grateful that after nearly 30 years of involvement with Tennessee Baptist-sponsored camps, God has given him the physical ability to continue leading camps. “Only eternity will reveal the impact of camp,” he said. To read more of this story, click here.
With an aging congregation and declining attendance, Westwood Baptist Church in Waynesboro was struggling to reach its neighbors. After years of strategies, prayer and discussion, Pastor John Brownlee approached the church with a new option — the opportunity to become home to a new church plant, New Valley Church. After more than nine months of talks, Westwood officially gave its property to New Valley, led by church planter K.J. Washington. A native of Waynesboro, Washington returned to plant a church to reach his hometown. Since moving into Westwood’s campus, New Valley regularly has new guests, and five people recently completed the new member process. New Valley has experienced God’s blessings, he said, and Westwood has been able to continue its gospel legacy. (The Proclaimer)